Enterprises or organizations who have an established server infrastructure that are looking to offload the management and hosting of that hardware and software to a dedicated hosting environment often turn to collocation as the solution. Colocation (also colo, or collocation) is a term used for locating a company’s owned hardware in a datacenter. By colocating hardware, a company can eliminate the (high) cost of operating its own datacenter, while also saving fees on equipment leased direct from the datacenter.
The ability to show cost savings may initially seem like the top advantage for collocation however in the end, there are other advantages to colocating. To be more accurate, while some cost savings perhaps could be demonstrated through freeing up storage space in a single office (or from consolidating disparate resources from a variety of office locations), the true cost “savings” arrive when you calculate the expenses required to set up a hosting environment comparable to those of most world-class hosts.
The first differentiator that the best hosting facilities offer is in the area of network access. The top providers offer redundant high-speed connections – often from multiple network carriers – and are often located in ideal geographic locations that ensure optimal network reliability and throughput. The expense required to supply comparable network access to your server infrastructure would probably dwarf most organization’s network expenditures, giving collocation facilities an immediate advantage. In terms of physical facilities, datacenters also typically offer advanced fire protection systems and security systems (up to and including biometric authentication and authorization processes). The investments these companies have made in infrastructure would be daunting to most businesses also extend to physical infrastructure as well, which includes things like power and air conditioning. Datacenters offer a higher density in terms of power per sq ft, however also provide redundancy for that power through industrial grade UPS systems and massive backup generators. World-class hosting facilities include failover even on the backup generators – something very few businesses would choose to purchase and maintain. A growing number of hosting providers are also moving to a “green” hosting model, which may relies on alternative energy such as solar or wind energy, as well as more energy efficient power and cooling throughout the facility.
The decision to self-host, transition all computing to another host, or collocate is a difficult one and something to be carefully considered before reaching a acting. Colocation offers the best of both worlds for many as it allows a business to retain hardware and software configuration they are familiar with, while adding world-class hosting infrastructure and capabilities.