What You Should Know: Actual Access Day into the Colocation Center

After much planning and pre-assessment to setting up your colocation center, it is time for access day. Colin Corbett, BlueChipTek Engineer with 26 years of experience building infrastructure from the group up, shares a few more tips to keep in mind as you access your colocation center for testing.

Plan for capacity, issues, and scale

As mentioned earlier, be conscious of how much headroom you have on your infrastructure. Know what your busy times are, and how much you can burst. Also, keep in mind how long it can take to get hardware. You never want to be caught in a crunch where you are trying everything to keep the site running, and for it to fail.

Scheduling-and-Planning.jpg#asset:3178

Also, if possible, profile code releases and deployments to your infrastructure before they go live. If they result in needing more processor time to do the same amount of work, what that means is that it will eat into your headroom.

Additional tips:

  • Have good logs, good alerting, and a way to triage the issues you are seeing.
  • Have a way to quickly roll back bad deployments to a known good state if you encounter a problem.
  • It is beyond the scope of this document, but there are interesting technologies, such as Kubernetes, that may allow you to have infrastructure that is easily portable/scalable both in the datacenter, and in all the main cloud providers. With appropriate planning, it may be possible to burst into the cloud, to overcome shortfalls in capacity. It may also be possible to have an easier migration into dedicated hardware, if you have this architecture to start. Fill out our contact form if you are interested in learning about our Jumpstart for Container Orchestration, which provides training and tools required to run containerized applications utilizing Amazon EKS, a managed Kubernetes service.


Be sure to review your project plan. You can obtain a sample project plan from BlueChipTek by filling out our contact form.


Access requirements

As mentioned in previous blogs, getting into a datacenter can be tricky. Even if you have all of your paperwork in order, it can take anywhere from 10 minutes to 3 hours to enter a datacenter the first time you visit there.

As you and your team visit, make sure to update your notes about what works to get into the facility.

Keep in mind:

  • Some datacenters have multiple security desks, (eg: a landlord desk, and a datacenter tenant desk)

TIP: As you may find yourself having to make multiple phone calls to your vendors, add all the contacts to a .VCF File, and put the .VCF file on a common share. That way as you add team members, they will be able to quickly come up to speed, by importing the vendors to their phones, and then be able to contact the vendors.

  • Some datacenters require you to enter via different lobbies at the time of day.
  • Some require tickets and forms in advance. Some do not.
  • Also, datacenters will require different amounts of information. If you will eventually be going to multiple colos, it is best to gather as much info as possible.
  • Make sure to open all appropriate work visit, handscan enrollment tickets etc. that you may need BEFORE going on-site. Have the tickets ready when you walk in.


Testing

Test as much as you can before you go live. If possible, try and emulate as many different scenarios. Things such as failures of an individual hard drive, and individual node, a rack, and even the datacenter, will give you an idea about how your infrastructure responds when things go out.

AdobeStock_109909526-webfriendly.jpg#asset:3179

Ask yourself:

  • Are you getting the right types of alerts? Are people being woken up when needed to? Do you have the information needed to triage appropriately?
  • Do you have the right methods to communicate together, (a chat bridge, a voice bridge) etc.?
  • If you have to leverage remote hands, do you have pre-made scripts about what you need them to do?
  • Are you able to load-test the site?


If you are looking for more recommendations when it comes to your colo’s access day, fill out the contact form to reach out to BlueChipTek’s Integration Team.