Our Data Center and Colocation Frequently Asked Questions

How do I know whether I need to use a data center? Do you have back-up systems to keep my operations going in a power outage or other technical glitch? We answer questions like this and many more in our collection of data center frequently asked questions. Browse to find the answers you need!
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  • Why does Northern Virginia have a high concentration of data centers?

    Large Data Center in Northern VirginiaIf you live in the DMV area, you may not realize that the biggest collection of data centers in the nation is right in your backyard. Northern Virginia has one of the most reliable and fast-growing data center markets in the world.

    How Northern Virginia Became “Data Center Alley”

    Local clients enjoy many benefits in our DC area data centers, including:

    • Competitive pricing and platform options. Our carrier-neutral facilities offer pay-as-you-grow service options that allow you to plan for both your present and future needs, ensuring that you can scale quickly and never pay unnecessary costs.
    • Interconnectivity. The data market has brought a variety of new technologies and service providers to the area, making the options you pass on to your customers virtually limitless. The technology specialists at ATI Solutions integrate all physical and virtual systems in your IT network, improving performance and reducing waste.
    • Fast responses. After spending thousands of dollars on your business solutions, you can’t afford to wait when something goes wrong. Not only do we offer multiple redundancies for power and cooling to reduce the risk of an outage, but our clients also have access to a local Continuity of Operations Center while our data recovery specialists get to work restoring your systems.

    If you need help with cloud computing, colocation hosting, storage, disaster recovery, or other solutions, our specialists would be happy to offer a personalized IT recommendation that fits your needs and your budget. Contact us today to get more information about the storage and service options in our D.C. data centers, or set up an appointment to tour our Chantilly facility.


  • What are rack unit (U) measurements in data center servers?

    Commercial Servers in ATI's Building | Server Units And Their SizesData centers may organize the servers and equipment needed to host their clients’ online platforms in a variety of ways. Tower servers have a tall, slim housing and can be tilted on their side to fit inside storage racks, while smaller blade servers can be switched out quickly if something goes wrong. However, most data centers prefer to mount their servers and hosting equipment in racks, or on standardized shelving systems that allow for maximum space efficiency and environmental control. As the building blocks of a data center, IT rack plays an important role to service multiple generations of IT equipment to maximize the business value.

    How Rack Units Affect Server Storage in a Data Center

    A server is built specifically to be mounted into a rack. A server rack is an open frame designed for mounting multiple electronic equipment modules to hold servers and IT equipment. Racks may run from floor to ceiling and house several different servers owned by different clients. All of the servers are mounted one on top of the other within a rack to minimize the amount of space used by each client.

    Since it would be extremely difficult to accommodate servers of varying shapes and sizes, most servers are built according to a standardized measuring system known as rack units. A server’s height in rack units (U) is the amount of space needed to house the equipment. The width and depth of standard data center racks slightly vary by manufacturer, but the industry standard is 19 inches wide and 36 inches deep.

    Servers come in sizes of:

    • 1U, 2U, and 4U. While server sizes may differ slightly depending on the make and model, a 1U server typically occupies a dimension of 1.75″ by 19″ of rack space. There are also 2U and 4U servers, which offer more computing power but take up more space on the rack.
    • Half rack. The majority of rack spaces are 19″ wide, and a half-rack accommodation can store multiple pieces of servers.
    • Full rack. A larger quantity servers allow for additional CPUs and memory to be added into the client’s network. Full-sized rack servers may be 19” wide, requiring an entire rack to themselves.

    Our Data Center Provides Northern Virginia and DC Businesses Server Requirements They Need

    Whether you require a half rack or several racks to run your operations, the data specialists at ATI Solutions would be happy to provide the space and services for your online platform. Contact us today to get more information about the storage and service options in our D.C. data centers, or set up an appointment to tour our Chantilly facility.


  • What are CRAHs?

    Data Center Cooling | CRAC Units | CRAH SystemsRunning servers and hardware around the clock generates a considerable amount of heat in data centers, and each one must invest in adequate cooling to protect its clients’ machines. While data center operators may use a variety of cooling methods, our DC area colocation centers use multiple computer room air handlers (CRAH) to prevent interruptions due to overheating.

