What does a colocation data centre do?

Looking for a more efficient way to manage your IT operations?

Budgeting for the IT requirements of your business can be a handful at the best of times. Have you ever considered making use of colocation data centres? It may be the best alternative for your data storage and application delivery needs. Find out about colocation, what it is and what it does in this article.


Colocation definition and concept

What is colocation? A colocation facility or ‘colo’ is a third-party location that houses servers and data equipment. The idea of colocation first started when businesses began moving equipment out of their offices in the 90’s.

Back then, rented spaces are getting charged on per-rack settings. It soon evolved into wholesale data centres and now work at a hyper-scale level. Clients may turn to colocation facilities to rent space for their critical IT equipment.

However, rack space isn’t the only thing clients can get from a colocation facility. Clients of colocation facilities will also get resilient power, high-performance connectivity, world-class security, and state-of-the-art cooling, amongst other things.


What is a colocation data centre and what does it do?

Colocation data centres are buildings or warehouses that offer rental spaces for companies. They accommodates their networking equipment, servers, and storage systems.

These data carrier hotels not only provide their clients with the space needed to host their equipment. It also offers necessary services for the best data storage and application delivery, such as:

Power

A colocation data centre provides power for your systems all around the clock for seven days a week. They are also equipped with backup generators in case of power interruptions. This is crucial for businesses that rely on their data servers to deliver service to their clients.

Cooling

Overheating can cause your systems to malfunction and delay progress. Cooling systems can help you prevent this. Colocation facilities provide ample HVAC systems and other cooling technologies to keep your equipment in mint condition.

Bandwidth

A colocation data centre offers high-speed internet access. This allows clients to access their server’s processing power even if they’re away from the colo facility. If you have plans of collocating, you will only need to provide your business’ physical servers and data storage.

Unlike other kinds of data centres, colocation data centres have more flexibility. Its use can range from data storage to the delivery of applications. Many businesses turn to colocation providers for data management as it gives them the freedom to build diverse and well-integrated networks.


Scaling IT infrastructure more quickly and more affordably

The construction and operation of your own business data centre can cost a fortune. This major investment leads companies to sacrifice the quality of work for quicker development. Smaller businesses may also not have the liberty to build their own data centres.

This is where colocation data centres come in. Businesses can cut expenditures for data storage and management. These colo facilities also help their clients with operational costs.

Colocation providers help you minimize costs without foregoing the scale of your IT network. If you’re working on a budget, check out these best offers of rental racks.


Guaranteed uptime in mission-critical services

Colocation data centres protect your uptime by distributing your IT network to more locations. You can rest assured that your business will keep running even if one location goes down. There will always be another location to take over.

You don’t have to worry about losing crucial data like reports or confidential customer information. A colocation centre serves as an extra layer of disaster recovery.

However, it’s crucial to remember that your provider must be within the same tier as your business needs. Checking on your colocation provider’s network mix and tier carriers is also a good thing to do.


Physical security of your data and IT equipment

Traditional data centres focus on IT network storage and computing within their properties. This makes your company data susceptible to physical threats, like theft. Most office buildings are not designed design to prioritize the safety of data servers.

A more centralized network will not only increase the likelihood of break-ins. It’s also more vulnerable to natural disasters that can destroy the equipment itself, such as hurricanes and tornadoes.

With colo facilities, you can ensure that your servers and equipment are secure. Colo facilities are often built based on industry standards for IT governance. Buildings may also adhere to the standards of other forms of security operations in your state.

Colocation providers are responsible for storing your systems, servers, and equipment. As an extra measure, they may review the physical security of your data. This ranges from perimeter security, video surveillance to 24/7 guard presence and biometric scanning.


Testing products and services for cloud fit

It’s important to note that not all applications are cloud-ready. Some applications can still be sensitive to latency. Some can even have heightened security risks.

For these cases, colocation data centres help their clients by testing whether the products and services can fit the cloud. Your chosen provider will create private clouds to test the products and services in a limited time. This can help you confirm if it’s ready for the public cloud.


Building an edge network

With the growth of the Internet of Things, networks must connect with more devices across bigger distances. Colo can close these gaps between your network and its data sources. They help in building edge networks and even support fog computing.

The closer you can bring your network to the edge of its data, the quicker and more secure you can process them.


How you can benefit from a colocation data centre

Colocation data centres have become a prominent way to store and manage business data. Whether it’s a financial relief to a business’ budget plan or securing the physical safety network, a colocation data centre can cover all your IT needs. Here are some of the benefits of colocation and how it can boost your business operations.

