How to reap the benefits of colocation: finding the right solution for your business

The colocation market is set to see a 15.4 per cent growth rate from 2016 through to 2020. As a result, lot’s of companies are moving from in-house hosting solutions to an outsources approach involving data centres.

Why are so many companies making this change? Let’s take a look at the benefits of colocation / rack space, and how to choose the best data centre operator for your needs.


The benefits of colocation

Server colocation offers quite a few benefits over keeping your server infrastructure in-house. One of the most obvious of these benefits will be the associated cost savings.

If your server is on-site at your office (or even at home), it usually means you’ll need to install the infrastructure suitable for running high-uptime devices. This includes resilient cooling, network connectivity, power, and adequate physical security.

With a colocation service, the data centre handles these components for you, meaning you simply pay a fixed amount each month to make use of their enterprise-grade infrastructure. Because data centre operators provide colocation services to many companies, you’ll only need to pay a fraction of the total overhead.

Better support is another major benefit of working with a data centre. The colocation provider will have support staff on-site 24×7 to address any problems with your systems. Having your own staff on-hand around the clock would add enormous internal costs to your business.

Data centre operators also provide greater operational flexibility over keeping your systems in-house. There are a wide range of options available to clients, including various highly-resilient connectivity options. Offering a blended transit service ensures that individual carrier issues do not impact client services. This isn’t a viable investment for most companies when running a systems on-premises.

Scalability is another benefit that data centre hosting providers offer end-users. If your needs change and you need more bandwidth or power for your critical systems, you can scale up using the data centre’s existing infrastructure. Scaling up an in-house setup means fronting the extra cost of having these services installed, if they’re even available.


How to find the right colocation provider

There are several factors that you need to consider when choosing the most suitable colocation provider for your business, which include:

  • Power and sustainability
  • Scalability
  • Connectivity options
  • Compliance
  • Locations
  • Security and environmental controls

Power and sustainability

One of the biggest benefits of a server colocation service when compared with hosting your critical systems in-house is power efficiency. This can vary from one provider to another.

Look for a data centre that offers a sustainable energy supply. Netwise’s resilient power feeds run on 100% renewable energy from wind, sun, and sea.

Your colocated systems should also remain operational if there is ever a power interruption that affects the data centre’s primary (and even secondary) power supplies. Netwise uses an advanced diesel generator system with a 48-hour on-site fuel supply to ensure your systems remain operational and available even during a power interruption.

We also have multiple 24×7 refuelling contracts in case of an extended power interruption.

Scalability

The scalability of your system’s resources is another important factor to consider in choosing a data centre partner. This applies to both the system itself and the associated connectivity.

If your bandwidth needs increase, you need to be sure the data centre can increase your network resources to meet new demand. This may be a short-term increase for unexpected spikes in traffic, or it could be an ongoing permanent / semi-permanent elevation as your needs evolve.

Look for a data centre that works with several carriers. This allows for highly-resilient blended transit options as well as fallback connection options in case of an outage.

The data centre should also offer scalable connection types. As your needs increase, you can adjust your service delivery and composition accordingly.

Connectivity options

With a colocated system, connectivity is critical. If you’re not able to reach your servers over the network, your entire business could suffer.

The data centre operator you choose needs to have multiple levels of redundancy engineered into their core to ensure your systems remain accessible. Access to multiple carriers is one aspect of this, but they also need to ensure diverse, redundant path options across the board, from edge to core.

Make sure the data centre network supports the IP standard you’re using, both now and in the future. IPv4 is the older standard, but if you’ve switched to IPv6 addressing standard, the network will need to support it.

Connections to cloud service providers such as Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud are also important if you utilise any of these services.

Compliance

If you do business in an industry with particular compliance regulations, such as financial services and healthcare, you need to ensure the data centre you choose is fully compliant with any applicable regulations.

A component of some of these regulations is the physical location of your data. In some cases, the data must be stored within the same country the regulations apply to. This often applies to systems in which you’re storing customer records.

You also need to ensure the data centre is Data Protection Act (DPA) compliant if you’re doing business in the UK, as well as GDPR-compliant for any EU organisation holding personal information.

Locations

The location of a data centre has a bearing on compliance, but it also affects other things, such as accessibility to your equipment and the physical safety of your systems.

Working with a data centre that’s located nearby ensures your IT staff have access to your systems for upgrades and other maintenance tasks.

The data centre’s location will also affect how susceptible it is to natural disasters, like earthquakes and major storms. These events can cause downtime and other problems, so choosing a location that’s less likely to be affected by them is always safest.

Security and environmental controls

The physical security and environmental control of the data centre are other factors that affect your overall system availability. Not to mention the safety of your critical data.

Look for a data centre with good physical security, such as 24×7 on-site security, live and historical CCTV monitoring with a long retention period, and access technologies like RFID and biometric access controls.

Cooling is a critical piece of the puzzle as well. Data centres hold large numbers of servers that create a lot of heat, so effective cooling is critical to keep your equipment up and running.


