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8 Jun 2023
"Remote Hands" vs "Smart Hands" Services: What's the Difference?
The COVID-19 pandemic forcing alternative remote work arrangements made companies realize the importance of reliable data center infrastructure. Most of this infrastructure is managed in colocation facilities, many of which are either not allowing customers or vendors in – outside of emergencies – or severely restricting access to prevent having the virus brought inside their facilities. However, data center providers have long since offered services for clients who may not be close to their physical infrastructure.What are “Remote Hands” Services?Remote hands servicesinclude tasks such as securing cabling, checking port numbers, observing or reporting indicators on equipment, rudimentary observation of the environment, and server reboots. These tasks are accomplished remotely without the client having to be present at the colocation facility. These services are usually offered as part of the agreement with the chosen colocation facility.Why are Remote Hands Services Vital?IT managers usually consider remote hands services when they are leasing space from far away from their physical location. This allows them to manage their data center without having to send technical staff to the colocation facility.Remote hands services also allow you to handle IT operations that go down in the middle of the night or during holidays. Support issues tend to happen when we least expect them. Remote Hands services can be deployed round the clock, even when no one from your IT department is available.Remote Hands ServicesTypically, Remote Hands services differ for every colocation facility. To give you an idea, here are some of the tasks that remote hands services traditionally cover:Moving or securing network cablesNetwork router and switch configurationServer refreshes and rebootsHardware and software replacement or installationPower cyclingInventory management and labelingHandling shipping and receiving requestsReporting on equipment performanceAuditsWhat are “Smart Hands” Services?Smart Hands services include more complex tasks that need someone physically present in the colocation facility to deal with it. Some examples include setting up a firewall, managing data center equipment, media and supply management, complex cable configurations, equipment testing, and general troubleshooting.Due to the additional expertise required, smart services typically aren’t included in the colocation providers’ fees. Instead, Smart Hands services get billed by the hour. It is essential that organizations coordinate with colocation providers to clarify the services that are not covered.Why are Smart Hands Services Vital?There will always come a time when there are too many things on your IT department’s plate. It’s not ideal for any growing company to have an IT team that manually handles all operations within the datacenter. That would require maintaining a larger IT staff as well as providing comprehensive training, two things that significantly reduce your profit margin.Freeing your IT department from having to deal with infrastructure issues allows them to focus more on value-adding projects. Smart Hands Services strengthen the data infrastructure of companies without compromising their productivity. They offer immediate responses to various data center problems to reduce liability issues and potential data breaches.Smart Hands ServicesTypically, Smart Hands services differ for every colocation facility. To give you an idea, here are some of the tasks that smart hands services usually cover:Configuration of the firewallComplex cable configurationsPlacement device managementTest devices and fix errorsRack and stacking servicesShipping and receivingAutomated maintenanceSetting up and Maintaining BackupsPack and unpackInventoryDetect and respond to threatsMoving equipmentOperating system and server installationPower cycleOn-site and off-site technical support and troubleshootingRemote server restartsCloud cross-connectRemote Hands VS. Smart HandsAs previously mentioned, different colocation facilities offer different services. They may offer most, if not all, of the data center support services mentioned above. In terms of services, remote hands and smart hands differ significantly from one another.Remote Hands services often include initial support services of colocation providers. These involve remote IT support usually kept at a minimum. Simple tasks like cycling a server's power, checking the status of an indicator light, and reporting the status back to the customer are performed depending on the organization’s needs.In contrast, smart hands services offer IT services beyond what is initially provided by colocation facilities. Smart Hands service covers complex tasks like receiving hardware shipments or performing hardware deployment at an added cost. Organizations can also deploy a technician to the data center to repair equipment such as hard drives and power supply units.
