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Colocation defined in laymen terms – the perfect solution for housing a server in a secure facility.
In the olden days of computing, in-house IT operations were the norm, even for small businesses. Yet due to rising utility costs and the economies of scale, it is no longer cost effective to house your own servers. There’s a simple solution however; It’s called colocation.
Most SMBs (small to medium sized businesses) can no longer afford to employ a full scale IT department. As such, they often look to a colocation provider as a hosting solution for their IT needs.
The term colocation has many different definitions, but for the purposes of this description, colocation simply means you send us your server and we install it safely within our data centers. Dedicated hosting for websites is also another task colocation facilities handle as companies need access to high speed bandwidth, quality backup and data storage.
Furthermore, colocation factilities are redundant. Meaning, they are properly equipped with secondary power options, storage options etc in the event of a power outage. This provides the customer with a fails safe, much more than a typical in-house IT operation can offer.
While colocation does cost more than simple web-hosting it is still a good idea if your business plans on uploading and downloading larger files to a dedicated server. Bandwidth charges are typically lower with colocation and a reputable provider will work with you on pricing plans so you can scale to suit the needs of your business.
Colocation for small businesses
Colocation is a hosting solution that is typically adopted by small businesses who desire the functions of a full scale IT department but without the high price tag. Although colocation is most suitable for small businesses, clients may range from individuals or large enterprises, depending on what tasks are needed to be accomplished. The most typical task that is used for colocation is dedicated hosting for websites that require high quality bandwidth and storage options.
This is different from dedicated server hosting however. Companies will have preconfigured their website on their server and then send it over to a colocation provider to host in their data center, providing IP addresses, bandwidth, power, security, and support for your server.
Under colocation, all of the hardware is owned and managed by you, but you pay for the optimal running conditions that colocation services provide.
While colocaton does cost more than the standard web hosting, it is a cheaper alternative than purchasing bandwidth for your business. Also, web hosting is just one of the many options that colocation is used for, and in almost every other situation, the client is saving a significant amount of money by using colocation. It is very common for companies to save on administrative, power, bandwidth, maintenance, and technical costs, simply by using colocation. Besides saving money on particular endeavors, there are a number of advantages, as well as disadvantages, that will be detailed to provide a holistic and clear picture about colocation. Let’s start off with the advantages:
Advantages of Colocation
The advantages of colocation are numerous in terms of management options. Standard colocation gives the owner full access to server hardware and allows companies to configure settings as they see fit. Most of the time companies just send us their server, we set it up safely in our facility and they manage it themselves. Some folks prefer to have total control over their collocated server, which is perfect for knowledgeable individuals who know exactly what they need from a colocation provider. But what if you need more assistance managing your server? No worries because more options do exist.
Exceptional security: because colocation services are run through data centers, servers being hosted under colocation have the highest security options available to them. Because these data centers are built specifically for these purposes, the server is stored in a secure environment with security staff present. Can you imagine running a multimillion dollar website from your building and then the server box gets compromised or intruded? Unfortunate events like that won’t ever happen when hosted in a data center from a colocation provider.
Excellent uptime: colocation facilities will have maintained outage protection incase anything happens, to make sure the server is up and running as much as possible. Different providers will have different values of uptime, but for the industry leaders you are looking at a solid 99%+ of uptime. Compared to running a server at a traditional office building, this can not be understated. Colocation facilities invest a lot in back power and power generators to prevent outages.
Location and Remote Acccess: Hosting a server through a colocation provider means that if you are moving your business to another city or even another state, the server can still remain up and running, and maintained through remote access.
Disadvantages of Colocation:
Price: If you are seeking colocation services to host a small website or blog, the cost may outweigh the benefits you gain. For most situations, colocation services will actually save money, but if the task at hand is too small in scope, the cost may not be worth it:
Although having the server in an optimal location is mostly a benefit, sometimes you may want to go physically alter your server. This is not a problem if you choose a colocation provider that is within travelling location, but if you don’t have any local options for colocation then it can be inconvenient to physically access your server.
Location: If you live far away from large cities with the best colocation facilities, you may have to settle for lower quality colocation. Colocation prices vary from location to location, so if your company operates in an area with weaker technology and/or corporate infrastructure, prices will be higher.
Should you get colocation?
Everyone except for small websites and blogs will benefit greatly from acquiring colocation services. With the increase of businesses adapting to the internet and integrating IT infrastructures into their business model, colocation demand has seen steady and significant gains over the past few years. People continue to realize that colocation is the best option for both cost-efficiency and performance.