Interested in migrating to a colocation data centre? That’s where we come in. Get in touch with us for your colo inquiries and needs.

What is full rack colocation?

The global colocation services market grew by 13.7 per cent through the end of 2020. More and more companies are choosing to use a colocation data centre rather than holding their servers in-house.

If you’re thinking about moving your server into a colocation centre, you’ll need to determine how much rack space you’ll need. Let’s look at the different options, from per-unit colocation through full rack colocation.


What is colocation?

A colocation facility lets you rent space for your servers and other hardware. You own the equipment so you can invest in whatever type of hardware is best for your business. The colo facility provides physical space for it as well as power, physical security, and the network backbone to connect it resiliently to the internet.

The main difference from other hosting services is that you own the hardware. With traditional hosting services, you rent the server from them but you don’t necessarily have complete control over how it’s configured.

This can limit your options as well as cost more in the long term.


Differences in colocation space

Server racks get measured in terms of rack Units (U) and rack-mounted servers are designed to meet a standard size. A 1U server is approximately 19 inches wide, 36 inches deep, and 1.75 inches in height.

A “rack” is exactly what it sounds like — a rack that the servers get bolted into. They’re built to a standard size so they can house almost any brand and model of server. A typical full-sized rack contains 42U of space.

Per-unit colocation

Per-unit colocation is the smallest amount of space you can get. The most common options available at this level are 1U, 2U, and 4U.

These options are ideal for small businesses, start-ups, and anyone who doesn’t have huge resource requirements but still wants to host their server in a data centre. This gives you the benefit of the data centre’s infrastructure without having to lease more space than necessary.

Quarter rack colocation

Quarter rack colocation is a good option if you’ve got enough equipment to need more than 4U of rack space. Assuming the rack has a total of 42U, you’ll end up with about 10U in a quarter rack.

How much of that space is available for you to use depends on how the rack is configured. The spacing of the divider shelves between each rack unit uses some space and there may be other items using part of it as well.

With quarter rack colocation from Netwise, you’ll have 10U of space, which is fully segregated and lockable.

Half rack colocation

Half rack colocation segregates half of the total rack space for your use. In a 42U rack cabinet, you’ll have 20U of space to work with.

Full rack colocation

With full rack colocation, the entire rack is dedicated to your use. You can use the full 42U of space for whatever your needs might be, including:

  • Private cloud servers
  • GPUs for machine learning and/or artificial intelligence
  • VoIP equipment
  • Network storage

This also gives you more flexibility to install non-rack-mountable equipment using data cabinet shelves. For example, if you have a tower server that you want to install in your rack, it won’t necessarily be a standard U size.


Segregated Colocation vs Per-Unit

At a glance, full rack colocation (or any other size of segregated colocation) doesn’t seem that different from per-unit space. After all, if you need a full rack, couldn’t you just order 42U of space on a per-unit basis?

You could, but segregated colocation offers a few additional benefits compared to a shared rack.

First, with full rack colocation, you can lock the cabinet so only the IT personnel you approve will have access to it. With per-unit colocation, several users will likely share the same rack.

Second, you’ll have more flexibility with the equipment you install in the rack. Some devices only need 1U of rack space while others are larger and might need 2U, 3U, or more.

With a full rack, you can configure the layout any way you like to maximize your use of the space.

Full rack colocation can also be more cost-effective. A full rack doesn’t cost twice as much as a half rack so it might be the right choice even if you don’t need all the space immediately.

Finally, if you don’t need a full rack for your equipment, you might want to consider leasing the extra space to your clients or companies that you work with.


How to determine how much space you need

Figuring out how much colocation space you need is as simple as adding up the U heights of the servers and other equipment you’ll be installing in the rack. For example, if you have four 1U devices, two 3U devices, and two 2U devices, you’ll need at least 11U of rack space, plus some additional space for cable management and cooling consideration.

If your equipment needs more than 20U, full rack colocation is the only option that provides enough space. But if it needs less than 20U, you might still want to consider full rack colocation for the reasons we mentioned above.

If you work in certain industries, you might also need to consider regulatory restrictions when choosing colocation. In the healthcare or financial markets, for example, you might need to use segregated colocation to meet the compliance requirements for the security of your clients’ personal information, meaning that shared per unit colocation is not a possibility, even for a single server.


Where to turn for help with your colocation needs

If you’re looking for full rack colocation in the UK, Netwise can help. We offer a range of server colocation services ranging from 1U through full rack options.