7 Jun 2023
How to Create a Business Continuity Disaster Recovery Plan
In today's business landscape, being prepared for the unexpected is more important than ever. It's not just about protecting from financial losses in case of disaster – it also means having a plan to keep operations running smoothly no matter what happens. A well-crafted BCDR (Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery) plan makes all the difference in a crisis. It's an essential element towards building organizational resilience to disruptive events. Incorporating such a plan into a strategic framework pays dividends in terms of helping any organization quickly assess what needs to be done in order to minimize downtime and get back to performance as rapidly as possible.The need for tailored solutions should also not be underestimated, as quick, precise reactions are paramount for employee safety, financial stability and customer service levels, all playing critical roles in the restoration process. In this blog post, you'll learn how to create a BCDR plan so that your business stays resilient in uncertain times.What is BCDR? Business continuity disaster recovery (BCDR) is a strategy that enables organizations to prepare for and recover from unexpected events that could disrupt their operations. Business continuity refers to the process of ensuring that critical business functions can continue operating during and after an unexpected event, while disaster recovery refers to the process of restoring IT systems and infrastructure to their pre-disaster state. While both are related, business continuity focuses on maintaining business operations, while disaster recovery focuses on restoring IT systems and infrastructure.Business continuity planning is important so that all of the necessary parts of a business stay working if something goes wrong. This helps customers, employees, and people involved with the business to keep going without disruption. The goal of disaster recovery is to get the IT systems and infrastructure back to working quickly. This way, there will be less time that things are not working, and it won't affect the business as much.To achieve these goals, businesses must identify critical business functions and prioritize their recovery based on their importance to the organization. Businesses need to create a plan that explains how they will communicate and work with people who are involved. They should also check and update their plan often, so it stays effective. This way, businesses can limit the damage if something bad happens, and keep things running smoothly even when there are unexpected events.Tips for Implementing a Sound BCDR Plan Implementing a sound business continuity disaster recovery plan is crucial for any organization to ensure that they can continue operating during and after an unexpected event. The following are the top five things to do when implementing such a plan:Conduct a Risk AssessmentDoing a risk assessment is an important part of making a plan to keep your business running in case of emergency. It helps you find out what might go wrong and how it could affect your business. By conducting a comprehensive risk assessment, businesses can evaluate their current state of readiness and determine the likelihood and potential impact of various disruptive events. This information can then be used to develop a plan to mitigate risks and minimize the impact of disruptions, ensuring that critical business functions can continue even in the face of unexpected events. Without a thorough risk assessment, businesses may overlook important factors that could jeopardize their ability to recover from a disaster or unforeseen event.Develop a Disaster Recovery Strategy Developing a disaster recovery strategy is a crucial step in establishing a sound business continuity and disaster recovery plan because it provides a clear roadmap for responding to disruptive events. A disaster recovery strategy outlines the steps that must be taken to recover critical systems, applications, and data after an unforeseen event. This includes identifying backup and recovery procedures, establishing recovery time objective (RTO) and recovery point objective (RPO), and defining roles and responsibilities for all stakeholders involved in the recovery process. By developing a comprehensive disaster recovery strategy, businesses can minimize downtime, reduce the impact of disruptions, and ensure that critical business functions can continue even in the face of unexpected events. Having a comprehensive disaster recovery strategy is critical for organizations hoping to survive surprising and unpredictable scenarios. Without one, the organization may find itself with insufficient tools at their disposal when it matters most -- leading to tremendous business interruption and true lasting damage to the company.Regulatory bodies are also increasingly scrutinizing what contingency plans organizations have in place, and a valid and orderly process is necessary if such an event occurs. Poorly planned or backed strategies may compound the impact resulting from a disaster drastically, handing considerable financial losses and declining customer service reputation—potentially jeopardizing the survival of the enterprise as a whole.Test Your PlanRegularly testing the disaster recovery plan is a crucial step in developing a business continuity and disaster recovery plan because it ensures that the plan is effective and that critical processes can be recovered in the event of an unexpected disruption. Testing the disaster recovery plan provides an opportunity to uncover potential issues, identify gaps in the plan, and make necessary improvements to better prepare for unforeseen events. By conducting regular tests, businesses can verify that all systems and applications are recoverable, that all backups are current, and that recovery time objectives (RTOs) and recovery point objectives (RPOs) are achievable. Regular testing also allows organizations to train personnel on how to respond to disruptive events, ensuring that everyone understands their roles and responsibilities during a crisis. Without regular testing, businesses may not be able to guarantee that their disaster recovery plan will be effective when it is needed most, leading to significant operational and financial impacts.Communicate Your Plan It is important for all individuals involved in the organization to understand the plan, including what to do in case of an unexpected event, where to go, whom to contact, and what their responsibilities are, to minimize the impact of disruptions on the business. By providing regular communication and training, organizations can ensure that employees are familiar