For a company looking for a web hosting solution, a plethora of options are available nowadays: shared hosting, VPS hosting, dedicated hosting, cloud hosting and colocation. Colocation is popular among businesses seeking benefits of a large data center without the heavy expenditure that comes along with it. If you are not aware of what colocation is and how it can benefit your business, read on.
What is Colocation?
Colocation is a hosting model wherein an organization rents space in a third-party-owned data center to house its servers. The client owns the servers and, is therefore, responsible for maintaining their hardware and software. The service provider offers an IP address, bandwidth, power, security and cooling equipment in addition to space for the uninterrupted functioning of servers. In a colocation service, space can be rented by rack, cage or room.
Colocation should not be confused with managed dedicated hosting where the service provider owns the servers and holds responsibility for managing and maintaining them. In colocation, the onus of managing servers lies on the client.
How does Colocation Work?
Colocation services in India are chosen by businesses who already own hardware and software but are reluctant to host them on their own premises. They, therefore, lease space in a data center facility who offer to house their servers in a secure, controlled environment for a fee.
The client moves its hardware to the data center wherein they set up and configure their servers. Typically, no physical contact occurs between the colocation provider and the client hardware unless the latter specifically requests for special assistance (called as remote hands).
As long as the servers remain in the colocation facility, the service provider assumes the responsibility for maintaining an environment conducive to the seamless running of these servers. They offer redundant power supply, sophisticated cooling technology, robust security as well as protection against natural disasters.
Key Benefits of Choosing a Colocation Service for your Business
Reliability: Uninterrupted power access and network are crucial to the smooth running of a business. Colocation facilities offer redundancy and resilience not possible in an in-house setup. Most of the colocation centers offer over 99% network uptime. They are connected to multiple sources of power including backup generators; this would be difficult to implement in-house.
Scalability: As a business expands, it requires more capacity. This can be easily achieved in a colocation center where there is plenty of rackspace and bandwidth. The nature of the service allows you to scale on the go.
Security: Colocation centers have robust security measures in place to control access to servers. These typically include high-resolution CCTVs, biometric access, fire alarms and armed manpower at all strategic points.
Reduced Costs: For several businesses, an on-premises data center is an inefficient option. By choosing a colocation facility, you do not need to invest in an optimal infrastructure to house your hardware. You can choose a ‘remote hands’ add-on in your colocation service and allow on-premises technicians to perform server maintenance on your behalf whenever required. This also trims down the expenses involved in hiring IT personnel.
Compliance: Businesses that deal with sensitive data such as those working in healthcare and finance need to comply with specific regulations. E.g. Organizations operating in the healthcare space have to adhere to HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act). Their IT infrastructure and configuration should be aligned accordingly. Colocation hosts offer an environment that helps them achieve such compliance easily.
Is Colocation a Good Fit for my business?
Colocation is suitable for medium-to-large-sized businesses that do not have an existing server environment. A small business may not be able to achieve economies of scale needed to benefit from colocation. They may have just a couple of machines that they can easily install on their premises.
If you are looking for a managed hosting service, colocation is not the solution you should opt for. Because a colocation host manages only the server environment. Any changes in server maintenance or configuration is the responsibility of the client. So, colocation will not serve your purpose.
Furthermore, colocation services in India pose restrictions with regard to physical access. When you move servers to an off-site location, you have to travel to the colocation site or send a technician if you need to replace or repair them. This incurs additional expenses in terms of both time and money. So, if you need to access your servers frequently, choose a colocation provider situated nearby or go for an in-house solution.
The Final Word
Colocation helps you leverage the network and power capabilities of a data center without the hassle of setting up infrastructure on your premises. It curtails the cost of bandwidth and power through redundant infrastructure and security. It ensures a high uptime for smooth functioning of your applications and benefits your business in the long run.