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6 Aug 2020
Writing a Colocation RFP? Digital RFP or Colocation RFP Template?
If youve spent any amount of time in an IT department or procurement, youre probably well versed in the Request for Proposal (RFP) process. Lets face it. Managing an RFP doesnt always yield the results we were hoping for. Many times, it doesnt make the process of selecting a provider, product, or service any easier. In fact, it can make it more difficult.In this article, we look at the best practices for writing a colocation RFP. We look at what to include in your colocation RFP and the different options for getting the job done right the first time. We also look at the differences between using a Digital RFP vs TraditionalColocation RFP Template.What is an RFP? Why Use an RFP and When?Lets get started, but first things first. What is an RFP? A Request for Proposal, known as an RFP, is a tactical document used to solicit responses and standardized proposals from providers, suppliers, or vendors that are competing for your business based on requirements outlined in the RFP.For many businesses, RFPs are their preferred way of doing business. For organizations like the government, its the only way. When it comes to why and when to use an RFP, that largely depends on the size and scope of the project. Its common for businesses that have industry regulations or compliance requirements to use an RFP for the procurement of products or services.Weve received numerous colocation RFPs while at Datacenters.com from small to mid-sized businesses, large enterprises, and governments. The size and scope of colocation RFP range from a single, standard 42U colocation rack to a request for a private suite for 300 racks and everything in between.Difference Between RFI, RFQ, and RFP?Whats the difference between an RFI, RFQ, and RFP? RFI is the abbreviation for Request for Information. RFQ is Request for Quote and RFP stands for Request for Proposals.Request for Information (RFI) is a preliminary document used to gather initial information to help evaluate potential vendors, suppliers, or providers. RFIs are typically used before creating the RFP as a way of gathering information on potential RFP participants.Request for Quote (RFQ) is more quantitative than an RFI or RFP and provides the costs associated with a specific project. RFQs are used when products need to be repeatedly purchased in the same quantities, or when the products are standard.Weve already spent time explaining Request for Proposal (RFP). RFPs are much more comprehensive and can be used to evaluate the merits of each company and proposal compared to its competitors.Where to Begin? Writing Your Colocation RFPIts important to take a step back to gain a better understanding of why the project is important to your business, department, or IT infrastructure strategy. I like to brainstorm a list of questions relating to the project. Whats the overreaching goal or outcome for the project? Why are you doing it? What are the technology requirements? Who does it impact? What does it impact? How does it fit into the overall strategy? Who should I involve in the decision-making process? Whats my timeline? What the budget? What are we looking for in a colocation provider?Writing a list of questions can be overwhelming. Theres a lot to consider and a lot of moving parts associated with any RFP and especially RFPs that deal with technology. Remember that this is just an exercise to get you thinking about the next steps.Using Existing Colocation RFP Template or Example?A lot of businesses and IT departments have existing RFP templates or examples that they have used in the past for other projects. Thats a great place to start. You may also want to think about downloading colocation RFP templates from colocation providers and data centers. Some are better than others. Colocation providers like CyrusOne, OneNeck IT Solutions, PhoenixNAP, and AIS offer free data center colocation RFP templates. Datacenters.com does as wellDownload Datacenters.comColocation RFP Template!Sections in Data Center Colocation RFP?Provider OverviewUnderstand what key company information to analyze to get experience and stabilityBuilding/Property Determine how to properly gather all the needed technical and design specs on the different facilitiesData Center Space Gather key measures for current and future colocation needsElectrical Cooling Specifications Understand key specs to gather to properly plan for power densities, redundancies, configurations, cooling output and moreNetwork Services Avoid being locked into expensive connectivity agreements with little flexibility around carriersData Center Systems/Personnel Ask the key questions on environmental and security monitoring systems and proceduresRisk Overview Get critical information about the facilities location, history, and accessAvailability Review Determine if the data center can scale as your business growsProfessional Services Uncover key partnerships and services you may need in the futurePricing and Terms Understand key lease differences and the hidden costs they containNew Way? Create Your Digital Colocation RFPThe most painful parts of the RFP process is not only writing the RFP but also distributing the RFP to colocation providers and managing the responses and proposals.Just imagine for a second