What is Server Colocation Hosting?
Colocation Hosting is an option for small business customers who want the features of a large IT department without the costs.
Many large corporations have the Internet infrastructure and financial resources to host their own web servers and deploy a team of IT professionals to design and manage an in-house facility BUT most individuals and small companies do not. Colocation enables small businesses and individuals to place their servers in Colocation Providers’ racks which shares its bandwidth between all their clients. This solution generally costs customers more than standard “web-hosting” but it’s also cheaper than arranging for those same services “from scratch” within their own business premises/offices.
Once you have a machine set up, you take it physically to the Colocation Provider’s location and install it in their rack - but you may also rent a server machine, if you prefer, from that same Colocation Provider. That provider then supplies an IP address, bandwidth and power for your server.
Once your server is up and running, you can access it much the same as you would access a Web site on a hosting provider. The key difference is that you own the hardware (unless you rented that too). Some Colocation facilities are "carrier neutral" and allow customers to connect to various Internet backbone providers. Customers in “carrier neutral” facilities, therefore, are not dependent on a single carrier and can control the quality of their network. Other facilities provide access to internet exchanges, which are marketplaces that allow customers to directly interconnect with potentially hundreds of various networks, and exchange IP traffic.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Colocation Hosting
There are many Colocation Hosting companies to choose from and each provider may differ in the quality and location of their data center and engineering capabilities. Many providers include “remote hands” services which provides technical support to clients who are not located nearby but need on-site assistance when technical issues arise. In some areas, costs can increase dramatically in relation to customers’ specific needs for power and space in a facility. In addition, rates can also be very high, depending on a data center facility’s variety of networks or its’ available level of redundancy
First the UPSIDE:
- Colocation facilities can provide high levels of availability and network uptime not found in small offices.
- Some data center providers offer remote hands or managed services to shrink expenses.
- Bandwidth is instantly available for rapid scaling with some providers offering up to 10Gbps speeds.
- Data centers offer a very high level of both physical and network security.
- Co-locating equipment means your servers will be online when your office internet goes down. Mobile devices and telecommuters can still continue to access company servers.
Some potential trade-offs:
- While scaling up is easy, it is typically more difficult to scale down in regards to service contracts.
- Companies with vast amounts of servers may find it costs less to build a custom data center.
- Companies with slow office connections may find accessing servers at a data center slower versus hosting their services locally in their office.
For customers seeking a highly secure, high availability solution for their office systems, placing your equipment in a data center is a sound investment. Colocation Hosting is suitable for businesses who desire remote backup of data, a disaster recovery solution or business continuity insurance policy. Outages can translate into significant losses for an organization and data center colocation can reduce such risks while vastly increasing productivity.