with the disaster recovery plan and that all stakeholders understand their roles and responsibilities during a crisis. Proactive communication and training create a culture of preparedness, emphasizing the importance of being ready for unexpected events. Without a clear understanding of the disaster recovery plan, employees can feel overwhelmed in an emergency situation. Inappropriate responses could lead to major business disruption, resulting in cascading financial and operational costs that need to be mitigated. Knowing what to do in case of unexpected events is half the battle; having a defined process for disaster recovery empowers staff with proactive steps for containing negatives risks and avoiding collateral damage.An effective strategy gives everyone peace of mind and puts into motion behaviors that make drastic changes in operations more manageable.Review and Update Plan as NeededRegularly reviewing and updating your business continuity disaster recovery plan is crucial for the success and survival of your organization. With the ever-evolving technological landscape and unpredictable natural disasters, it's vital to ensure that you have a plan in place to mitigate risks and recover from any disruptions.Updating your plan ensures that you are up-to-date with the latest industry standards, regulations, and best practices, and that your plan remains relevant and effective. Regular review also highlights any gaps in your current plan, allowing you to make necessary adjustments and improvements. Putting all your proverbial ducks in a row with regular reviews and updates to your disaster response plan is essential for any business. Keeping review and update processes in place ensures that individual and collective efforts are working together – critical when it comes to ensuring successful business continuity.A proper plan helps to reduce downtime, minimizing disruptions in workflow that can crimp both internal operations as well as externally facing activity. Sound disaster preparedness ensures an organization is set not only to handle ad hoc crisis, but also to easily flow back into smooth operations following any external disruptors or disasters.Conclusion In conclusion, a BCDR plan is a valuable tool that can help organizations mitigate the risks associated with sudden disruptions. When creating and managing your plan, remember to consider the top five action items: Conduct a Risk Assessment, Develop a Disaster Recovery Strategy, Test Your Plan, Communicate Your Plan, and Review and Update Plan as Needed. A comprehensive plan will exceed expectations during an emergency situation. Remember that you don't have to go it alone when preparing for or responding to an interruption—seek advice from reputable technology professionals who can provide expert guidance and support tailored to the needs of your organization.Reach out today for a complimentary consultation and take solace in knowing that you are investing in better days ahead for your business.
6 Jun 2023
Colocation Powers Digital Workplace Transformations
Today’s IT professionals are no strangers to the impact of the digital transformation on their IT infrastructure. Essential players like architects, strategists, and technology leaders understand the implications of the digital workplace but could do with a deeper insight into what can be done to adapt. After all, we’ve reached a point where these changes won’t disappear anytime soon and it’s essential to prepare accordingly. Recognizing the new normal has never been more pertinent – now is the time for action.With the digital transformation taking place in most modern businesses, many organizations are looking for a reliable way to stay connected and leverage cloud technology to differentiate their products. Colocation is fast becoming the preferred choice of businesses as it provides them with a secure infrastructure that frees up resources for other projects while delivering all the benefits of cloud computing at an affordable cost. In this blog post, we'll explore how colocation can power a digital workplace transformation and help you increase performance and reliability like never before.Data Center Colocation 101 Colocation, also known as "colo," is a data center facility that allows businesses to rent rack space for their servers storage and other networking equipment. Instead of hosting their IT infrastructure on-premises, companies can store their equipment in colocation centers which offer a secure, climate-controlled environment with redundant power and internet connectivity. Data centers can help businesses of any size. They can give your business more options to grow, keep things running smoothly, offer help from people in other places, protect data better, and save money. With colocation facilities, businesses can focus on their core competencies while leaving the management of their IT infrastructure to experienced professionals. Colocation centers deliver an extra layer of security to businesses, including flexible contracts and 24/7 support. This guarantees continuity of operations without any disruption. The terms are designed to meet the unique needs of each company. The contracts are easy to adapt with minimum changes, so businesses can adjust and expand their capabilities as needed. They don't need to worry about hosting their equipment in physical locations or spending on infrastructure due to these services they offer. In this way, they can be confident knowing that breakdowns and maintenance issues can be addressed quickly.Colocation Services and Digital Transformation Colocation helps companies use technology to do their work better. It gives them access to the right tools and support they need to compete in a fast-paced, data-driven world.First and foremost, colocation offers scalable and resilient IT infrastructure that can grow and adapt to meet the changing needs of a business. This is especially important as companies increasingly rely on digital technologies to operate and compete. Colocation also provides access to high-speed, reliable internet connectivity which is essential for remote work, cloud computing, and other digital tools used by modern businesses. Additionally, colocation centers offer enhanced security measures to protect critical data and equipment from cyber threats and physical damage. Businesses can use a colocation provider for their IT infrastructure instead of running their own data center. This will allow them to use their resources to grow and become more innovative.Digital Workplace Transformation TipsCompanies can make sure their employees are ready for a change by following a plan. They will know what is needed and expected of them.Clear communication channels