A colocation is a facility, which includes the physical building structure, cooling system, the required power, the bandwidth and even physical security, where businesses can rent a space for servers and other hardware. The space is often leased or rented by the rack, or by cabinet, cage or room.

Colocation hosting is basically a hosting service that uses or provides a colocation facility. This means, whether the owned or rented the hardware, you are renting a space in a data center facility for your internet connectivity and networking needs. In colocation hosting, servers are mounted in racks which are installed in a structure where a huge amount of Internet connectivity can be found. The space that is for lease is measured in Rack Units or U which is actually an measurement used to define vertical space used. One U is equivalent to 4.45 cm or 1.75 inches. Usually, a rack contains 40 to 42Us.

What good do I get from colocation?

Having to rent or lease a space in a colocation facility brings a lot of advantages. One major advantage is the savings in cost that should be incurred in putting up a hosting business. This is one of the reasons why a lot of companies, especially small businesses are turning their attention towards colocation as it makes them able to compete with the features of large IT departments without the need to spend much for capital investment. Other benefits of colocation include:

  • Lesser overhead cost since you do not need to buy the server hardware and bigger saving on the hosting costs.
  • Greater flexibility.
  • Better connectivity assured by its fully redundant network connection.
  • Better Security, both physical security and network security.
  • Better uptime guarantee with its redundant power supply.
  • More room for growth at a lesser cost since you only need to rent more space rather than buy the necessary hardware.
  • Higher scalability.
  • Owners have more control over the web server administration.
  • It allows the use of existing hardware.
  • You have the option to choose the hardware as well as its configuration.
  • Adding components to your server costs less.
  • You do not need to worry about regional disasters as your server is located in a remote location.

What are the common drawbacks of collocation?

Like other packages and hosting solutions, colocation has its own share of drawbacks and disadvantages. Among them are:

  • If you don’t own any of the necessary hardware, you may need to purchase all the hardware you need which translates into high overhead cost.
  • You may need to upgrade your hardware periodically to prevent it from becoming outdated.
  • The Web Server Administration is your sole responsibility.
  • You must have a background and knowledge in operating the software that is in your system.
  • You must have a technical know-how about the hardware that is used to run your software.
  • You need to fix and troubleshoot hardware as well as software problems yourself.
  • You must maintain the server or servers yourself.

What are the costs involved in colocation and how much is it?

Colocation hosting involves paying the rental fees which is the payment for locating your hardware or server in their data center and the Connection fees. Connection fees are fees associated with average data connection per month. A 1MB monthly average connection means that you can use an average of 1MB of transfer per second for the whole month.

Rack Space rental usually costs $30 per month for a single rack space while a full rack which usually contains 40 net rack spaces costs about $735 per month. This amount does not include charges for the bandwidth and other management charges.

What should I look for in a colocation provider?

1. To find a good colocation provider, first you need to asses you own needs such as:

  • How often do you need to access your equipment?
  • Where do you want to collocate?
  • How much space and bandwidth do you need?
  • Do you have any preference between cages, cabinets or rooms?

2. Then, look for colocation providers that should be able to answer and provide you with your needs.
3. Compare their prices and the packages they offer.
4. Major areas of concern are:

  • Site security;
  • Cooling System;
  • Power infrastructure; and
  • Bandwidth