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What is Colocation and should you use it?

When building a website, there are countless ways you could go about it, and hundreds of website hosting providers to choose between. This can make it quite tricky to decide which option is the best for you, and when you bring in the issue of virtual servers and colocation, it’s hard to distinguish actually which options you should choose between.

General Dec 10, 20 by Nisal N 8 min Read
What is Colocation and should you use it?

Colocation is handy for more businesses and allows you to outsource server management and control, making it advantageous if you are not necessarily experienced in the hardware side of running a server.

However, colocation also has its disadvantages and wouldn't be suitable for some people. For example, there is no point looking into colocation if all you want to do is create a blog or a website for your small business!

So, in this article, we’ll explore collocation and find out exactly what it is, how it works, and why you might need it. We hope this article helps you!

What is colocation?

When you’re building a large business website to host a heavy site with web applications, let’s say a large social networking website, you’ll need a hefty server computer to handle all the millions of requests you’ll be served on a daily basis.

A server needs all the right hardware, functioning systems, a lot of maintenance and care, a consistent and safe power supply to operate stably.

For many businesses who are considering to host their websites on a server computer in their office, is impractical. Luckily, there is a better way to run your server and keep it maintained without having space, equipment, or expertise to manage your own hardware. It’s called collocation!

Colocation is effective where you have your own private server for your website, but it is not kept in your house or office like you traditionally would. Instead, it is stored, run, and maintained in a separate, large data center operated by some large corporation.

Instead of running your website on one of their servers, you’re simply migrating your physical hardware to a data center, where all the maintenance and everything else will be completely taken care of for you! Colocation is like being the owner of a dedicated server

What are the benefits of colocation?

Datacenter is responsible for the server

The business controlling the data center where your server computer and hardware is stored are responsible for it, not you! This can have many benefits for businesses who want to operate large websites or big servers for intensive applications but do not have the practical means to manage the physical server themselves!

The datacenter is responsible for ensuring your server computer runs properly.

These facilities are specially built and engineered to support such hardware and server computers. They are fixed with multiple electricity supplies and a variety of backup generators so that if there is a power cut in any or all of the lines, there will still be a consistent supply of electricity to keep the servers running until the lights are back on!

Reduced downtime

Since the data centers are equipped with various personnel that is experienced and equipped to deal with server crashes, maintenance, and up keeping, you’ll have massively reduced downtime and issues when you co-locate your server computer to a dedicated facility. Furthermore, this will save you a lot of headaches and money because you don’t need to pay an engineer to fix the server in your office or attempt it yourself!

Increased reliability

Server computers that have been co-located to data centers are also a lot more reliable than if you were to keep your server in your office building. This is not only due to the reasons mentioned above, but also because data centers are designed to have hardware that will allow your server to run faster and at an optimum condition.

The storage area for your server computer will be properly maintained and cooled to prevent the server from overheating when it’s processing lots of heavy requests.

Increased safety measures

Furthermore, when you co-locate your server computer to a data center, it will also be way safer than if you were to keep it in your office building.

Data centers where such privately owned and operated computers are held have very tight and enforced security, which reduces the vulnerability of your server computer and ensures that both physical and cyber threats are quickly and easily dealt with - almost always with very minimal input on your end, or even just fully autonomously.

Higher control over the server

Finally, the benefit of co-locating your server computer to a dedicated data center is that you’ll have way more control of the hardware and software, and increased access to lots more bandwidth.

Contrary to what you might expect when co-locating your server computer from your office building to a facility, you will actually gain control and flexibility because these data centers are built for making immediate and safe changes to systems, and you won’t have to go digging around in your server cupboard trying to make the changes.

Increased bandwidth

There are expert employees on hand. With the substantially increased bandwidth access, too, you’ll be able to achieve way better internet speeds and deal with lots more requests at a higher rate!

The best part about this is that you typically end up paying a significantly lower cost for this extra bandwidth than you’d end up paying if you kept the physical hardware in your office building’s server cupboard.

Before migrating data to a colocation facility note the following:

  • It is a shared facility where companies share the cost of power, cooling, communication and data center floor space with other tenants.
  • It is best for users who needs to have full control over their equipment.
  • Instead of building a new data center, you can use the colocation facilities.
  • Higher bandwidth.
  • Reliability is at the top with numerous backups and protection against power outages.
  • Physical security at its highest with CCTV monitoring, fire detection, suppression systems and more.

Colocation vs Public cloud

While both colocation and public cloud provides businesses to run workloads in a remote data center, there are some major differences between the two.

With colocation services, the tenants will need to provide their own hardware like servers, storage devices and other physical devices. The colocation center will provide the physical data center space with the needed power, cooling and network bandwidth.

When it comes to cloud providers, the tenants run all their workload on the cloud provider’s hardware. The tenant will not need to have any physical devices and will be charged by the cloud service provider for the computational power, storage, network and other resources used.

Public clouds are the preferred option for organizations that want consumption-based pricing and that would prefer not to have to purchase or maintain server hardware.

Colocation facilities are geared toward organizations that want to run workloads on their own hardware but in a remote data center.

Conclusion

So, how can you co-locate your server computers to a specialized facility? Well, it’s quite a simple process and in the long run will probably end up saving you a lot of money, which you can use for other important purchases.

You need to find a local data center that can host and maintain your server and ensure that it is cared for. These data centers do have fees, but like mentioned, it tends to be cheaper than holding the hardware yourself and employing someone to manage it. There are various data centers in every country that can provide a range of options to fulfil your requirements.

In this article, we covered co-location and explored what exactly it is. We then explained why it is so beneficial to co-locate your server with a dedicated facility, and we gave some guidance on how to perform this process. We hope this article helped you!

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Nisal N

Computers has always fascinated me since I was a kid and here we are. I love travelling for 2 reasons: the first one to see a new part of the world and second (the most important one) to experience the rich culture hidden among the country and people. I'm pretty good at cooking but very poor when it comes to baking.

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