and regular training sessions can help reduce any potential confusion or resistance to change. Additionally, providing employees with the necessary tools and resources to work remotely or collaborate digitally can increase productivity and efficiency while also improving work-life balance. By embracing these changes and utilizing the right technology, businesses can create a seamless and successful digital workplace transformation.Following the tips listed below will help businesses have smoother digital workplace transformations.Plan Distributed WorkflowsPlanning distributed workflows where customers, partners, and employees engage is crucial when implementing a digital workplace transformation. Businesses can use this to make sure that everyone has the things they need to work together in a remote or digital space. They will have access to what they need.When planning these workflows, it's essential to consider the unique needs of each group and to provide tailored solutions that address their specific challenges. By doing so, businesses can create a cohesive and collaborative environment that fosters innovation and productivity.Additionally, having a well-planned distributed workflow can help businesses respond quickly to any unexpected challenges or changes in the market, providing a competitive advantage. Overall, successful digital workplace transformations require careful planning and consideration of all stakeholders, including customers, partners, and employees.Identify Who is Participating in WorkflowsIdentifying the users, apps, data, and things that will participate in distributed workflows is crucial when undergoing a digital workplace transformation. This helps businesses understand the unique needs of each group and develop targeted solutions that address their specific challenges. By identifying the users, applications, data, and things involved in the process, businesses can ensure that they have the necessary tools and resources to collaborate effectively and securely in a remote or digital environment. Moreover, it allows companies to implement appropriate security measures to protect sensitive data and systems from cyber threats. Overall, successfully implementing a digital workplace transformation requires careful consideration of all aspects of the process, including the users, apps, data, and things that will participate in distributed workflows. This can help businesses create a cohesive and productive digital workplace that supports innovation and growth.Map Performance AttributesBy mapping the various workload types and associated performance attributes, businesses can identify potential bottlenecks or performance issues before they impact productivity. This allows companies to optimize their infrastructure and technology to ensure that users have a consistent and reliable experience across all workloads. Furthermore, it ensures that users can access the resources they need to collaborate effectively in a remote or digital environment, resulting in increased productivity and efficiency. By mapping workload types with performance attributes, businesses can also identify areas for improvement and make data-driven decisions to improve the overall performance of their digital workplace. Ultimately, this can help organizations create a seamless and productive digital workplace that supports growth and innovation.ConclusionBy leveraging the power of colocation as a digital workplace transformation solution, businesses can reap all the benefits it offers including greater scalability, improved reliability, enhanced security, and reduced costs. With the ability to gain access to dedicated IT infrastructure and interconnections between data centers in any location, as well as 24/7 technical support, colocation provides an ideal platform that allows businesses of all sizes to take advantage of cutting-edge technologies while minimizing operating expenses. Furthermore, organizations are able to focus on their core competencies rather than worrying about managing IT hardware while still ensuring excellent performance and unparalleled uptime for their customers. If you’re interested in learning more about how colocation can help you power your own digital workplace transformation and enhance performance and reliability in a cost-effective manner, connect with the data center experts today to explore innovative solutions for your business.
5 Jun 2023
Understanding the Differences Between Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery
Ensuring your business is ready for any potential disruptions or disasters should be a priority for every organization. Having the right plans in place to respond to unforeseen outages, system failures, and security incidents could mean the difference between staying afloat and suffering major losses. To best prepare your company for any possible issues, it's important to understand the distinction between Business Continuity (BC) and Disaster Recovery (DR) as they both play different roles in crisis management. BC is a set of pre-defined plans that dictate how a company will continue to operate during a disruptive event. In this blog post we will provide an overview of both BC and DR strategies so you can ensure your business has all its bases covered.Business Continuity vs Disaster Recovery Business continuity and disaster recovery are two important strategies that organizations use to ensure their operations are not severely impacted by unforeseen events. Business continuity aims to keep the core business processes running during a crisis, while disaster recovery focuses primarily on restoring the technology-based systems to their pre-failure state in the event of a disaster. In other words, business continuity is about maintaining overall operations, while disaster recovery is about getting back to normal in terms of IT infrastructure. While both approaches are crucial for business resilience, they differ in their focus and scope. Business continuity plans typically involve a comprehensive approach to risk management, including emergency response and crisis communication, ensuring that businesses can effectively respond to all kinds of emergencies. Disaster recovery plans, on the other hand, focus on specific incidents that may cause interruptions in technology systems, such as power outages, cyberattacks, or natural disasters.Business continuity is more than just keeping the organization running; it incorporates a wide range of elements. Everything from physical assets to human resources and IT infrastructure must be carefully managed. In order to protect their organizational success, leaders need to take a holistic approach and consider all parts of an organizations that may