The biggest business benefits of colocation

An emerging cost effective solution for businesses large or small when it comes to their investment in infrastructure, explore the benefits of colocation.

Colocation is a hosting option that businesses all over the world use for a variety of reasons. A data centre facility generally provides colocation services, along with other related services. Data centre facilities let companies rent space for their servers and computing hardware.

Such data centres, also referred to as ‘colo data centres’, will provide the secure rack space and resilient power. They also provide connectivity / transit, cooling, and physical security for the hardware. The customer generally provides their own servers and storage.

Depending on the colocation service you choose, you can upgrade these services on the fly. Premium colocation services also offer 24×7 technical support. You can enjoy access to teams of experts that can assist your business; you can also get remote hands that can handle physical technical issues. 

So, what are the benefits of using a colocation service?


Capital expenditures

There are many reasons to use colocation services instead of building an on-site data centre space. One of the main benefits is the avoidance of huge capital expenditures (CAPEX). The CAPEX associated with creating, maintaining, and updating large computing facilities is significant. 

Relying on a colo data centre allows your business to cut these costs, moving them instead to a more manageable OPEX cost. At the same time, you get to keep ownership and complete control of your physical servers, something not offered through the use of cloud and virtual services.

The only thing to note when it comes to spending is upfront expenses. Using a colocation service still requires your business to shoulder the upfront costs of buying your own hardware. You will also typically need to shoulder the travel costs of your engineers whenever they need to access the hardware manually.


Reliable connectivity

When running a business that relies on connectivity for many core processes, uptime is absolutely critical. With a colocation service, you can enjoy 100% uptime. Constant and reliable connectivity is a significant feature colocation providers supply. 

They have superior and fully redundant high-capacity network connections. These allow colo data centres to make sure that your equipment is connected to the rest of the world 24×7. 

Furthermore, colo service providers focus considerable time and effort on proactive maintenance. This means that everything is kept running smoothly, avoiding issues that could cause downtime.


Green energy

Data centres use a considerable amount of energy. Some data centres now elect to operate in places where inexpensive green energy is available. Sometimes, it’s a product of corporate social responsibility, and other times, it’s financially practical. 

Either way, you can expect many top-tier colo providers to employ the use of green energy. We’re a good example of this, having been named one of the Best Green Business winners in the recent past.

Your company could already be green. Or, you could be looking into ‘going green’. Either way, using a colocation service instead of running a local data centre or comms room will help you achieve far greater sustainability.


Fire protection

Office buildings are generally fire protected as standard, so you may feel that this is not a feature that you specifically need. But did you know that servers need specialised fire protection?

Servers draw a lot of power. On top of that, they’re easily damaged by water. Colocation centres can handle the specific protection needs of servers and associated equipment. These include both passive and active fire protection systems. 

Passive elements include sensitive smoke detectors and VESDA systems. These are particular types of smoke detection units tuned to detect smouldering electrical components, which can identify an issue before ignition. Such methods make your servers’ fire protection to be more vigilant.

Data centres also have more passive elements like walls to prevent fires from spreading. Active elements include fire suppression systems like electrical-safe sprinklers and inert gas fire suppression.


Temperature management

Servers have to be kept at cooler temperatures than the average office space, so your employees and your servers won’t make for great office mates.

You might be willing to invest in the creation of a separate space and a cooling system in this new location, but such an endeavour can prove expensive.

Using a colocation service can help solve this issue. Colocation providers are able to watch the temperature in the data halls at multiple points, allowing them to use their robust ventilation systems to deploy climate-controlled air.

Components are kept at their optimal temperatures in this way. Other colocation providers go as far as placing their data centres in places with naturally cold climates, which offsets any additional risks in temperature rises.

Note that humidity can also affect the operation of these components. Colo data centres watch the humidity levels around your components for this very reason. This way, their humidification systems prevent static electricity build up and discharge.


Cloud migration

Cloud migration is a trend in companies of every size today. If you’re also looking to make the move to cloud computing for your business, colocation can pave the way. Colocation provides the tools you need for a smooth transition and an excellent base to build a robust hybrid system.

It allows you to move your hardware to a facility with more capacity to manage the necessary changes, meaning it can add much-needed support to the process, making it both easier and faster.


Making room to grow

The current size of your business is not likely the size it will remain forever. As you grow, your infrastructure will have to grow with you. Colocation services allow you to expand your infrastructure in-line with your growth. 

You don’t have to take on more capital expenditure. This means you will be able to expand your critical IT infrastructure, and provide support for it more quickly. You’ll also be able to do it with much less investment than you would with an on-site data centre or comms room.