    Common Methods for Controlling Temperature and Humidity in Data Centers

    Servers and hardware can take considerable power to cool, as a single rack of servers can easily generate over 100 degrees. Most data centers run at temperatures around 68 degrees, keeping the machines cool enough to work while maintaining optimal climate control.

    Cooling methods used in computer rooms and colocation centers include:

    Air conditioning units

    Air conditioning, a system that blows air over a cooling coil filled with refrigerant, has been used in many forms to keep electrical systems cool. However, simpler units are being phased out in favor of more modern CRAC and CRAH units.

    CRAC units

    Computer room air conditioning (CRAC) systems work similarly to air-conditioning units, but are able to maintain a set temperature, air distribution, and humidity level. In most cases, the cool air is dispensed through an elevated floor, forming cold aisles that move through the racks. The picks up heat, forming hot aisles at the rear of the racks, then returns to the CRAC intakes above the floor.

    CRAH systems

    A computer room air handler (CRAH) differs from a CRAC unit because the air is cooled over a cooling coil filled with chilled water instead of using mechanical refrigeration. CRAHs are able to modulate fan speed to maintain a set static pressure, keeping both temperature and humidity stable. Our two facilities offer N+1 or 2N redundancy for cooling and power, complete with built-in CRAHs, a multi-stack chiller plant, and hot aisle containment for high-density accommodation.

    Know Your IT Systems Are Well Maintained

    ATI Solutions has a variety of highly-customizable IT interventions and deployment options that can be scaled up or down according to your business’ needs. Contact us today to get more information about the storage and managed IT service options in our D.C. data centers, or set up an appointment to tour our Chantilly facility.


  • What does "facility is carrier neutral" mean?

    Carrier-Neutral Data CenterThere are two different ways to provide internet service in a colocation center: carrier-specific and carrier-neutral. Carrier-specific facilities have already chosen the carrier that will provide internet services, and it is the only option available to their clients. In a carrier-neutral facility, the data center is not tied to any one provider, and instead allows clients to choose between a variety of telecommunications and internet service providers.

    Benefits of Carrier-Neutral Data Centers

    Carrier neutrality can be a major asset for companies that want to get the most out of their data center services. Even if a business does not require carrier neutrality in its early days, it can be frustrating and expensive to make the switch to a neutral data center in the future.

    Carrier-neutral data centers offer customers many benefits such as:

    • Better value. Since the data center accommodates a variety of providers, these providers will increasingly offer benefits to remain competitive in the market. Several companies vying for your business allows you to choose the perfect combination of all the services and options you might want to meet your current and future needs.
    • Lower prices. A carrier-specific center might not allow clients to choose their network, hardware, or even software vendors, charging you for a one-size-fits-all service costing you exponentially more long term. Multiple carriers in a single data facility helps you negotiate the prices down not only of your main carrier’s services but of your secondary carrier’s services as well.
    • Flexibility. Clients in a carrier-specific facility will be limited to the bandwidth and network options provided by that data center’s specific carrier, while those in neutral facilities can select service levels that will guarantee their required amount of uptime. They can also either scale up or scale down their required services with much more ease, even have the possibility to switch to a different carrier later on if needed.
    • Protection. Carrier diversity is necessary for redundant systems, and is invaluable when it comes to cyberattacks, service outages, and data loss events. If one internet connection fails, an alternative carrier can instantly continue to provide support for vital systems, while interconnectivity between providers can continuously backup and transfer files to protect against data loss. In a carrier-neutral facility, you also get a say in exactly how you want your configurations for redundancy set up.

    We Answer Your Questions On Carrier Neutral Information

    The professionals at ATI can evaluate your needs and help you determine which storage and service options are right for you. Contact us today to get more information about how our data centers can serve your needs or set up an appointment to tour our Chantilly facility.


  • How much space will I need in a colocation data center?

    Server Space in a Colocation Center | Server Colocation SpaceYou are ready to take your network to the next level, but you are not sure if a colocation provider is the best option. A colocation center can provide the power, cooling, bandwidth, and security necessary to store your servers and to keep your network up and running; however, there are monthly fees and rental costs needed to do so. As a result, you should carefully consider what your current needs, growth objectives, and the many options you have before you buy.

