chicago colocation

What is Colocation Hosting and How Does It Work?


Colocation hosting is a lower-cost server hosting strategy using a provider’s high-speed 24/7 internet services, excellent operational security, superior availability and long-term stability while using the customer’s current server inventory.

Typically, colocation hosting improves business operations, cuts capital costs and boosts the quality of service that customers experience.

Colocation takes the client’s existing server infrastructure and moves it from the customer’s on-premise deployment to the colocation provider’s datacenter.

From an organizational standpoint, the bottom-line benefits of colocation hosting are:

  • Offloading tremendously expensive network infrastructure management costs to specialized hosting experts
  • Leverage the colocation provider’s power contracts to drastically reduce energy costs
  • Access to a colocation provider’s multi-million dollar network

Colocation allows organizations to focus exclusively on managing their operations and improving their products while lowering their IT budget overhead, using servers that have already been purchased.

What is colocation?

Colocation is placing an organization’s physical server in a hosting company’s data center. The organization puts their server on the provider’s rack and uses the provider’s power and network connections.

The colocation hosting company provides the following services:

  • Physical security
  • High speed internet access
  • Uninterrupted power
  • Enterprise heating and cooling
  • Physical disaster mitigation

Colocation providers have in-depth knowledge about maintenance and resource provisioning for a variety of organizational needs. This specialized knowledge allows businesses to avoid costly investments in internet technology infrastructure.

Hiring IT experts, paying them commensurate salaries and simultaneously paying for expensive network hardware and an appropriately designed hosting facility is prohibitively expensive and time consuming for virtually every organization.

Knowledgeable, expert staff with significant experience in the hosting industry tend to data centers on a round-the-clock basis. Rather than paying a high premium for keeping their IT staff on-call, and trained in the latest methods and network technology, colocation offers businesses peace of mind and lowered operating costs compared to on-site IT operations.

For example – GigeNET’s expert engineers and service technicians typically have more than 5 years of direct data center experience – and are required to keep their knowledge and skills up-to-date with ongoing training and education.

To summarize – colocation means organizations side-step one of the expensive and risky elements required for any business in today’s world: hosting their information technology.

How does colocation work?

With colocation services, your organization purchases its own server hardware and software. The hosting provider handles the network, power and housing demands for maintaining the stringent environments that modern servers require.

Colocation providers do not actually touch the physical server unless customers purchase direct administration, typically called called remote hands is required.

You’re responsible for setting up and configuring your server to meet your organization’s needs, as well as managing the physical aspects (such as replacing an old server).

Organizations that utilize colocation require a fairly strong grasp of what they’ll do with their server, how they’ll do it and what hardware and software add-ons they’ll require to accomplish their hosting goals. Which is why most colocation customers are those who have picked up their current IT infrastructure out of the current on-premise environment and moved it to the colocation provider’s datacenter.

Since servers must be accessed remotely, the organization’s server is accessed and controlled via console.

Colocation offers geographic flexibility with the confidence that an expert staff has boots on the ground to manage physical issues at the data center in case of an emergency. The primary benefits are leveraging a data center’s power contracts and bandwidth capabilities. In an emergency, remote hands are available for an hourly fee.

If your server requires a large amount of bandwidth and maximum uptime and your organization can manage the installation, maintenance and software supervision internally, colocation offers huge savings and risk reduction over keeping your server on-site.

How much does colocation cost?

Colocation is priced according to:

  • The physical space that the server(s) takes up in the data center
  • The degree of network connectivity required
  • How power is delivered to the cluster
  • The amount of on-site support services required (on a pay-per-use basis)

With colocated hosting, your organization pays for the amount of physical space that your server requires. For an organization with robust needs that can’t summon capital to invest in their own high-grade server containment environment, colocation offers a realistic and affordable solution.

To price out your specific colocation services, contact one of our network architects or our expert sales staff. It’s likely that we’ve designed a setup for an organization similar to yours.

GigeNET offers a wide range of flexible and customizable colocation options that can enable your organization to take significant strides at a lower cost than you’ve imagined. Our services begin at a mere $135 a month and are backed by an industry-leading service level agreement.

How to choose the best colocation provider

Colocation hosts like GigeNET offer options based on how much space your server needs. Organizations can lease a shared cage for their server – or for more vigorous applications, an entire cage for their collection of servers.

For applications that require an additional layer of security, organizations can invest in their own cabinet. This setup helps avoid the unlikely possibility that you’ll have “bad neighbors” who overload their power circuit or require constant physical access to their server. This also means no one else is going near your organization’s server, keeping already low risk at an absolute minimum.

In colocation hosting, thwarting downtime starts with your data center. We’ve invested heavily in our Chicago colocation data center to create an ideal environment to protect your valuable data and infrastructure in case of an unlikely emergency.

When you’re choosing a colocation provider, ask about whether they’re proactively maintaining and updating their data center. We suggest inquiring about these crucial details:

  • Do they have staff on-site to help with remote hands, or do they rely on a contract with outsiders to handle emergencies?
  • Do they have experience hosting businesses comparable to yours?
  • How long have they been in the colocation business?
  • Can they offer customizable solutions, or is it a one-size-fits-all colocation provider?

A note about managed services in regards to colocation

Unfortunately, colocation providers rarely provide server & customer-owned systems management.

Why?

Because of system complexity.

Colocation deployments are typically performed according to the organization’s standard operating procedure (SOP) – which can run completely counter to the provider’s SOP.

When a colocation provider starts adding more and more organizations to its data center, these SOPs begin to introduce a high degree of complexity to the operation of the data center. Supporting all of these varying SOPs vastly reduces support efficiency.

In the end, customers suffer.

If your organization requires more support, consider recycling or selling off old server harder and purchasing a private cloud or dedicated servers from a Managed Hosting provider like GigeNET.

We’ve already helped hundreds of companies make the transition from colocation to fully managed services.

Since colocation requires some degree of knowledge to successfully orchestrate, many businesses without a dedicated IT department choose to move their IT infrastructure to a dedicated server solution using managed services instead of relying on colocation.

With dedicated servers, the customer leases servers from the provider’s inventory and configured jointly with the customer’s use case and the provider’s standards in mind. On top of this configuration, the customer may opt to add managed services. Although the details are different from provider to provider, managed services defines the system administration of the environment becomes the responsibility of the provider. In this manner, providers not only administer the network, but they also administer the server hardware and some providers will also administer the operating system.

Clients that have made this transition find much greater freedom to conduct business than just moving your server off-site via colocation.

If colocation seems like too much responsibility – we have a solution to help your organization achieve its goals.

It’s typically much less expensive to utilize a hosting company’s managed services instead of creating an IT department from scratch to handle your colocation services.

Are you ready for colocation?

GigeNET has been in the colocation industry for over two decades – longer than our competitors have existed, much less, focused on the organizational IT needs of businesses. We offer a team of experts for advice and service, and pride ourselves on being champions for our customers and advocates for a better internet.

Our prices are affordable. Our network is blisteringly fast. We want to be your hosting partner for life.

Let us show you how our secure colocation facility and long-standing expertise can serve your organization. Chat with a specialist or order now.

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