As companies plan their return to the office after months away due to the COVID-19 shutdown, many are considering moving their IT systems to a local Colocation facility. They want to allocate as much space as possible in their newly re-configured offices for their employees. If they can free up a room (or even a closet) where the company’s IT systems were housed, this will provide more space for safe social distancing. Many office managers are looking for a suitable home for their IT systems and thus are giving serious consideration to Colocation.

Colocation services are where a company’s IT systems are housed at a purpose-built data center. These facilities are specifically designed to provide a safe and secure environment for servers and related equipment. Redundant power, redundant air conditioning systems and redundant internet circuits along with security systems are all specifically designed to deliver high availability and safety for critical IT systems in a cost-effective manner.

Planning an office redesign to maximize employee space and safety is a challenge due to all the variables that must be considered. If a decision is made to free up space via IT system colocation, what is a realistic estimate of the time it will take for the systems to be up and running at the colocation facility?

Once a client’s unique space, power, and internet bandwidth requirements have been specified a proposal for the colocation services will be provided. The colocation agreement is formalized via a Master Services Agreement (MSA) and a Statement of Work (SOW). Once these documents have been executed the installation can be scheduled. At CAPS, the time required from requirements specification until installation can be as little as a week but typically ranges from two to four weeks.

Installation usually goes very quickly once all systems have been received at the colocation data center. Prior to the installation date, power circuits, PDU’s, and cross connects will be installed and the cabinet or cabinets for the client’s systems will be readied. Firewalls will be configured as necessary. The client will receive initial training regarding the safety and security at the data center and will be provided documentation with procedures to follow and key contacts. Employees from the client organization will be provided security passes to enter the data center. Often, CAPS’ system engineers will assist the client during the installation by providing carts to move equipment and helping resolve any outstanding issues.

Internet bandwidth provisioning can be virtually instantaneous as CAPS has multiple high bandwidth circuits from multiple carriers. This eliminates one of the biggest possible delays to a cut-over. Clients ordering internet circuits directly from a carrier often wait months for an installation. In addition, CAPS is able to provide automatic failover to one of its alternate carriers in case the primary internet circuit becomes non-operational.

Though the actual time it takes to redeploy IT systems to CAPS’ data center will vary depending on a client’s unique requirements, it is safe to say most clients experience elapsed time from start to finish in weeks not months. Please contact CAPS to let us know your requirements and we will be happy to provide you with a schedule you can plan on.

One of the direct consequences of COVID-19 has been a dramatic increase in the number of companies considering moving their offices from New York City to Fairfield County, Connecticut. New York City, which until the pandemic and recent social unrest had been enjoying an economic renaissance, is now facing a decline. Companies are looking for more room to spread out to mitigate the risk of disease and to comply with social distancing mandates. More spacious offices, fewer elevator rides, and less mass transit excursions are important ways to reduce exposure to COVID.

For those new to the neighborhood, an important question will be “Where should our critical IT systems be located?” Establishing a computer room in your new office is one option. However, the move to a new office is often a great time to relocate servers and related IT systems to a more secure, more redundant, and often more cost-effective colocation facility. Also, it makes sense to optimize your new office space for people so they can work productively at a safe social distance. Moving your IT systems to a facility where real estate costs are lower frees up space for your employees and saves money. There are several data centers in Fairfield County that offer colocation services. The best choice will depend on a number of variables which are discussed below.

Companies are contemplating several different approaches. Some plan to vacate their New York City office to set up a new office in Fairfield County. Others are keeping their New York office but will add a suburban satellite office where employees can work at least part time. In this case the goal is to reduce the need to work at the New York City office while allowing for occasional work there. A third option is to eliminate all offices and have employees Work From Home. In this case, if many of the employees live in Connecticut, then there will be a need for a facility to host the company’s computer systems. Hosting critical IT systems at someone’s home is not an acceptable option. A colocation facility that is conveniently located for occasional visits by your IT personnel is best.

Those considering a move to Fairfield County should be aware of the differences between lower Fairfield County and the rest of the region. Towns like Greenwich, Stamford, Darien and Norwalk are close enough to Manhattan to make commuting practical. As a result, the cost of real-estate is significantly higher than other parts of the county. For example, the cost of grade A commercial office space in Shelton can be one third the cost of comparable space in Lower Fairfield County.

Traffic is also a much bigger problem the closer you get to “The City”. Interstate 95 and the Merritt Parkway in lower Fairfield County experience some of the highest levels of road congestion in the U.S. Traffic on Rte 8 and other secondary highways, especially for those who are “reverse commuting”, is much lower; especially during rush hour.

Fairfield County is served by two different public utilities. Whereas Eversource provides electricity to much of lower Fairfield County and most of the rest of the state, United Illuminating serves the northern and eastern portions of Fairfield County. This can be significant when considering a colocation site. Connecticut is impacted by occasional snowstorms, hurricanes, tornados, and floods. The historical performance of these two utilities has varied considerably so the location of a colocation facility should take this into account. In general, United Illuminating has provided more stable services over the years.

For those companies that will be relocating to Fairfield County from New York City we want to welcome you. We believe you will find Fairfield County will support your company’s growth and prosperity while providing a safer work environment and higher quality of life for your employees. Of course, when you have a chance please stop by CAPS to say hello and to tour our secure data center in Shelton.