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What is Colocation?.

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Posted by Jackie Edwards - 26 December, 2019

Power, cooling, property taxes, hardware, software, staffing — these are just some of the expenses involved with operating an on-premises data center. It’s no wonder businesses worldwide are looking to conserve capital by shifting some of their production workloads to the cloud.

However, the cloud isn’t always the best choice. Most organizations have some workloads they’d like to keep on privately owned systems for security reasons.

Colocation provides an essential middle ground.

Colocation, or colo, is the practice of renting space for your servers, storage and other computing hardware in a third-party provider’s data center. Colo services include all the power, cooling and physical security you need, as well as established connections to a variety of telecommunications and network service providers at low cost.

Here are eight key benefits of colocation services:

Improved connectivity: The hosting provider will offer enterprise-grade bandwidth with the option to contract with additional providers for redundant connectivity. According to an IDC survey, 45 percent of companies that choose colocation cite additional bandwidth as a key driver.

Reliable power: Losing power for even a fraction of a second can trigger events that result in downtime or lost data. Colocation data centers have N+1 redundancy, also called parallel redundancy, which means there are uninterruptible power supply (UPS) systems is in place to make sure that your servers will stay online.

Advanced climate control: Colo facilities have advanced cooling systems such as liquid- and air-cooling and aisle containment that help prevent servers from overheating. There will also be there will be industrial-grade ventilation systems to ensure proper air exchange. Server racks are specifically designed to allow unrestricted airflow around the equipment.

Physical security: Most data centers employ security professionals who monitor the premises around the clock. The facility will have other physical security measures, including video surveillance, outdoor lighting, fences and other barriers, locks and alarm sensors, and access controls such as smart card readers and biometric scanners.

Redundant infrastructure: In addition to backup power supplies, colocation facilities usually feature a range of redundant components such as operating systems, processors, disks, controllers, cooling systems, fans and more to ensure resilience and high availability.

Consistent monitoring: Providers often monitor for power usage, data traffic, device performance and more, generating email alerts if necessary. They will also monitor IT assets as well as electrical, mechanical and environment systems.

Regulatory compliance: Data center facilities are subject to a variety of requirements for ensuring the security and privacy of their clients’ data. Providers should be able to demonstrate they comply with key standards regarding the use of proper controls, processes and procedures.

Support services: There are times when your systems will require hands-on services. Providers frequently offer “remote hands” services for basic tasks such as rebooting a server, reconnecting cables or responding to alerts, along with “smart hands” services for more complex tasks such as server provisioning, configuration changes and circuit testing.

The market for colocation services is expected to grow steadily over the next five years as organizations look for ways to reduce their data center footprint. According to Deloitte Consulting, it costs between $10 million and $25 million annually to operate a large data center. Colocation services eliminate a great deal of the capital expense involved in building and maintaining a data center, while providing a secure, stable and scalable environment for your essential IT infrastructure.

Topics: cybersecurity, data center, colocation


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