that you have maybe 12 or 15 colocation providers responding to your RFP. Now imagine that they have questions that require emails and possibly phone calls with each provider. Yikes! I hope that you cleared your schedule. Otherwise, its going to be like working two or three jobs.Digital RFPs are a relatively new concept for the colocation and data center industry. Datacenters.com was one of the first to create a digital RFP for colocation services. So, how does it work?Its a simple three-step process that walks you through the entire process from creating your RFP to selecting providers and data center facility to distribute your RFP and managing your proposals and resources. A digital RFP creates a standardized RFP that can be distributed directly to the providers you select, and you can collaborate within the platform for questions and proposal management.Step 1: Define Requirements in Colocation ConfiguratorDatacenters.com created an online colocation configurator that helps determine your colocation requirements. It standardizes the colocation space, power, and connectivity options for one or more of the same configurations or add multiple, separate configurations. It even has a wizard to help walk you through the process of determining your requirements.Multiple Racks with the Same ConfigurationFor example, you could enter two identical, standard 42U colocation racks with 5kW of power and 100Mbps of Internet. You could even enter your total power requirements and the colocation provider would specify how many racks are required in the proposal.Individual Racks with Different ConfigurationsIn another example, you could configure a single 42U colocation rack with 5kW of power and 100 Mbps of Internet. You could add a 20U half rack with 2kW of power and 100 Mbps of Internet.Wholesale Colocation Based on Power RequirementsWholesale colocation is typically priced based on the power requirements whether in kilowatts (kW) or megawatts (MW). For example, you could select wholesale in the colocation space requirements and then enter 250kW as your total power.Optional Services, Features, Compliance, and CertificationsCustomize your colocation requirements with additional services, data center features, compliance standards and certification requirements. For example, you can a cloud direct connect to AWS as a requirement. You can add that the data center has to have onsite parking, roof rights, or remote hands as a requirement. You can require that the data center is HIPAA or PCI Compliant.Step 2: Select Your Locations, Providers and Data CentersUnlike traditional colocation RFPs, the Datacenters.com digital colocation RFP allows you to configure your colocation service requirements and then search the directory listings for data center locations and colocation providers. You can narrow down your search results to individual cities, individual providers, and even individual data center facilities that you are interested in.Its much more interactive and eliminates the extra step of going to Google and searching for colocation providers and their data center locations individually. With Datacenters.com, you can do this all in one step and save yourself hours in the process of doing all of the research.Select the Cities Where You Want Your Colocation ServicesLets say that you want to submit a colocation RFP to colocation providers with data centers located in Los Angeles, California. Just search for Los Angeles and select the providers and facilities to include in your RFP. You can even add more cities to your RFP by searching again.Select Multiple Providers in Cities Where You Want ColocationSuppose that you only want to select Equinix, Digital Realty, and CoreSitefor your colocation RFP. Simply search for the city that you want to include in your RFP. Then, select only the providers Equinix, Digital Realty, and CoreSite. It will automatically select all data center facilities in that location for those providers.Select Individual Data Center Facilities in Specific CitiesYoure only interested in a specific data center facilities in a specific city. No problem. Simply search for that city, click on the provider to expand the locations in that city, and then click on the data center facility or facilities that you want to include in your colocation RFP.Step 3: Enter Your Project Details and Youre DoneThe final step in the digital colocation RFP is to enter your project details. This includes simply adding a name for your RFP, a description and notes, or additional details. You can also upload a traditional colocation RFP document or PDF and any other relevant documents for your RFP.Its that simple. Once you finalize your RFP it will be distributed directly to the colocation providers and or data center facilities you selected.Need Help? Questions About RFP Process?Datacenters.com offers the largest selection of colocation providers and data center facilities online. With IGNITE Colocation Projects, you can easily narrow your search to the providers that match your requirements. This includes location, technical requirements, and provider preferences. At Datacenters.com, were streamlining the IT procurement process by aligning you with top providers and providing white-glove, concierge services. Contact us if you would like our help with your next colocation, cloud, Internet, or wide area network project.
