The advantages of colocation

20 December 2019

Globally, the demand for colocation services from small and medium-sized companies is growing rapidly in recent years. According to recent statistics, the colocation services market will grow from $ 13 billion in 2018 to over $ 90 billion in 2024.

Colocation means renting space from a data center solution provider to host your own equipment. When we talk about equipment, we refer primarily to servers, but also to network equipment (switches, routers), storage equipment (NAS, SANs, etc.).

What are the advantages of colocation? Why would a company or even a person choose to use these services, instead of hosting the servers at headquarters or at home?

First of all, it is about reducing the costs associated with infrastructure investments. In order to be able to host in minimum (not ideal) conditions a server that claims to be 24/7 online, you need:

– UPS to prevent power outages  (which can lead to server reboot, which can further cause data loss)

– power generator, in case of longer power outages

– air conditioner for cooling

– redundant internet connections, which is a desideratum in most cases, given that ensuring redundancy for a /24 prefix involves the allocation of this prefix by a LIR (with other costs) and a minimum of 2 internet providers, a router that make the BGP announcement etc

– last but not least, a space in which to keep the above equipment, which can hardly be kept in the same office where we work, primarily due to the noise

Using the colocation service, all these expenses will be eliminated, paying in return a monthly subscription to the service provider.

Minimizing downtime by ensuring redundancy is a significant advantage of colocation. Data centers have implemented technical measures to ensure the continuity of operation of all key elements that ensure the proper functioning of a server. I am of course referring to the power, cooling and internet connectivity.

The supply of electricity to the servers is mandatory through one or more UPS, which in turn are supplied from the distribution network and can be supplied in case of a failure from one or more electric generators.

Cooling is redundant, through N + 1, N + 2 cooling systems, etc. This means that more cooling equipment is available than is necessary to evacuate the heat produced by the servers, the additional ones coming into operation in the event of a fault.

Internet connection redundancy is not just about having multiple connections, but announcing a set of IP addresses (called prefixes) through all available connections. If at home or at the office we can browse the Internet without problems from one connection or another, in the case of web services (a website for example), we need to always have the same IP address available online. This often means that the data center service provider has its own IP addresses that are advertised on the Internet redundantly by at least two providers.

For small and medium-sized companies, an advantage to consider is the scalability and flexibility of the service. If the need for internet bandwidth increases, the data center has enough capacity to cover these needs. If you need to place more servers, you will find available rack space, with the advantage of being able to connect all the organization’s servers in a private broadband network.

The service provider can provide you with additional IP addresses, if needed, can provide you with server maintenance and administration services, if your organization does not have specialists.

The technical support available 24/7 is a significant advantage that comes with the colocation service. In case of a problem related to the proper functioning of a server or service, the technical support team can support you both with “remote hands” and through effective intervention in the server operating system, if you have contracted with data center such services. In such moments of “panic” when the services no longer work, it is good to have a team of specialists at hand, who will provide you with experience and skills to restore your services in good working order.

In conclusion, the use of server colocation services allows you to focus your efforts on the main purpose of the business, without wasting your time and energy with a lot of technical problems that you are often unfamiliar with. It is about the specialization of work, efficiency, and money saving.

If you are not convinced and you need additional details about what the colocation service means and its benefits, our team is ready to help.