Colo who? Yeah, I’ve heard a lot of people say that when they first hear the term – including me! Colocation simply means that you are farming out your servers to another location. This means that you are effectively renting space and paying for services from another company. Now, why in the world would someone want to do this? Well, the biggest reason is cost. Data centers can cost enormous amounts of money to set up and maintain. Colocation service companies are using the economies of scale. They offer space to many companies and can then offer top of the line services for a very reasonable space.
Okay, so how does this differ from, say dedicated servers? Well, the biggest way it differs is in the fact that dedicated servers are owned by the hosting company. With colocation, you, the company, give a server to that company to house. You still have to provide the expertise to get that server running and configured right. But the colocation service company can provide power, backups, redundant power supplies, super fast bandwidth, etc. Now, having given some of the things colocation providers can give you, let’s talk about some things you need to think about. This is a starting list, not exhaustive:
- Bandwidth – you need to pay close attention to what they will be charging you. Sometimes the way that they calculate bandwidth cost can be very confusing. It can sometimes be easier just to go to unmetered and pay a flat rate.
- IP addresses – how many will they provide and what is the cost associated with it?
- Security – ask the company about physical security of their site and also network security. What measures and audits do they have in place to safeguard your data?
- Backup & Redundancy – what does your potential provider have in place to ensure that your servers are unavailable? And do they provide backup?
Well, that gets us at least started on the subject. Feel free to comment and give input.