Data Centre Colocation
What is Co-location?
The expense and practicality of establishing a dedicated and purpose-built facility for housing a business’s central IT or Private Cloud infrastructure and data is prohibitive for small , mid-sized, and even many large companies. A viable solution is to use a Co-location centre. Co-location is basically a service which describes shared use of a Data centre (“co-locating”). Co-location gives customers a more flexible way to rent bandwidth and Data Centre space – commonly in the form of racks and suites. By “Co-locating” and renting a portion of a Data Centre’s space and utilities, the customer gains access to all the advantages of locating their equipment in a dedicated state-of-the-art facility, but shares the cost with other businesses. This makes it an excellent service option for businesses looking to ensure maximum uptime and security for their IT equipment or provide the basis for building their own Private or Hybrid Cloud application platform. Why buy a Co-location service and Co-locate in a Data Centre?
A facility dedicated to the task of supporting IT systems and providing high bandwidth connectivity is the best place to optimise performance and ROI of your server infrastructure. A properly managed Data Centre will provide enhanced security, air conditioning, humidity controls, back-up power via UPS and Generators – as well as extensive fire prevention and suppression systems. Introducing these types of services to your “comms room” would require hiring specialists to design such facilities’ at great expense – and ultimately with least flexibility for future-proofing. Co-locating in a Datacentre facility provides the quickest, simplest, and most cost-effective way of taking advantage of the benefits of a Datacentre – and ensures your company maximum flexibility to expand or contract as needs dictate.
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How is Co-location purchased?
Each facility may offer different types of services. However, the most common services and features are:
- Secure cages or rack cabinets
- DC and AC power options
- Network connections
- Climate control
- Real-time monitoring
- Staff (such as network engineers)
- Higher bandwidth at lower costs (providing bandwidth limits are not exceeded)
Essentially a business is renting space and resources in a Co-location facility. The business will retain ownership of their equipment and software housed in the facility, as well as its management. The Datacentres supply the means to house the equipment in a safe and secure location. The distinct advantage is the cost of maintaining the centre is shared by the businesses that choose to rent the space.
Finding conveniently located Co-location centres is a challenge. For businesses that have their own IT staff to maintain the equipment, travel time to and from the centre may be an issue. The geographic options are limited depending on the size of the city and the location of network hubs. Access may be limited depending on the centre’s service hours. If a business needs 24-hour access, it may be difficult to find a Co-location centre in a close proximity to the business.
Co-location is certainly less expensive than building your own Datacentre. However, it is significantly more expensive than using a Web hosting or Cloud server service. With Co-location, a business must continue to buy or lease the software and hardware. In addition, the business must supply the staff to run the equipment, or the business can pay an additional fee to have the centre to run and maintain the equipment to a pre-defined management level.
If the business relocates to a different area, travel time may increase or the business will have the arduous task of moving to another facility – but no less than moving an office comms room.
While a business will pay a set monthly fee, exceeding bandwidth may cause additional charges. If data traffic spikes, a business can incur excess bandwidth charges. This concept is similar to overage charges for cell phones. If the monthly minutes are exceeded, overage charges are incurred. The overage charges for exceeding bandwidth are quite high. It is important to determine the maximum amount of bandwidth that will be needed.
Finding and Selecting a Co-Location Provider
Where possible, it is best for a business to obtain recommendations from IT professionals or other businesses that use this type of service and have experience of co-locating with various providers. Datacentres will be listed in local directories and on the Internet. The ideal location will be within reasonable proximity of the business – however, this may not always be possible. The first step is to choose several possible Datacentres and Co-location providers. While location is important, it may not be as important as the price and service level.
Based on the requirements of the needs of the business, the Co-location Provider will provide a quotation for services. The cost of the services may include moving the equipment to the location or the business can choose to hire an equipment moving service.
To save money, a business should rent the least amount of space possible to cater for current demand. In the event of growth, the business can choose to upgrade to additional space at a later time. Before finalising a contract for services, it is important to pay particular attention to bandwidth overage charges and contract clauses that allow the provider to increase cost of utilities such as power. These charges can cause a monthly bill to sky rocket.
While Co-location is an affordable solution for many businesses, it may not be the ideal solution – particularly now that Cloud services and applications can be purchased “on-demand”. If Co-location is the best option then it is crucial to compare several services before choosing a data centre and Colocation provider. Why not use our Cloud Discovery Service and let Compare the Cloud find your perfect co-location provider…
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