be exposed to danger.By creating proactive plans of action for preventing risk, companies can buffer the consequences of sudden disasters or environmental threats to critical business systems and services. Proactive risk management helps ensure smooth functioning amidst unexpected events.Business Continuity ExplainedA business continuity plan is a critical tool that helps businesses prepare for and recover from unexpected disruptions. It is essential for organizations of all kinds to have a BCP in place, as it provides a clear roadmap for how to respond to a crisis, minimize the impact on operations, and resume normal activities as quickly as possible.The benefits of business continuity management are numerous, including reducing downtime, protecting employees and customers, safeguarding company assets, and maintaining business reputation. By having a BCP in place, companies can ensure that they are better prepared to respond to all kinds of disruptions, whether they are natural disasters, cyber-attacks, or other unforeseen events. Additionally, BCPs help organizations comply with regulatory requirements, reduce legal liabilities, and improve their overall operational efficiency.Overall, a well-designed BCP can help businesses protect themselves and their stakeholders against potential business-ending threats, and ensure that they can continue to operate effectively in the face of adversity.Disaster Recovery ExplainedA disaster recovery strategy is a set of pre-defined procedures that dictate how a company plans to recover its IT infrastructure after a disruptive event. It is a key component of a comprehensive business continuity plan, which aims to ensure that a company can continue to operate during and after a disaster occurs. Disaster recovery planning typically involves identifying critical IT systems and applications that need to be restored as quickly as possible after an outage, as well as establishing recovery time objectives (RTOs) and recovery point objectives (RPOs). Time after a failure is an important factor of recovery: that's where RTO (Recovery Time Objective) comes into play. It measures how much time must pass before regular operations are restored. The other component of recovery, RPO (Recovery Point Objective), measures the maximum amount of data that can be lost in case of system breakdown. Thanks to these backup systems, companies can still remain active during times of crises and retain valuable assets like customer records and financial files.The importance of having a disaster recovery plan for businesses should not be underestimated. Through thoughtful planning, they can proactively guard against interruptions in their processes and systems, decrease the duration and cost of disruptions, and maximize the chances of returning quickly to regular operations.Businesses with streamlined plans that cover their resources, technology infrastructure, employee safety, and communication strategies will be much better equipped for any unexpected trials that come their way. Further, in the event that horrendous tragedy strikes such as a natural disaster or virus pandemic, these steps have higher potential to ensure business continuation than failing to do anything ahead of time.Merging Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery Business continuity disaster recovery (BCDR) is a single initiative that combines both practices to build resiliency against potentially business-ending threats. A holistic approach looks at the whole company and helps it stay strong during or after a difficult situation. This includes making plans that will help the business keep going.BCDR involves identifying critical business functions and IT systems, establishing recovery time and point objectives, and developing plans to restore operations in the event of a disruption. The aim is to build a resilient infrastructure that can withstand all kinds of threats, from natural disasters to cyber-attacks. By using a BCDR approach, businesses can keep disruptions from happening or reduce the time they last. This makes it easier for them to get back on their feet after an emergency.Business continuity and disaster recovery are essential for safeguarding organizations against the unknown. The potential impact of a disaster on an organization is more than financial, as efficient systems and right processes provide operational stability.Protecting reputation becomes equally important as customers may distance slightly or greatly, if the right measures are not in place to maintain services undisturbed. BCDR thus has the power to protect both organizational security and financials.When everyone in a company knows what to do during a difficult time and can keep working, it helps the business succeed and makes customers happy.Conclusion It's never too early nor too late to start thinking about Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery planning. BCDR plans ensure that your company can remain operational during a disruptive event, minimize downtime, recover quickly, improve customer satisfaction and secure the assets of your business. As the future of business threatens to become more demanding, it's important for companies to proactively invest in BCDR strategies. Investing in BCDR will help protect and ensure the long-term success of your business and time is now.Consulting with experts on the type of business continuity disaster recovery plan that is right for your organization is crucial to ensure that your plan is effective and comprehensive. BCDR plans are not one-size-fits-all, and the right plan for your organization depends on various factors, including the size of your business, industry-specific regulations, and specific risks that your business may face.An expert can help you figure out which business tasks and computer systems are the most important. They can help you decide how long it should take to get back up and running if there is a problem. They will also make plans for how to restore operations if something goes wrong.They can also assist in testing and refining your BCDR plan to ensure that it is up-to-date and effective. Talking to an expert can make sure that your BCDR plan is just right for your business. It will help protect and keep your business safe from all kinds of threats.Getting help from an expert can help you make a better plan for your business. This plan will help your business get back on track quickly and keep running even if something bad happens. If you are looking to get started on implementing BCDR strategies for your organization, connect with our concierge team today for a free consultation! Your business deserves the best protection.

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