Why you should choose Netwise as your colocation service provider

Netwise has over a decade of experience providing best-in-class colocation solutions to clients all around the world. Our data centres offer all of the above benefits, along with many others.

If you’re looking for a UK-based data centre for colocation or need dedicated server resources to expand your existing systems, get in touch with us today to find out how we can help.

Graham Cornell joins Netwise

We’re very excited to introduce you to the latest member of the growing Netwise team. Meet Graham Cornell, our new Technical Manager.

Graham has actually been working with us for some time now, forming part of our Technical Support team (namely our Data Centre Supervisor). Any regular visitors to our London Central data centre will have very likely had the pleasure of meeting Graham at some point in time.

Graham has a long history working in the data centre industry, having spent 6 years with Pulsant, and formerly holding a position with Telecity in the early years of their development cycle.

Graham’s promotion to Technical Manager comes as Netwise enters the next phase of its growth journey, making this role extremely important to the ongoing operational success of the organisation as upper managerial focus shifts to the next chapter in our development cycle.

Graham will oversee the technical operation of our facilities, working closely with Alex, our Facilities Manager, to keep client-facing services and internal infrastructure operating flawlessly around the clock. This will also extend to project work, developing new innovative systems and technologies to aid future growth.

A look back at 2019

As should always be the case for any growing enterprise, this year has unquestionably been our most successful to date. Here’s a look back at the year gone by; 2019 at Netwise.

Investment continued unabated this year, in line with our steadfast approach to ongoing improvement across all aspects of the organisation. This includes works in both customer and non-customer facing areas, to ensure our London Central facility remains the premier choice for world-class colocation services in the capital.

We’ve also seen the greatest level of growth we’ve ever experienced in the on-boarding of new client projects, across both new entrants to our facilities and network, alongside the impressive continued growth enjoyed by our existing customers.

Notable projects from 2019 include:

  • Deployment of Pods 4 & 5 – we took Data Hall 1 to 100% available capacity this year, with all five containment pods now online and servicing an exciting range of new and existing customers.
  • Generator system expansion – in-line with growth experienced in our technical spaces this year, we undertook a major upgrade of our backup generator systems to ensure we maintain power delivery resilience as we continue to fill out our London Central facility.
  • We rebranded – in the summer, we rebranded, dropping the ‘Hosting’ portion of our name and drastically evolving the look and feel of our organisation, to better suit our current position in the market.
  • We turned 10! – this December, Netwise officially turned 10 years old, having incorporated in 2009. We celebrated in style at Swingers West End, with a wide range of customers, suppliers, family and friends!
  • GitHub partnership – this year, we announced an exclusive and unique partnership with GitHub Education, bringing world-class colocation services to their famous Student Pack for the very first time.
  • Cisco hardware on-site – we drastically expanded our on-site hardware stocks in 2019, now holding over 250 different Cisco model lines at our London Central facility, ready for immediate deployment both on-site and off-site.
  • Team expansion – we undertook a complete reshaping of our out-of-hours team early this year, with five new engineers joining the extended workforce. We’ll also be welcoming new Technical and Sales Managers to the day team early next year.
  • Connectivity growth – we now provide a wide range of connectivity services on our ever-growing metro network to a number of notable international carriers, including PCCW, RETN and IDE Group.
  • The next stage – we’ve massively fleshed out plans for the next phase in our development cycle, as we look towards accelerated growth and expansion over the next three years – watch this space!

As you’d probably expect from looking at the above, we’ve also exceeded our performance targets for the year by considerable margin, which ensures the stable, reliable ongoing operation of your mission-critical data centre services.

This is an extremely important factor to bear in mind when deciding who best to work with on long-term projects of this nature. Providing this peace of mind to our clients is something we are hugely proud of.


Looking ahead

2020 is set to be a year of major change as we look to execute plans for the next stage of our growth strategy.

We’re hoping to publicly announce these plans early in Q1.

Alongside these sweeping expansion plans, we’re also looking forward to the excitement of business as usual here at Netwise; introducing a range of interesting new customers to our facility and network in 2020, a number of which have already been arranged for execution in Q1.

We’d like to wish all of our stakeholders a fantastic New Year, and a prosperous 2020. We look forward to sharing it with you.

Netwise turns 10

Netwise was first incorporated on the 8th December 2009, making December 2019 a time of celebration – 10 years in business, doing what we love!

On the 13th December, we got together with friends, family, customers and suppliers to honour the occasion at Swingers West End, with great food, drinks, and of course a round of mini-golf!

This is quite the milestone for Netwise, a venture which started life in its earliest form way back in 2005, in the loft of Matthew’s family home. Not an ideal location of course, but it’s where the chips would begin to fall in favour of the organisation becoming a reality just a few years later.

In commemoration of the 10th birthday event, we’ve put together a gallery of photos from the evening, which you can browse below:


We hope everyone in attendance enjoyed themselves, and we look forward to welcoming you back to our future milestone celebrations as we continue to grow and evolve in the coming years.

Our guests on the night also got first eyes on our anniversary picture book, which gives an overview of the last 10 years at Netwise. Be sure to ask for a look when you’re next in at our London Central data centre!