Colocation solutions

When your business owns its networking equipment, servers, and storage, it’s tempting to host it all on-site. After all, it might seem like a waste to have all the equipment and have to pay someone else to host it. But you should keep in mind that office spaces are designed to meet the needs of people, not critical IT equipment.

Servers and related hardware has its own needs. These needs are specialised and highly technical. For each group – either servers or people – their needs have to be met for them to be optimally productive.

Considering a colocation service may be the best choice you could make for your business to address all these needs

Contact us to speak with an expert.

How to decide between half and full rack colocation

You’ve decided that colocated services are the way forward for your business. You want a reliable data centre so you don’t have to worry about building, maintaining and updating a large computing facility. These rentable data centres take care of all the extra expenses and work with the kind of security that provides peace of mind.

However, you’ll need to analyse the pros and cons when deciding whether a full or half rack is the best solution for your business. Read on to learn more about these options so you can make the most informed decision.


What is Colocation? 

Colocation can be a difficult concept to describe if you’re new to it. Simply put, the term means that servers and other IT equipment from many different companies are ‘co-located’ within one data centre. 

Also referred to as a ‘colo,’ these data centre facilities rent out rack space to third parties. It’s a simple solution designed to assist businesses that don’t have enough resources to maintain their own data centre, but still need the benefits.

Some of the benefits include lower costs, fewer members of staff, easier scalability, and the ability to choose a data centre that’s near your users. Last but not least, because the contracts you sign last at least one year, your monthly expenses are extremely predictable.


Half rack colocation

Half racks offer 20U of colocation space – a perfect solution if your needs are on the smaller end of the spectrum. At 1.75”, a rack unit (or ‘U’) measures the thickness of a single unit server.

Because of the smaller size, most half rack options are less expensive than full rack options, typically ranging between £299.00 to £479.00 per month. They also include: 

  • Power feeds of 2 to 8 amps at 240v
  • Multiple connectivity options 
  • Lockable, segregated racks for extra security

This isn’t a good solution for your business if you’re planning on growing beyond 20U, as you’d need to migrate to a larger enclosure, or contract for another. Half racks don’t give you a lot of available room to add additional equipment, but if you don’t predict on adding more equipment, this can be the most efficient and cost-effective option for your business.


Full rack colocation

If you do planning on scaling your business and adding more equipment, full racks are generally the best option. The larger size allows you to store many more servers and network equipment. 

Like half rack options, full racks are lockable cabinets for extra security. They can only be accessed by IT professionals that are approved by your business.

Because of the extra cost, you don’t want to pay for space that you don’t need, so make sure that your business actually needs this extra room. However, you may want to consider private cages or suites if you anticipate lots of growth that will soon require multiple cabinets. 

Private cages give you a little extra flexibility, such as adding desks, keyboards, monitors, additional cooling elements and more room for network equipment.


Choosing your colocation service provider

There are many providers available for colocated services, and it can be overwhelming to decide who to go with. After all, this is a long term decision that will determine the safety and upkeep of your IT equipment. 

Besides software, hardware, and cost, here are some important aspects to consider:

Security

Ensure that the provider offers both logical and physical security. Logical security is more difficult to determine than physical security, so do your research, or talk to a provider’s customer service department for clarity. You also want features such as biometric or security card access, 24×7 on-site personnel, and the ability to mitigate DDoS attacks.

Carrier options

It’s important that the data centre has various connectivity options available, including a range of blended transit and off-net, direct connection options. The best will be able to provide a wealth of options to suit any budget and requirement. 

Contracts and SLA

Part of the contract should include an SLA (Service Level Agreement) that guarantees certain levels of service, such as uptime, throughput and the mean time between failures and recovery. Ensure that you compare SLAs with the providers you’re considering, and find the one that gives you the most security.

Privacy

Make sure that the colocation service provider you’re considering has the necessary technology, policies, and procedures in place to match your regulatory compliance requirements. For instance, if your data is being transferred to another country, determine the privacy laws there and if any would be violated. 

On-Site Monitoring and Managing 

It’s important to find a provider that provides a consistent temperature-controlled environment. However, that’s not all you need to ensure your equipment is working properly. 

It’s necessary to keep track of the on-site security measures, cooling performance, power conditioning and the general operation of your equipment. You can do this yourself by travelling to the data centre on a regular basis. Another option is to determine if your provider also offers managed services. 

Moreover, environmental probes, rack monitors and power management software can help you monitor the health of your equipment even when you’re not at the location.