We’ve been providing colocation services for over a decade and are one of the UK’s leading service providers. Get in touch with us today to discuss your colocation needs or to book a tour of our data centre facilities.

How much colocation space do you need?

Your business has grown, and you’ve been hoarding every bit of data you can get on the off chance that it will help you in the future. Now, you’re running out of space, and you’ve started looking for server options. In passing, you hear a new term, “server colocation,” and it sounds exciting!

Just one problem, what is server colocation, and how much space do you need to get started?

Before we hop into the definition, ask yourself, will you be contracting with a cloud server company, or will you be building a server in your office? If you said “in my office,” then congratulations! You’ve come to the right article. 


What is colocation?

At its very base level, colocation refers to renting space for server equipment in a data centre with other businesses.

More technically speaking, you need to make sure that you have room for all of your business’ essential technical needs and then some. That means the right amount of space to deploy your systems both now and to cover immediate-term growth.

So, let’s go over how much space you’ll need for every common type of organisational deployment, so you can plan correctly for your own colocation projects.


For the smaller company, Per Unit Colocaton

When a business is just starting to invest in colocation space, or if they’re smaller and don’t need that much physical capacity, they will usually buy space by the U (or Unit).

So, what’s a Unit? One “Unit” of racked colocation space is approximately 1.75″ tall. Servers and related equipment are designed to accommodate rack units, by mounting into the rack on ears or rails. The smallest space denomination is 1U, or a single rack unit. This would accommodate one server or small network device.

Other common space allocations include 2U and 4U, which cater for larger servers, or small clusters of hardware.


Stepping up in the world? Go for a Quarter Rack

The next step up in the server colocation world is a quarter rack (typically 8-10 Units of useable rack space). 

A quarter rack is for small to mid-sized businesses that need to deploy slightly larger systems, comprised of multiple hardware sets. This may include a firewall, a couple of switches and a small cluster of servers and/or storage arrays. 

So, why is this called a “quarter rack?” Well, the typical server rack consists of 42 Units of space. A quarter rack has ~25% of the full rack segregated and lockable, dedicated to you alone as the sole tenant.   

A quarter rack with Netwise starts from around £164 per month with the minimum 1 amp power allocation.


Bigger is better: consider a Half Rack

Half rack colocation is excellent for mid-sized businesses that’re seeing a lot of growth. Usually, a half rack contains around 20U of server space.

A half rack will cost you £299 per month with the minimum 2 amp power allocation. This gives you a greater degree of deployment flexibility when compared with a quarter rack, and also allows for more power-hungry systems to be deployed with ease.


The Big Kahuna: Full Rack Colocation

Full-rack colocation is the best for larger companies that have more substantial systems, which tend to throughput lots more data.

This solution is ideal for growth, giving an excellent platform from which to grow, and the greatest amount of available in-rack power. A full rack, with the minimum 4 amp power allocation, is £439 per month.  

Full racks let you expand as you wish into a 42U enclosure, offering the most control over airflow, and best installation practices.

To get an enterprise-grade rack with locking cabinets at Netwise, we would advise you to call our customer support to talk about a custom solution.


What are your server colocation needs?

Whatever your needs, we’re the best colocation company for you! Finally, you can expand your business with peace of mind, knowing that you will not be running out of space anytime soon. 

Not 100% sure what you need, or are you confused by anything in this article about server colocation space? You can feel free to give us a call at any time!

Your complete guide to understanding data centre tiers

The concept of a data centre may seem simple at first glance. After all, it’s effectively just a warehouse with stacks and stacks of humming, immobile servers. However, those servers may hold critical data and operate critical systems for your company, or the companies you rely on everyday. Are you well-enough prepared for a power outage or equipment failure?

Any expanding business needs to be aware of the challenges that come with choosing the right data centre for your needs. Luckily, there are universal data centre standards that allow you to evaluate the right level of security and stability for your company.

What are data centre tiers and how can your choice of data centre affect your business? Read on to discover the data centre tier ratings explained. You’ll find out what differentiates a simple warehouse from a high-tech facility, and how you can choose the best data centre for your business needs.


Data centre classification

Data centre classifications are consistent and regulated worldwide thanks to the standards created by the Uptime Institute in the mid-1990s. The institute is a neutral third party that inspects data centres and places them into one of four tiers of quality and reliability.


Standard data centre tiers

Tier differences are generally determined by two factors. The first is the ability to stay up and running even through repairs and necessary maintenance. The second is redundancy. This refers to the ability to continue functioning even if a necessary resource such as power or cooling were to fail. 