We also have a video of the night coming in January, so keep an eye out for that on our socials.

Trends to watch for in colocation services in 2020

Jules Verne was right about so many things.

After all, the concept of nearly unlimited computer systems holding the full store of human knowledge is practically a reality. Experts estimate data storage totalling 175 zettabytes by 2025.  

The Jules Verne visions of the modern era viewed through a 19th Century lens look very different from the actual article. The submarine, for instance, is much less a luxurious masterpiece than a precisely engineered marvel. 

The same can be said of data centres. Colocation services mean that the clunky,  out-of-date in-house comms room is replaced with efficient, modern and cost-effective data centre solutions.


Trends in colocation services

Maintaining on-premise space for IT equipment instead of people is a choice many businesses are weighing up. The cost of commercial space in pricey Mayfair in London, for example, is £115 GBP per square foot. Would you rather have that space occupied by your valuable sales force, or your computer systems?

Even though the trend for server size moves ever smaller, many companies find it more cost-effective to house their servers in a purpose-built space. However, why maintain that space in-house? Much like companies rent office space rather than building and maintaining a facility of their own, colocation services fill the same need.


Old school data centres to colocation

Building and maintaining a server farm is a daunting process. Computer processing equipment used to take up entire rooms and require countless dedicated operators. That slowly changed a single large room of equipment. Now, what used to take dozens of operators and acres of space is contained within just a few racks.

Refurbishment of space and infrastructure can prove costly. Many companies have elected to give up their old in-house data centres. The associated capital expenditures of building, maintaining and updating an in-house data centre rarely pencil out.

Colocation services provide the building, cooling, power, bandwidth and physical security; the perfect environment for clients to house their own servers and storage equipment.


Not everything is in the cloud

Ongoing data breaches and scandals mean that many companies try to avoid cloud solutions for some core proprietary functions. Control over their own servers and data is a growing primary concern. Colocation is the ideal solution to this concern.

Many enterprise management software platforms base themselves on and around critical network architecture. A cloud-based service simply doesn’t work well to this end. For companies with highly customised software, maintaining a proprietary network makes sense.

Companies making the transition to cloud-based services may find that colocation is an important step in the transition, and forms the basis for any fixed workloads in a hybrid solution for the future.


Hybrid cloud

Getting services closer to the end-user is a goal for many IT professionals. Cloud services offer great mobility and access, but do not protect company data as effectively as hardware under direct company control. Apps and tools to make this bridge simpler are part of any modern, agile colocation service.

A mixed approach to infrastructure is often the answer.  User automation, micro-services, APIs, easy software-based provisioning; with these elements in mind, the ongoing management of the various different infrastructure types into a seamless whole is the challenge.

The right provider can offer services that let a company’s IT department create dynamic, hybrid solutions; fixed workloads in colocation interconnected with flexible workloads and content delivery networks in the cloud.


Carrier readiness

5G mobile networking is an estimated 100x faster than existing 4G networks. Telecom providers turned London on in 2019, and other cities are expected to have full 5G service in a short time. User-facing service providers need to be ready for the rapid changeover, bringing with it much-increased demands on data, enabled by faster download speeds.

Colocation services offer superior network connections in many different ways, offering a blend of different carriers. More than one carrier is always recommended for redundancy and reliability.


Prepared for growth, prepared for disaster

Unlike self-maintained and owned data centres, outsourced colocation means that changes or interruptions to business are quickly recoverable. Colocation services offer:

  • Redundant network connections – business-critical applications run around the clock
  • Redundant power –  a combination of the power grid, backup generators, and battery backup systems protect against service interruptions
  • Room for growth – colocation allows for infrastructure expansion without having to take on additional capital expenditure
  • 24x7x365 support on-site – experienced technical personnel are on-site for emergency and routine maintenance

Our London Central data centre also offers a fully serviced, 33 desk business continuity suite inside our 11,000 square foot facility. The central London location takes advantage of well-developed telecom network access and proximity to many major companies / operators.


Is colocation right for your company?

Trends in colocation services indicate a need for companies to save operating costs as well as protect against business interruptions. Colocation is also an effective way to expand workloads without expanding footprints in existing office facilities.

Colocation will usually provide significant savings in the management of critical IT infrastructure. The day-to-day operational care of the servers, power and cooling will be outsourced to a specialist operator. Colocation services will almost always provide improved resilience over in-house operations. 

Companies that have great variability or seasonality in their data resource utilisation may find colocation solutions useful. Spikes in usage are absorbed by the whole, often at a lower cost.

Colocation services offer a combination of flexibility, cost savings, and reliability.


How can Netwise help?

Netwise provides global-level colocation services in private facilities. Our bespoke tools, built entirely-in-house, provide both large and small users alike with the reliability and up-time they need for faultless technical operations, around the clock.

Netwise offers:

  • Superior London and European locations
  • 100% renewable energy
  • Sustainable and eco-friendly cooling systems
  • Fully-stocked build rooms
  • 33 desk workplace recovery suite
  • Leading SLA
  • 10+ years track record

Contact us today to discuss your critical IT infrastructure needs.