In today’s networked world, telecom carrier links and data center cages need to be connected together to be of practical use. A Meet Me Room or MMR is a physical location where such connections can be organized, made, and managed.

An MMR can be located in a data center, although it may be elsewhere in some cases – for example, direct data exchange between links of different telecom companies. When inside a data center, an MMR is typically a physically small but essential part of the infrastructure.

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Why Would You Want a Meet Me Room in Your Data Center?

The main reasons can be summed up as the ‘3Cs’ of control, cost, and choice:

  • Control. Making an MMR an integral part of your data center allows you to ensure the same security and business continuity as for the rest of your facility. That includes battery backup and generator backup and protection from unauthorized access.
  • Cost. A Meet Me Room can distribute traffic at a lower cost by avoiding certain local loop communications fees. High bandwidth connectivity is available to users directly within the MMR, rather than traveling out of the data center to get to a telco’s facility.
  • Choice. Smart management of an MMR includes offering the right choices to users. This may be a balancing act for colocation facilities to get the right number of carriers, each with sufficient space for communication and cross-connect equipment.

Good MMR Management is a Must

While you may be convinced of the necessity of having this capability within your data center, poor management of an MMR can trip you up in more ways than one:

  • Connectivity showstoppers. If prospective customers for colocation facilities cannot access the carrier of their choice, they may never sign up for service. Likewise, if carriers feel squeezed regarding space or standards, they may turn their attention to other data centers and effectively take their customers with them.
  • Poor security. Sometimes, an unjustified assumption is made that physical security and backup in the rest of the data center automatically carry through to the MMR. It must all be planned, checked, and tested for the MMR.
  • Risky location. Connectivity to the outside world may be facilitated by locating the MMR just inside an external wall. However, if there is any severe risk of damage, for instance, from vehicles maneuvering at an adjacent loading dock, it needs to be sheltered deeper within the data center.
  • Communication latency. As data centers get bigger, links get longer. Fiber optic cable will need to replace the copper cable. Anything that interrupts the continuity of a direct connection, for example, interconnection points or cable joins, will increase latency and decrease performance.

Start as You Mean to Go On

MMR performance can be a boon to your data center, but MMR anarchy is something you do not need.

Random cross-connections between carriers and tenants must be avoided.

Connection standards that include interconnection methods, cable counts, color codes, and labeling should be applied in all cases. You may be able to get telecom companies to buy into such standards by involving them early on in your Meet Me Room design.

How much use do you make of your MMR as a selling point for your colocation services? Tell us how you like to position it with a few words in the space for comments underneath. 

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