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Greetings!  I’d like to hear from any colleges/universities who have chosen commercial colocation for their primary data center (or components of that data center), and what challenges/advantages you’ve experienced.  Many thanks.




Linda D. Hilton, Chief Information Officer

Vermont State Colleges


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Would be nice to see a template for an agreement also if there is one.


James R. Dalton
VP of IT
Roanoke College

Good afternoon,


We have contractual arrangements with a local TelCo to house all of our major systems including Banner and Exchange.  All together we have five racks of hardware that “live” in their space.  I would be happy to provide details of these arrangements directly to interested individuals.






Bruce W. Vieweg

Associate Provost

Chief Information Officer

Interim Dean of Students

Concordia College

901 8th Street South

Moorhead, MN  56562



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into society thoughtful and informed men and women dedicated to the Christian life.


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Message from

From: Thomas Skill <>
To: The EDUCAUSE CIO Constituent Group Listserv <>
Date: Wed, 16 Nov 2011 15:19:16 -0500
Subject: Re: [CIO] Colocation for your primary data center?


Earlier this year we did a full analysis of co-location versus build for our data center.  That project included seeking bids from three different regional co-lo operators as well as a bid on building a new facility in an existing building.  The major constraints that we encountered with the co-lo bids were the high cost of data connections back to campus, the risk of not being able to expand space if we grew (without buying it upfront), and escalation clauses for annual price increases that we could not easily get funded every year.  We had several board members who were convinced that co-lo was the low-cost solution.  The reality was that co-lo was a much higher cost, but the DR/BIP benefits were certainly attractive.

When we calculated our capital costs to build in an existing space, the ROI was less than three years.  This was possible because the location already had two 800KW generators and most of the campus fiber terminated at that site.   Because our analysis showed such a strong benefit to building, we went two steps further and engaged an outside consultant who oversees all the data centers Lexis-Nexis.  Her independent analysis confirmed that the build was the best option for our situation.   We then took all the Co-Lo bid and build information and had a consultation with Gartner's data center expert -- He also affirmed that build was the right call.   

In the final analysis,  if we had to build new space and purchase the generators, our ROI would have been much farther out.   And if we had a Co-Lo that was much closer to us, the cost of high-bandwidth data transport would have probably dropped by 50%, thus making the decision a toss up.   

This may or may not be helpful, but I thought I should share it anyway -- our team lived with the project for nearly 6 months.  We're about 25% done with the data center construction.

Tom Skill
Thomas Skill, Ph.D.
Associate Provost & CIO 
Professor of Communication
Office (937) 229-3511
Fax (937) 229-4044

University of Dayton
300 College Park 
Dayton, OH 45469-2230

Message from

Linda,  Have you approached your state CIO to see what’s available? We have a very forward looking state CIO in Tennessee who convinced the governor to build a Tier 4 data center that state/local government could use (a private/government cloud if you will) that went live last November.  When I learned about it and asked if we as state public higher ed could also participate the answer was “of course” and now we’re starting to take advantage of it.  The redundancy, security, etc. is by far better and less expensive than anything we could build on our own, and it’s billed on a cost recovery model that makes it more economically attractive than commercial providers. I’m of course willing to discussing further with you (or anyone else that’s interested) off line, but I bring it up just to point out that there may be an alternative to commercial colocation/hosting/cloud for public institutions anyway in our own back yards.  I would not have known about this new data center had I not been asked to serve on a task force where it came up in casual conversation.


Thomas Danford

Tennessee Board of Regents



Thanks Tom, we are actually considering both commercial and what I’ll call collegial colocation.  I completely agree that this alternative can be a wonderful opportunity!