Tier 1 data centres

A Tier 1 data centre is the most basic level of data centre, essentially a warehouse with small-scale supporting infrastructure. This infrastructure must include:

  • An uninterruptible power supply (UPS) which instantly transfers the power supply to a stored battery. This protects against outages or spikes, but not for extended periods of time.
  • Dedicated equipment for cooling the machines.
  • A backup generator for longer periods of power outage.

Tier 1 data centres are simple and can be more vulnerable to unexpected outages or failures. They also have to periodically shut down completely for maintenance, making systems held there inaccessible during this time.

To certify for Tier 1 status, a data centre must have no more than 28.8 hours of downtime per year (99.7% uptime).

That may not seem like much, but for many businesses, it is crucial that their data is available at all times. If you have ever tried to navigate to a website and found it to be down for scheduled maintenance you will recognise first-hand just how frustrating those 28 hours can be.

Tier 2 data centres

Tier 2 data centres are the most common type of data centre worldwide. Most private enterprise data centres held within offices in the UK fall under tier 2.

Tier 2 data centres are facilities with greater ‘redundant capacity’. This refers to their ability to keep functioning through disruptions such as power outages or scheduled maintenance. In addition to backup generators and cooling systems, tier 2 centres can include:

  • Energy storage units such as batteries.
  • Additional cooling equipment such as cooling towers and condensers.
  • Modular components which can be removed without shutting the entire system down.

Tier 2 centres are less likely to have to shut down for maintenance. Rather, maintenance can be done on just one part of the system, while the rest continues to run. However, shutdowns may occasionally be necessary for critical infrastructure support.

Tier 3 data centres

Tier 3 data centres are likely to be the highest level of data centre most businesses will ever need. Tier 3 data centre uptime can reach 100%. Many tier 3 sites do not need to ever be shut down.

A tier 3 data centre also requires additional backup power and cooling systems compared to a tier 2 centre. Tier 3 data centres in the UK are protected from both planned maintenance and shutdowns and unexpected events such as power outages.

Tier 3 sites are best suited to businesses that take uptime seriously, and need to know that their redundant systems are fed by infrastructure that makes full and proper use of this, with power and network separation for an always-on approach to maintenance and faults.

Tier 4 data centres

While the concept of a tier 4 data centre is possible in some regions around the world, this is not actually possible in the UK, thanks to the National Grid. You need access to two electrical grid operators to meet the tier 4 requirement, which can only be achieved in areas that have access to this type of power delivery methodology (while also achieving all other requirements, of course).

Some UK-based facility operators will attempt to pass of a tier 3+ site (a tier 3 site with systems that exceed the tier 3 requirements) as a tier 4 site, however it is worth remembering that this is nothing more than misleading marketing.

In truth, a tier 4 site adds little-to-no operational advantage over a tier 3 counterpart, as having reliable generator infrastructure negates the need for diverse commercial grid access.


Multi-tier data centres

Multi tier data centres have become more common in the past ten years. This refers to data centres that support mixed levels of tier classification. 

For example, the most critical systems may make up only 10-15% of a company’s needs. These can be protected with tier 3 or 4 level standards, while other systems which are less critical to overall upkeep can be protected with less rigorous standards.

This reduces expenses on the company’s part and allows data centres to be more agile and versatile in the companies they serve.

It’s very common for top colocation service operators to deploy facilities that existing somewhere between tier 3 and tier 4, often being referred to as tier 3+ (though this is not an official classification offered by the Uptime Institute).


Choosing a data centre for your business

Data centres choose to invest in tier certification. They hire representatives from the Uptime Institute to evaluate their centre and give it an official classification.

So, if you see a data centre company has a tier rating, you can trust that they have taken every step to ensure that their capabilities can be trusted. Data centre tiers are a sign of trust between the centres, their clients, and a neutral third party.

Our data centres in Central and East London are world-class facilities with a number of accreditations and certifications. Contact us today and we will help you determine the right level of security for your needs.

How to choose the best server colocation in London

The colocation data centre market is worth over $54.8 billion. It continues to grow thanks to an increasing global reliance on technology and the related need to increase the scale of IT services in general.

Managing technology requires time, money, and effort, especially when businesses attempt to create solutions in-house. Server colocation allows you to share space with other tenants in a centralised location, which is remote from your office(s). Professionals manage the equipment and network for you, keeping it safe and providing the right environment.


What is server colocation?

