Okay, So What is Colocation?

Nov 14th, 2012

The cool kids call it “#COLO.”

Well, colocation locations are data centers that provide secure physical space, internet connectivity, and staff to maintain and run your server. This means if you don’t have the time or space to run your own server, a colocation facility can do it for you. They are equipped to maintain the correct temperature, power levels, and security for you. This frees you up to manage your actual server, by letting someone else deal with the brunt of the logistics.

Once you buy your server, which unlike typical website hosting, is completely to your standards (as you hand-pick the components, software, and settings yourself), you decide if you want to use the data center’s dedicated internet service, or if you want, opt to get your own. Then, you take your server(s) to the colocation facility, and they rack it all for you. Step four: Profit!

Not sure if it would be a good fit?

Imagine you’re in a law office with branch offices. The only space you have for your server is essentially a closet. Sure, it’s out of the way, but you are running a server for three other locations, and they use it 24 hours a day. The constant load on the server means that you have to be careful with cooling, because like most businesses that shut down even partially over the weekend, the air conditioning goes off. That risks data loss or corruption, or even hardware failure.

Your server has to run constantly and smoothly, and that requires at least one admin on hand at all times to watch for failures, and make hot swaps, perform updates, etc. Another concern is power. Most office buildings don’t have dedicated independent power sources in the event of a local power failure, so if that one office is on an unreliable grid, the other three offices are dead in the water.

The same goes for internet connectivity. That office may have access to their building’s internet service, but the only way to ensure that they are going to get anything resembling operational speeds, they are going to need a dedicated trunk for their server, which do not come cheap.

Could a business operate like this? With an army of quotation marks, yes, they could “operate,” but it’s expensive, tedious, and unsustainable.

What’s that? Do I have a solution?

But of course.

If they used colocation for their hosting needs, they wouldn’t have to worry about the cooling costs, as the data center is chilly to say the least. The temperature and humidity are digitally monitored at all times. The internet service? You can stop paying for that expensive trunk, and just use the colo center’s tier one internet.

Oh, and you can stop worrying about power issues, too. Colocation centers have redundant power to ensure that even if the local grid goes down, your server doesn’t. You don’t even need to worry about whether other servers are crowding your space. You can request to have yours sequestered to give you room to grow. Something you shouldn’t have trouble doing with all that money you’re saving.