4 Aug 2020
Datacenters.com Adds Business Internet to the IGNITE Project Platform®
The addition of Internet services makes it easy for users to access proposals and pricing directly from top ISPs, telecom carriers, and network providers globally.ENGLEWOOD, CO. AUGUST 8, 2020 Datacenters.com, the leading technology platform and marketplace for IT buyers and sellers of colocation, cloud and connectivity, announces the addition of business Internet to the Datacenters.com IGNITE Project Platform.Connectivity is critical for all IT environments whether on-premise, offsite, physical, or virtual. Todays bandwidth-intensive applications require low latency and high availability to meet user experience expectations. Demand for Internet service is compounded by current digital transformation initiatives and growing adoption of future technologies including the cloud infrastructure, edge computing, 5G, and Internet of Things (IoT).Globalization is also a major factor in increasing demand. As enterprises expand into new markets, IT infrastructure is required to connect local customers, employees, partners, and suppliers in that market. Secure, reliable, and fast Internet and networking technologies including dedicated Internet, Ethernet, private line, SD-WAN, and MPLS make global connectivity possible.However, challenges impede the process of finding available ISPs, telecom carriers, and network providers for their office, data center, and cloud platform locations. Researching lit buildings, fiber maps, and on-net carrier lists becomes laborsome and time-consuming. Navigating the technology landscape of available service providers, options and pricing only add complexity.Datacenters.com created IGNITE Internet Projects to help users streamline the procurement of Internet services by intelligently matching user requirements with available ISPs, telecom carriers, and network service providers. With IGNITE, users can configure their Internet requirements for a single or multiple locations and receive direct from provider proposals and pricing for their IT projects. Datacenters.com also created a bulk upload feature for businesses with tens, hundreds, or even thousands of locations.A major benefit of using the Datacenters.com IGNITE Project Platform is that it stores all provider proposals, documents, and price quotes in a centralized platform. This feature allows for side-by-side comparisons of providers, service offerings, and pricing. Users also benefit from having the ability to invite and collaborate with colleagues to projects within IGNITE Project Platform.In addition to Internet services, Datacenters.com will soon be launching IGNITE Network Projects to help users build their global, wide area network (WAN) infrastructure with technologies such as SD-WAN and MPLS. This is anticipated to launch at the end of August in 2020.###QuotesAdding Internet and network services to Datacenters.com was always in the roadmap as part of our long term strategy and vision, said Joel St. Germain, CEO of Datacenters.com. IGNITE Internet Projects will help our clients, consultants, and agents streamline the purchasing process for these services.Its time-consuming researching lit building lists and fiber maps for available ISPs, carriers and network providers, said Mike Allen, SVP of Solutions and Engineering at Datacenters.com. IGNITE Internet Projects is going to make finding available providers and generating competitive pricing a lot easier.The feedback we have received on demos of IGNITE Internet Projects has been nothing short of amazing, said April Armijo, VP of Operations and Provider Relationships. All of our partners have been very positive on the platform and theres a lot of excitement around it.About Datacenters.comDatacenters.com is the #1 technology platform and marketplace connecting buyers and sellers of colocation, cloud, connectivity, managed services, and related IT services. We are dedicated to one thing helping IT professionals research, purchase, and manage their technologies across a diverse range of solutions, providers, and vendors.Since 2014, Datacenters.com has attracted more than 1.4 million visitors. The platform provides detailed information on 328 providers, 2,921 data center facilities, and 204 marketplace products globally.Datacenters.com is the sister company of Global Consulting Group, Inc. (GCG), a leading technology services distributor and IT consulting company headquartered in Englewood, Colorado.Learn more at Datacenters.com and follow us on LinkedIn.
22 Jul 2020
What is Data Center Consolidation and Why Might My Business Need It?
