The modern server and infrastructure hosting space presents endless options for businesses to negotiate. From dedicated servers, to cloud servers, to platform-as-a-service, to on-premises solutions — and all their marketing-driven disguises. Each has advantages and disadvantages, and no single infrastructure hosting solution fits every need.
There is, however, one option flexible enough to used by companies ranging from the smallest to the largest with an enormous diversity of requirements. Colocation is chosen by businesses that care deeply about having complete control over their servers without compromising on availability, performance, and security.
Colocation is the hosting of client-owned hardware in a data center owned by a third-party: the data center provider. Colocation contrasts to other forms of hosting in that the client owns the servers — the data center provides power, bandwidth, and rack space for the servers, but the management of hardware and the software it runs is in the hands of its owners.
Colocation is quite different to most other forms of infrastructure hosting. With dedicated server hosting, cloud hosting, or shared hosting, the vendor owns and manages the servers. They choose the configuration of individual servers, and clients have little insight into the precise configuration or its capabilities.
Colocation provides a greater degree of freedom and flexibility. The client can choose exactly how their servers are configured and to what specifications. The software used — from the operating system to libraries and applications — is entirely under the control of the server’s owners.
Colocation empowers clients to build servers and server clusters to suit their particular needs. They can deploy any combination of database servers, web servers, number crunching servers, development and staging servers. The colocation provider has no insight into or control over the nature of the servers or what runs on them.
With colocation, you have total control over your server hardware.
So what does a colocation provider offer? It depends on the provider and the data center, but the best colocation providers offer:
- Multiply redundant bandwidth from a range of bandwidth providers
- Redundant power over enterprise-grade UPSs backed by generators
- A secure location
- Remote hands support if required
It’s the data center’s job to make sure your server is reliably and consistently supplied with the power, bandwidth, and other resources it needs.
Who Uses Colocation?
Colocation is typically used by companies that need a more flexible infrastructure hosting environment than dedicated servers can provide and as an alternative to an on-premises data center.
Companies of all sizes use colocation, from small businesses with one or two servers to the largest enterprises with many hundreds or more servers. With colocation, you pay for space in a data center; it doesn’t matter to the colocation provider whether they’re housing a low-powered server for a blog, or hundred of servers for a university, cloud provider, or corporation.
Colocation For Focus
Almost every American company uses servers and network infrastructure, but it’s fair to say that few companies have the expertise to build world-class data centers.
Businesses should focus on their core business goals, and for most businesses, building data centers is not an optimal use of capital resources. Outsourcing server hosting to a colocation provider gives businesses the flexibility and control they’re accustomed to with on-premise data centers, while relieving of them of the distracting and expensive task of building and maintaining a modern data center.
Many companies for whom hosting and server management are a core part of their business also choose to use colocation because it allows them to focus their energies on providing excellent customer service. The majority of web and server hosting companies — and cloud providers — don’t own or manage a data center. They leave it to the experts.
Colocation For Cost Saving
Building a world-class data center is a massive capital investment. If you’re a Google or Facebook, it makes economic sense to invest capital in vital infrastructure, but for smaller companies, the best option is to colocate because colocation brings all the reliability and availability of a world-class data center at a lower cost.
Colocation providers benefit from economies of scale that aren’t available to most individual companies, spreading the cost of building a high-performing, multiply redundant hosting environment between many different clients. Most single-user data centers simply can’t compete on cost with multi-user colocation data centers.
Colocation For Business Continuity
Businesses that rely on a single owned data center site are at risk if a natural or man-made disaster strikes. An effective business continuity and disaster management plan mandates that a company has redundant infrastructure and services available in multiple locations.
Colocation offers businesses the opportunity to spread risk across multiple sites, significantly reducing the likelihood that a failure at any one site could prove harmful to continuing operations.
Colocation For Scaling
Colocation providers can support clients with needs that range from a single server to multiple servers within a rack, multiple racks, and upwards.
Companies with on-premises data centers have a problem common to all infrastructure users: do they build for the future and risk a wasted investment in under-utilized hardware. Or do they build for the present and suffer the consequences of being unable to scale quickly.
Colocation solves the problem, giving businesses the ability to deploy servers into existing locations as and when the additional capacity is required. Hardware investments can be made in-line with growth.
Colocation For Security
Colocation providers are extremely careful where security is concerned. Their facilities host tens or hundreds of millions of dollars of hardware, not to mention huge quantities of sensitive data.
High-quality colocation providers like Cyber Wurx offer unparalleled security for their clients’ hardware assets and data. Clients can expect round-the-clock physical and electronic security, biometric authentication, and rigorous access controls.
Colocation is the most flexible infrastructure hosting solution for businesses that demand control over their servers and optimal availability, security, and flexibility for their services and data.