The My Netwise customer control panel provides most of this data to end clients as standard, meaning less of this responsibility is placed on the service user.


Colocated services for your business

As you can see, choosing a half rack versus a full rack service is all about your infrastructure needs in the moment. You also need to take into account your anticipated growth.

Geographic flexibility and the ability to travel to your colocation provider is important. It’s also recommended to shop around to find the best deals, SLAs, and features for your area.

Now that you know which option is best for your business, contact Netwise today. As one of the UK’s leading colocation service providers, we offer state of the art, highly resilient private facilities

What is data center hosting and how can it help me?

A data center is a facility that encompasses a company’s IT services and data management. Learn more about data center hosting in this guide.

While many large companies are starting to build bigger data centers, most small to medium-sized businesses can’t afford to do that. Rather than trying to compete, data center hosting lets your company store information and have your customers connect to servers in a remote location. In these locations, things are better maintained than they would be in-house.

Here are just a few reasons you should consider data centre hosting.


Secure your data better

With the average cost of a data breach now somewhere around £3 million, you can’t afford to let go of your critical information. For small and medium businesses, it’s hard to have the same kind of infrastructure to protect you as large enterprises. However, with a dedicated data centre taking care of your client and company data, you get the same protection that large companies rely on.

New ways of stealing information are created every day. There’s a lot of incentive for people to steal your data, no matter what industry you’re in. Information about your customers can be sold to companies who want to market to them or even competitors who want to steal customers from you.

Data centres not only keep your information protected physically, but they also assist with digital protect, to protect against intrusion over the network. With on-site staff and a high level of clearance needed to even get to your server, only a few privileged people ever get within a few feet of your servers. That means they can’t connect to the nearby network and they can’t harm the physical servers.


Compliance matters

As an increasing number of companies are being held responsible for the hacks that happen to their customers, you could be next. Rather than ending up in the news for all of the good work that you do, you could be in the news because of a huge security breach. If you’re in the medical industry or working on government contracts, this could cost you your job.

Using a data centre ensures that you’re compliant to the needs of your customers and clients. It costs companies a lot in time and energy to keep up with the changing compliance issues. Colocation allows you to take those worries off of your list.

Rather than losing your clients because of mismanaged accounts, let one of your competitors take the heat for that. Take advantage of the fact that data centres are well versed in how to protect your critical systems to keep you from a bad audit of your data management.


Cost savings

Ask any business owner and they’ll tell you the number one line-item cost that they worry about from day to day is the cost of staffing. However, if you want to have your data managed properly and your system up to date, you need to pay for the best talent out there.

Thankfully, data centres have done the work to hire the most talented IT staff around. Because they need people who can learn on the fly and also who have experience with a variety of challenges, they attract serious talent.

The cost of having a reliable IT professionals on staff who are flexible enough to handle anything thrown at them could drag down your profits. Instead, with a data center handling your company’s servers, you get a team of people who can tackle any issue. You’ll have immense flexibility to grow, scale, or implement new technology without having to take on massive staffing costs.


Scalability

Building your own data centre is challenging. Even if you’re in the tech industry, making space for servers and equipment is hard. Then you’ve got to make sure you’ve designed everything to stay cool and temperature controlled.

Rather than having to invest in real estate when you want to offer more to your clients, you can let someone else deal with that.

Building an in-house data centre also means that you need to know in advance how much space you will need. If you’re on a path toward growth, you could over or under-build, meaning you have to take on the whole project again in a year or two.

If you decide you need to grow, you can expand your services inside a data centre in 24 hours or less. If things are slowing and you need to scale down temporarily, you can often do it in the same amount of time. Data centre hosting can be form-fitted around your business needs.


Less to maintain

Maintaining your data centre is a hidden cost of building one. The cooling elements, power supplies, UPS batteries, and generators all need to be taken care of.

If you’re already stretched thin, adding a layer of maintenance is going to cause you some serious headaches.

Using a data centre means that you’ve got someone else worrying about batteries, fuel, and temperatures. They’ll also test and maintain redundancy on a regular basis.

You could save money and time without ever having to worry about major infrastructure upgrades or power supply issues ever again.


Data center hosting is a smart solution

Rather than taking on the nitty-gritty details of data management, data centre hosting gives you the chance to focus on building your business. Just like you’d hire someone to clean up your office in the evenings, hire someone to be the custodian of your critical business systems who have the tools to do it.

For more of the kinds of services a data centre can provide, check out our guide to connectivity.