Setting up, running and managing your own data centre can be a complex, costly and time-consuming business. Not only must you purchase the hardware and retain staff, but you also have to set aside a considerable amount of physical space and then invest in temperature-control equipment. For many businesses, this does not make a great deal of commercial sense. City-centre office space is expensive and filling up a substantial portion of it with a data centre represents a poor return on that investment. There are other options, of course. A managed hosting solution appeals to many businesses. Management of data is entirely handled by a third party that chooses and deploys their own hardware solutions.
Managed Hosting and Colocation
Managed hosting is a good solution for those who are comfortable with another company making such choices but some companies, especially those who host their own customers’ data, want to retain a greater degree of control. For those companies, colocation, is a better fit. With this model, clients place their servers in a data centre owned and operated by the collocation provider. This has several benefits for some organisations.
Benefits of Colocation
They can free up valuable office space at their own location. Colocation also allows them to retain complete control over their preferred hardware configuration. They can customise their set-up to their own specification and offer their own customers a completely bespoke solution. They also control the timing and extent of upgrades and maintenance, allowing them to fit those activities into their own business cycles when they cause the least disruption. At the same time, the client benefits from a range of services from the collocation provider.
Colocation providers typically provide a range of services that benefit the client and which the client might find difficult to provide themselves at a reasonable cost. These colocation services include extremely robust physical security, with closely monitored access to the data centre. Other services include provision of a temperature-controlled environment. The colocation date centre will also offer a very reliable power supply, with layered back-up provision in the event of any failure. Typically, the data centre will also offer extremely fast connectivity direct to a backbone internet connection. With the data centre handling issues such as these, it leaves the clients free to concentrate on their own data and that for many is the perfect solution.
Choosing a Colocation Provider
Clearly, each individual client has different colocation needs. When looking at a colocation provider, however, there are perhaps some common areas to consider when drawing up your shortlist. These could include the provider’s arrangements for power coming into the data centre. Do they have more than one source? What are the arrangements for back-up power? Are generators able to be refuelled while operational? The internet connection is also important and the client should know how this will be provided and what level of access to expect. The client should also be clear about the physical security arrangements at the facility and what services are in place for cooling. Finally, it is a good idea to try to get references, especially from similar clients.