Colocation is one of the options for hosting offered at Atlantic. With colocation, you get space and bandwidth. Essentially, you are taking advantage of the expertise of a hosting company for providing the right type of physical environment for your hardware and its abilities to properly and effectively feed you onto the web.
The only thing that is different about colocation is that you are providing your own equipment. With any other type of hosting – dedicated, shared, VPS (virtual private server), cloud, whatever – you use equipment provided by the hosting company. Oftentimes, people like to be in control of the equipment. For one thing, they think of it as an investment. Additionally, they like to be able to customize each part if they want – to “build” the server like a custom car.
Along with having to go out and figure out what type of equipment you want, colocation also has the challenge of not being managed to the same degree as with other hosting solutions. With colocation, the equipment is all yours, so depending on the colocation facility you use, you may have to handle certain aspects of its maintenance. Of course, the climate control of the room, disaster recovery, etc., are still handled by the host.
As you can see, colocation is complicated, but it is a very popular choice, especially for companies with a growing number of servers. Let’s look at a number of different reasons why companies choose colocation so we can better understand this hosting option. I will review some ideas from the “young entrepreneur network” EntreRev and provide some thoughts of my own.
One reason to choose colocation, suggested by EntreRev, is 24/7 tech support. That sounds strange if comparing it to other hosting solutions with the same feature, but EntreRev is contrasting colocation to keeping your own server or servers in-house, as many small businesses do. EntreRev also notes the level of skill at a colocation center (and keep in mind, many hosting companies also function as colocation facilities – there’s a lot of crossover).
That skill level is an important point. If you hire an IT person or use an independent contractor, chances are they will not have the same server and data center expertise. IT is a massive field, so you want specialization. The tech professionals at data centers specialize in setting up equipment and maintaining it.
The infrastructure within a colocation facility that is “purpose-built” – built specifically with that usage in mind – is completely designed for all the needs of a tech environment. Furthermore, a quality colocation center or web host is thoroughly focused on redundancies. That means you don’t just get bandwidth, but you also won’t go through periods of time when you’re blocked from using it (downtime). In other words, the network is highly reliable because many checks and balances are in place.
EntreRev says that space is one of the largest initial factors that SMB faces with its technology. You can’t keep adding servers into a closet, because you eventually run out of space. Get a little bigger, and the same becomes true of a room. Turn to the idea of building a data center, and it’s unclear how large to make it. Do you make it triple the size you need currently, and leave a large part of it empty? Even if you can afford the upfront expense, size immediately becomes confusing. With colocation, rent the amount of area you need and bump it up as you go.
You will experience strength in numbers at a data center. That means that not only will you get your IT servicing for less and your space for less, but you will also be consuming energy with many other businesses. It’s been proven time and time again that a purpose-built data center excels in energy efficiency, reducing all clients’ power bills. That makes your business greener. You save money, but you also have all the benefits of environmental friendliness (such as use for marketing, etc.).
Again regarding strength in numbers, the rates for bandwidth and energy are reduced for bulk buyers such as a colocation facility. Massive amounts of each of these elements are negotiated by a savvy colocation center, and some of those savings are passed on to clients.
You will have multiple carriers to choose from, which enhances competition. This also get you better prices on bandwidth. If you have a problem with one carrier, you can switch to another. If there are outages with the carrier, jump ship immediately: that functionality is integrated into an adept colocation center. For example, at Atlantic, we automatically switch you over if one of the carriers goes down.
Colocation is not for everyone. If you feel you are ready to go out, get the equipment, and have more of the technical responsibility for your servers yourself, this option may be right for you. At Atlantic, we are proud of our Colocation services. We have worked hard to make them as or more sophisticated and reliable than our competitors, at an affordable price. To see what we have to offer, click here.
By Kent Roberts