What is a Colocation Data Center
What is a Colocation Data CenterJun 25 , 2021
Colocation, also known as “Co-location” or “Colo” for short, is a simple concept at its core. Rather than a company storing servers in a server room within their own facilities, colocation allows businesses to rent space and power within a provider’s remote data center. In exchange for a monthly fee, the business owning the servers is able to use the data center’s resources while still making use of the hardware and personnel they already pay for.
This is a very popular service that is used by businesses that may not have the resources needed to maintain their own data center, but still want to enjoy all the benefits.
What is Colocation?
The term colocation refers to several aspects of this type of data center. First, the term references the fact that servers and other equipment from many different companies are ‘co-located’ in one data center. The hardware is usually owned by the company’s themselves, and simply housed (and sometimes maintained) by the data center staff.
It also refers to the concept that a company can have their equipment located in multiple places. They may have servers, for example, in three or four different colocation data centers. This is important for companies that have large geographic footprints, and they want to make sure their computer systems are located near their physical offices.
Advantages to Colocation Hosting
Colocation is beneficial because, rather than constructing an entirely new space for hardware you are expanding on, you can rent the space you need at a facility built around optimal server maintenance. Not only are you avoiding the fees associated with building costs, but additionally, you are gaining access to the provider’s top-of-the-line temperature regulating hardware and their physical and digital security measures.
- Lower Costs – When comparing the costs of a colocation data center with the option of building your own facility, it is an obvious choice. Unless your equipment requires a huge amount of room, the costs will be far lower when using a colocation option.
- Fewer Technical Staff – You don’t need to worry about things like running cables, managing power, installing equipment, or any number of other technical processes. In many cases, the colocation data center will even be able to replace components or perform other tasks as needed. This means you don’t need to have a large IT staff employed to handle this work.
- Exceptional Reliability – Colocation data centers are typically built with the highest specifications for redundancy. This includes backup power generators, excellent physical security, multiple network connections through multiple telcos, and much more.
- Geographic Location – You can choose the location of your data center so that it is near your users.
- Predictable Expenses – The costs associated with a colocation data center will be very predictable. You can typically sign contracts that last one or more years, so you know exactly how to budget your IT needs.
- Easy Scalability – When your business is growing, you can quickly have new servers or other equipment added to the facility. When you have your equipment in a small local data center or server closet, it can be much more difficult to expand.
Things to Consider in a Colocation Service Provider
There are of course many determining factors when looking at which colocation service provider is the right fit for your business. The following list is hardly everything worth considering. However, by keeping these questions in mind, you can ensure you narrow your selection down to those providers best suited to your company’s needs.
- Does the monthly cost of colocation services fit within your company’s budget?
- Would switching to this provider for colocation services reduce your yearly tech budget in a significant way?
Are additional fees hidden in your contract that will add up over time?
- Customer Service
- Is on-site staff available 24/7?
- Is this staff available to help in emergencies or for an additional fee?
- Can they offer you custom solutions suitable for your company’s needs?
- Does the provider have experience hosting with companies of your size?
- How long have they been providing colocation services?
- Does their network provide consistent uptime?
Colocation Data Center Vs Colocation Server Rack
When researching colocation data center options, you’ll need to make sure you understand the difference between a full colocation data center, and a colocation server rack. The terms are sometimes used interchangeably, but properly speaking, a colocation data center is when a data center company rents out the entire facility to another company. A colocation rack, on the other hand, is when they rent out rack space within a data center to multiple companies.
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