How to Select and Bid Your Next Datacenter: Open-Sourcing Packet’s Datacenter RFP

April 17th, 2015

Adam Rothschild

Adam Rothschild

SVP, Network
Datacenter space and power can be an IT organization’s largest operational expenditure, and can also be a significant factor in reliability. I’ve seen site selection go wrong to a nearly comical degree, ending in hours of sustained downtime over the course of a contract - avoid that with our datacenter RFP!

I spent last week in warm and sunny San Diego, attending the Open-IX Americas Interconnection Summit, or “AIS” for short. In attendance were a diverse group of network operators and executives representing a wide cross-section of the industry: hosting providers, web content, backbones, broadband access providers, CDNs, and datacenter operators.

Open-IX is an organization that I’ve been involved with since its inception, and is uniquely aligned with what we stand for here at Packet. The Open-IX mission is an important and timely one: to promote interconnection around the globe, and to maintain technical standards for the operation of world-class datacenters and Internet exchange points.  

I was proud to be of service to its Program Committee, where I helped recruit the speaker lineup and curate some fascinating talks, many of which were hot off the presses, and never presented anywhere prior. Thought leaders at such organizations as Netflix, Riot Games, Cloudflare, PTT.br, and Level 3 rocked the microphone.

On Choosing A Datacenter
At the conference, I was also given the opportunity to share Packet’s methodology for datacenter site selection. While it may seem like a routine process, choosing the right facility is actually an extremely daunting task due to its technical and commercial complexity.  

The stakes are high: datacenter space and power can be an IT organization’s largest operational expenditure, and can also be a significant factor in reliability. Sadly, I’ve seen site selection go wrong to a nearly comical degree, ending in hours of sustained downtime over the course of a contract.  

An All Too Common Scenario
A common scenario is an organization that “outgrows” its virtual or bare metal servers, and looks towards colocation as a way to cut costs, without fully realizing what they’re dealing with. Since small and mid-sized organizations seldom have datacenter professionals on payroll, this task falls in the lap of the “network” or “vendor” person, who usually lacks any real subject matter expertise. As such, a datacenter is selected based on eye candy in marketing literature or a comforting connecting with a sales rep.  What’s missing is the key ingredient: fanatical due diligence regarding power, cooling, and communications. Far less common is the case when a datacenter is selected properly, with the customer’s needs and vendor’s capabilities fully aligned.

The Packet Approach

Without further ado, you can find these documents here:

I encourage readers to have a look over all (3) documents, and to reach out with any questions or comments.