What is colocation?

Colocation can be cost-effective, but just what is it?

Datacentre

More and more organisations are looking to make their IT operations more cost effective, with colocation becoming a much sought-after choice. 

Colocation is where an organisation will rent out space within a datacentre in order to host that business's computing infrastructure. The customer organisation owns the hardware, software (and manages this), while the colocation provider offers a secure facility and network. 

An organisation will connect their own equipment to a provider's network, located in its facilities, rather than running the equipment in-house. An organisation can deploy any combination of application, database, web or devops servers. The colocation provider has no knowledge of control over the servers or what runs on them

This differs from dedicated server hosting, cloud hosting, or shared hosting, where a provider owns and manages servers. A customer would have very little input into how the server was configured.

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Instead, an organisation can decide on how their servers are configured and any hardware specifications. The owner of the server can choose what operating system and applications are installed on the hardware.

Colocation providers can offer customers the option to house their hardware in cabinets (a locking unit that holds a server), cages (a dedicated server space within a datacentre, surrounded by mesh partitions and only entered via a locking door), suites (areas enclosed by solid walls, entered via a locking door can have dedicated or shared power and cooling), and modules (which is effectively a datacentre within a datacentre providing engineered modules and standardised components).

Why collocate? What are the benefits?

There are many reasons why an organisation would benefit from using a colocation facility. 

Cost Building a datacentre is a massive capital investment. Having a server in a colocation facility is generally lower than hosting it in-house. Management costs tend to be lower as there is less likelihood of hardware failure due to overheating in a poorly cooled area or power outages.

Security A colocation facility will offer features such as access control, video monitoring and backup power. 

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Business continuity - Putting equipment in a facility should mean that an organisation benefits from reliable, uninterrupted service. Colocation offers businesses the chance to deploy servers across multiple sites, diminishing the risk that failure at one site could lead to operations ceasing.

Scalability Having equipment offsite should give your organisation more bandwidth and power to expand rapidly if needs be. There is always a lot of bandwidth available within such facilities and these are available at a much lower price point than what is normally available to businesses. Also, adding is easy and more cost-effective than trying to expand an in-house datacentre.

Control While an organisation's equipment may be housed externally, it can still remain in control of it.

Compliance It is becoming increasing costly to provide compliant in-house datacentres. Using a colocation facility allows organisations to cost effectively maintain compliance with fast changing UK and EU regulations and standards.

Support Colocation facilities have support team available on a 24-hour basis to help customers. 

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