Server colocation allows you to share data centre space in a centralised, remote location. It provide businesses with space to install necessary IT equipment while also preventing operation or technical limitations and allowing you to control costs, support, uptime, and security.

What a colocation data enter does

colocation centre is a physical location that stores data and IT infrastructure on behalf of businesses, and in some rarer cases, individuals. Services include power, cooling, physical security, network connectivity, and resiliency. 

These centres offer different types of services as well, allowing you to customize your size and power usage based on your needs.

Types

Wholesale colocation is best for large corporations and service providers. Your space is separate from other tenants, which increases security. Space is sold in square feet or based on total available power, and your price depends on your power and space requirements.

Retail colocation is best for start-ups and SMEs. It provides a turnkey solution that allows you to get set up quickly by providing racks, power, PDUs, network connectivity, and IP addressing. Businesses lease space and receive power at a threshold. Your fees are based on your space allocation and power / network consumption.

Space can be sold in rack units, abbreviated as U. It measures the thickness of each server at 1.75″.

1, 2, or 4 unit colocation is abbreviated as 1U/2U/4U. It involves purchasing individual unit allocations but can be upgraded to include more space. 1U is small and considered entry-stage. The others are somewhat larger, but major businesses may require quarter, half, or full racks for housing more substantial systems.

Quarter rack location offers 10U of colocation space. Everything is stored in a private, locked cabinet. It’s a great option for small businesses and start-ups.

Half rack location is a mid-range option that offers 20U of colocation space and power feeds of 2-8 amps at 240v. It costs £299.00 – £479.00 per month. Lockable, segregated racks provide extra security. There are multiple connectivity options to fit your needs.

Full rack colocation provides a full rack or 42U of cabinet space. It offers more available power and is best for companies with larger IT systems. Multiple racks then allow these systems to be extended, with no upper limit on how many racks can be deployed as part of a single (or even split) system.


Benefits of server colocation

Businesses that aren’t using server colocation create in-house facilities instead. They provide more internal access and control but are complicated and expensive to set up, increase hiring costs, and can decrease uptime.

Colocation centres have several benefits. They increase efficiency, decrease energy consumption, are flexible and scalable, increase security, decrease downtime, and help you manage your budget more closely.

Colocation centres consider both network and physical security. They create several layers of security and threat detection to protect your network. They also monitor the location itself using CCTV and 24×7 on-site personnel.

Colocation centres offer predictable operational expenses. They offer regular fees for rack units, power, and bandwidth. Additional consulting or hardware resources may be part of your service fee or cost extra. Once you know these costs, you can find the total and work it into your budget.

A colocation centre should also be clear about what you don’t have to pay for. They can save you money in several areas, including hiring, power, and heating and cooling costs. 

Server colocation is also a way to ensure you don’t lose profits from IT services that aren’t working like you need them to. The true cost of IT downtime depends on several factors, including the duration of the outage and the number of people impacted. It costs businesses an average of approximately $5,600.00 per minute and $140,000.00 – $540,000.00 per hour.

These are only some of the benefits of server colocation. As long as you choose the right provider, you could experience even more positive changes by placing your IT equipment in the hands of professionals.


Choosing server colocation

There are over 4,740 server colocation centres throughout the world, including at least 273 in the United Kingdom. Choosing the right one from this range of options is easier when you know what to look for. Consider factors such as space, power, connectivity, security, support, and price.

Determine how much space you need by looking at your power and infrastructure requirements now and in the future.

There are several ways to ensure you get the best price. Avoid bargain discount rates because they generally indicate poor service. Look at the prices of other server colocation centres in the area. Get referrals online or from trusted friends and family. Choose the best fee structure for you, whether that’s monthly, quarterly, annually, or hourly. Consider if you need to purchase or lease equipment.

There are also some questions to ask before choosing a server colocation centre. Learn more about their:

  • Security measures
  • Reliability
  • Flexibility
  • Data capacity limits
  • Support team

You can also look online to check the provider’s reputation. Look for their uptime and security records and check their certifications and history of audit compliance.

The typical server colocation contract lasts 1 – 3 years. Be sure you’ve chosen the best provider before signing anything.


Finding the best server colocation provider

Server colocation is one of the newest and most effective alternatives to in-house IT centres. It connects you with professionals to ensure your systems are secure and stay online.

Choosing the right colocation centre is a matter of considering your current needs and how your business will grow in the future. Find an affordable, scalable option that will adapt to your changing IT structure.

Netwise provides colocation services you can trust. Contact us today to find the right solution for you.