Four Reasons Your Servers Belong In a Colocation Facility
Renting space and bandwidth from a colocation facility can be more cost effective and offer greater reliability than storing and provisioning your servers "for free" at your small or midsize business
If your public-facing Web server or e-mail server is somewhere in your office, you might consider moving it, and some of your other servers, to a colocation facility. In most cases, in my experience, the best place for smaller and midsize companies to locate their Internet server is outside the company -- in a dedicated facility that offers a more server-friendly environment than a rack in a back room of your office.
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I'm not talking here about "shared hosting" services where you place your Web site an Internet service provider for something like $25 or $50 per month. No, I'm suggesting that many of your servers that you own (purchased from companies like HP or Dell), loaded up with software you're written and licensed, would do better if you take them out of your office, and drive them over to a colocation facility.
A colocation facility is, essentially, a modern data center, similar to what a large enterprise would have -- except that it rents out space in its racks to customers, who are referred to as tenants. After you rent space, you install your own servers, switches, and other hardware onto those racks, going there in person to do installations and maintenance. As part of your rent, the colo (pronounced "coe-low") provides power, heating, cooling, and Internet connectivity.
You may find renting space and bandwidth from a colo to be more cost effective and offer greater reliability than storing and provisioning your servers "for free" at your business office.
Four Big Reasons Why should you pay a colocation facility to store and provision your servers? Here are the top four reasons.
- 1. Design: Colocation facilities are purpose-built facilities with well-designed power, heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC). With their backup electrical generators and HVAC facilities, they probably can keep your servers powered up and cooled down better than you can. (That's especially true if your office building loses power a lot, or if it doesn't have really good central air conditioning 24x7.)
- 2. Bandwith: Colos have massive bandwidth. I know too many companies that spend a fortune running T-1, DSL or even cable modem lines into their offices, mainly to feed a hungry Web server. By contrast, many colos have redundant T-3 lines, which means that not only can they feed servers with more bandwidth than you can, the redundancy offers great uptimes. Considering that colos buy bandwidth in bulk, it's possible that you're spending more money feeding your servers with redundant broadband in your office than the colo would charge for their whole package. Note: Before going to a colo, you should monitor your actual bandwidth use for at least 60 days, so you'll know whether you need half a megabit, 5 megabits or 5 gigabits per month.