    Types of Server Space Available in a Colocation Center

    Data centers use a standardized measurement system when it comes to classifying server space. A (U) is the term used to measure storage space in racks, and the standard physical measurement of one rack unit (U) is 44.45 mm or 1.75 inches in height. From there, the amount of space used by a business can vary from inches to several thousand square feet depending on the scale and complexity of its network infrastructure.

    Because space is offered in many different ways in a data center, below are some of the common rental options and their distinct advantages:

    • Racks. In a colocation center, servers, network devices, and other hardware are mounted in a frame called a rack, making it easy to replace failed components. A standard rack is 19" wide, can accommodate several U in height, and each server rack shelf is positioned to provide optimized cooling. Data centers may allow customers to rent quarter, half, or full racks.
    • Cabinets. A cabinet is an enclosure that acts as an outer shell or casing on a rack, which is locked and kept secure by the colocation provider. Fundamentally, all cabinets serve the same purpose. However, they can physically vary from being a separate enclosure installed around a rack, a larger enclosure meant to closely house multiple full racks, or even a “one-piece” design where the racks and the cabinet are one unit. Depending on security preferences, a customer may require an entire cabinet or share a single cabinet with other customers.
    • Suites. Customers who require either higher security, extensive storage, or both may store their servers in large locked areas, commonly referred to as suites. A suite can be a large metal cage, a locked transparent room, or a secure confined area composed of privacy paneling. Suites house several or hundreds of cabinets depending on the desired square footage.

    Contact Us To Learn Our Server Colocation Options

    If you are anticipating rapid growth, it may be a good idea to invest in one of these storage options now to avoid the headaches of a massive data center migration later on. ATI offers secure server storage in one of our two DC-area data centers, both of which offer critical systems monitoring 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. Contact us today by calling  (855) 658-8600 to get more information about how our data centers can serve your needs or set up an appointment to tour our Chantilly facility.


  • What Are The Benefits of Colocation?

    There Are Many Benefits to Using a Colocation Facility | What Is ColocationA colocation facility, sometimes called colo or co-location, is a data center created specifically for the housing and storage of servers, computing hardware, and networking equipment. Colocation may be compared to an apartment building, with each secure “unit” rented by a different tenant. The customers can either own their own servers or lease hardware through the colocation provider, but each will rent the space, bandwidth, power, and cooling necessary to house it offsite.

    Colocation for Small and Medium-Sized Businesses

    Small businesses often begin their online hosting by renting space on a server owned by a hosting provider. As the business grows, it may need its own dedicated server to ensure high levels of connectivity and the security of company information. However, housing the server(s) onsite can be a costly endeavor, especially when it comes to:

    • Physical space. Multiple servers may take up whole rooms, decreasing usable floor space that comes at a premium for commercial renters.
    • Utility costs. Since information technology hardware must be kept at cool temperatures and require high power levels around the clock, hosting them in-house may be cost-prohibitive.
    • Flexibility: Choosing a custom-made building allows customers to personalize their colocation plan and decide which aspects of their system they focus on, choosing from a range of facilities for individual infrastructures and budgets.
    • Physical security. Many colocation facilities offer multiple layers of security, including cages, video surveillance, card reader and PIN access, and 24/7 technical support.
    • Economies of Scale. Colocation allows custom access to the technology and higher bandwidth requirements at a low cost for each of its customers, making it easy for growing businesses to upgrade without interruption.
    • Disaster Recovery & Business Continuity. By placing servers in a data center, customers build in an extra layer of disaster recovery in the event of power loss, enabling them to recover business-critical data. Colocation offers backup generators and several redundancy methods to keep servers running.
    • Connectivity. Colocation service providers utilize the investment into the facility to attract major telecommunication companies for wide area network (WAN), internet peering, and service providers like those of Verizon, Cox, Zayo, Comcast, and Lumen. With that investment, it allows each provider to enter the premises with multiple access points creating a multi-redundant web of connections into the building to ensure you have the best bandwidth while being able to choose your carrier.

    Still Curious About Colocation Facilities?

    In a digital economy, it is vital that businesses have the tools that will allow them to conduct business around the clock while keeping costs low. Our data centers offer all the power, connectivity, protection, and security you need. We treat our clients as part of the ATI family, so when you become a client of ATI, you become a part of our family. Contact us today to get more information colocation facitlities and about how our data centers can serve your needs or set up an appointment to tour our Chantilly facility to learn more about colocation.