Data center consolidation plays an important role in the IT strategies of many of the worlds most successful businesses. The practice, which is primarily focused on efficiency improvements, encompasses a wide range of different technologies and tactics, which all have a common goal: to reduce the resources that a data center needs. In many cases, data center consolidation will involve changes to the way that data is stored, for instance when a company decides to move from using multiple data centers to focusing on one sole data center for all of its storage requirements.If youre considering data center consolidation, but youre unsure whether your business will benefit from it, or how to go about making consolidation changes, read on. Well take you through what data center consolidation could mean for your company, why you should be thinking about it and how your business could profit from the strategy going forward.What is data center consolidation?In simple terms, data center consolidation is a way in which businesses streamline their IT systems. Many companies will have grown rapidly over the years, and its often the case that IT systems have struggled to keep up with increasing demand. And thats why a huge number of companies stand to benefit from data center consolidation. By consolidating, companies can make IT architecture far more efficient. In the long run, the strategy saves time and money, while also paving the way for future growth by maximizing capabilities.Why you might want to think about consolidatingThere are a number of reasons why businesses start to think about data center consolidation. Some of the primary causes of data center consolidation include changes to a companys needs, due to mergers, growth, or a reduction in data requirements.Many companies will also look to consolidate data centers in order to reduce the size and space needed for their existing setup, in order to make cost savings and efficiency improvements. Often companies will be looking to merge multiple data centers into a single more dynamic and seamless solution.Legacy solutions can also spark conversations about data center consolidation, with a good number of companies leaning towards consolidation to enhance their capabilities here, allowing them to update legacy solutions and ensure smoother running in the future.When should we be thinking about consolidation?Unfortunately, theres no simple answer to this one. Consolidation can seem like an insurmountable task at first, which is why companies tend not to go through the process more often than is absolutely necessary. Theres no single right time to do it, its more a case of getting down to business and doing the hard work.While theres no doubt that data center consolidation is hard work, companies shouldnt put off consolidation for that reason alone. If you feel that your systems would benefit, then its time to tackle the challenge head on. Dont be put off by the amount of work involved, because once the changes have been made and the project comes to a close, you and your team will be reaping the rewards for a good number of years to come. Trust us, this is something thats definitely worth your time.How to consolidate: a step by step guideThere are a number of different methods commonly used by IT professionals working on data consolidation projects. In our experience, the most effective methods tend to incorporate a hybrid cloud work environment, which enables more effective running on fewer resources. Take a look at our step by step guide to data center consolidation for a brief guide to how it works.Step 1: Capacity planningFirst things first, think about space. Consider whether or not youre using all the space you currently have, and whether the unused space in your data center is costing you money. Far too many companies end up paying for space that theyve never used and have no plans to use, simply because their existing contracts are inflexible. This is something youll definitely want to avoid, so make it a priority in new data center consolidation plans.Look into data centers offeringcage free infrastructure, which will allow you to scale up or down as required. Other things to look out for in new data centers include free cross connects, set up, rack and stack, and free remote hands-on that will consolidate unused space or cabinets for you, as time goes on and requirements change.Step 2: Remove or replace inefficient hardware and softwareWe bet youve already heard all about theMarie Kondo method, the trailblazing organization strategy thats taken the world by storm, sparking so much joy in the process! But did you know you can apply the same approach in data center consolidation?Take a look at your existing hardware - if you immediately start to feel frustrated then you can safely say that it doesnt spark joy, and it needs to be replaced or upgraded. Remove inefficient hardware or software and look out for better alternatives thatll help you stay one step ahead.Step 3: Enjoy the fruits of your laborOnce youve finished consolidating youll be able to sit back, relax and enjoy your hard work. Consolidation can be enormously helpful for all kinds of businesses, helping to improve their total cost of ownership and allowing teams to regain control over their data center space. If this sounds like something your company might find useful, nows the time to look into data center consolidation. Start thinking about consolidation and considering how you might approach the task, and before long youll have a thorough plan of action ready to go.---Data center consolidation is overlooked all too often, but it shouldnt be. The practice offers a whole range of benefits for teams willing to take on the challenge, and some great rewards lay in store following effective consolidation strategies. Read up on how consolidation works and what it might offer your team, and you could soon be enhancing the efficiency of your own systems, and saving a considerable sum of money in the process.This article was contributed byTRG Datacenters, the first data center to offer full service colocation that is easy, fast, and reliable.