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What is Colocation, and how does it work?

Published 11th November 2020

Colocation is the process of renting server space at a third party’s data centre facility. Colocation essentially refers to putting servers owned by the client in a data centre, so as to benefit from their specialist environment. 

What is a Colocation Data Centre?

A colocation facility, or data centre, provides rack space to organisations and businesses for their servers, network equipment and more. Often, organisations do not have the resources or facilities to accommodate their in-house server hardware or equipment. This is where a data centre colocation facility can be a tremendous asset to an organisation.

 

How Does Colocation Work?

Data centre operators, such as Amito, provide the physical facilities, space, power, security and network connectivity for organisations that want to ‘colocate’ their servers. The facility will provide:

  • Physical security

    An on-site security team, constant surveillance and biometric access control are just some of the things that colocation hosting companies can offer.

  • Persistent power

    Either with backup generators and uninterruptible power sources, colocation data centres can ensure complete business continuity.

  • Enterprise-grade cooling

    Hardware is constantly protected through high-quality, reliable cooling systems, that help to regulate the temperature of equipment.

  • Remote hands support

    If remote hands assistance is required, data centre personnel can ensure their services remain uninterrupted and any emergencies are proactively dealt with, without compromising on the data.

  • Connectivity

     Data centre locations are often part of an extended network, which utilise dark fibre connectivity. Dark fibre is not exclusively used; centres can use MPLS, pseudowires and other types of robust connectivity. 

Your organisation can retain control and ownership of your server hardware and software, but the provider will handle all of the above, and maintain the environment that your server sits in. The only thing you are responsible for is the server and its physical maintenance, as colocation providers do not touch the servers itself. 

A colocation provider does not interfere with the physical server itself, unless a customer requires direct assistance. This is what’s commonly known as ‘remote hands’ or ‘intelligent hands’, and this is also a frequent unique selling point for organisations who may require hands-on, regular server administration. 

Colocation provides numerous benefits to an organisation, with some of the key features being scalability and flexibility. For example, Amito offer incredible versatility with the server racks for organisations to rent.

The types of server racks that are available within a data centre can include:

  • Full racks – these can accommodate 4-7 kilowatts of physical server hardware.
  • Fractional racks – these could be half racks or quarter racks, maintaining high levels of security and resilience.
  • Cages – customised and tailored to accommodate specific needs.

 

Cloud Computing vs. Colocation

There are some incorrect assumptions that cloud management services and colocation services are one and the same. The reality is very different; cloud technology solutions differ from colocation, although you will find providers that can offer both as separate solutions, or provide a hybrid, tailored solution for their customers.

Think of colocation as operating your company-owned software and hardware from a high-performance space outside of your organisation.

With cloud hosting, you rent the equipment, space and manpower to manage it and keep it running. There is rarely any upfront capital investment required for this, only the ongoing maintenance and upkeep of your cloud infrastructure. However, colocation is a more flexible solution, given that organisations only rent the space for all of their assets, rather than rent the asset itself, which has its own limitations. Whereas with colocation facilities, you’re only limited on the physical space with which to store your equipment.

 

Why Colocation?

If you’re in the process of expanding and growing your business, then using data centres to store your physical server infrastructure can free up your time to focus on those more productive tasks. It’s important to understand how the provider controls access to the infrastructure. So if you are intent on moving your facilities into a server rack, in an excellent, well-maintained facility with expert remote hands technicians available, and enterprise-grade network connectivity, consider Amito for your colocation needs.

Two potential concerns that organisations may have over moving their infrastructure out of their premises are: 

  1. Ease of access 
  2. Relinquishing control 

However, a colocation facility correctly designed to provide quick and easy access, whilst maintaining security, can mitigate issues over emergency access. A responsive support team can lower the frequency of site visits that are required, often handling deliveries of replacement components and replacing failed hardware during conveniently-scheduled maintenance windows.

 

Choosing Colocation Service Providers

Colocation providers like Amito offer flexibility, versatility and practicality for you, based on your server requirements. If you are looking for robust security to protect your data, then it makes sense to consider colocation.

Ask your service provider the following questions:

  • How is your data centre maintained?
  • Do you offer remote hands assistance?
  • Do you host a variety of different business types?
  • What carriers do you have on-site?
  • What is your SLA for power and network resilience?

With a fantastic Tier-3 data centre with enterprise-grade amenities, Amito can provide colocation solutions that help your business continue with total peace of mind. Using Amito’s excellent, reliable data centre facilities, your organisation will be given an efficient, scalable solution, highly resilient network connectivity, and first class expert remote hands assistance.

Speak to us directly to find out more.

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