When businesses are deciding where to host their vital resources—email, key applications, and company data—the conversation usually revolves around two options: company-owned servers at the office or servers owned and maintained by a cloud vendor (commonly referred to as “the cloud”). But a third option, though not discussed as often, might be a better fit for some businesses. And that’s data center colocation.
Data center colocation involves renting space and an internet connection in a data center for a company-owned server. It gives businesses increased control over the hardware that hosts their critical data assets while also providing an ideal hosting environment at a location other than a company’s premises.
To help you figure out if colocation is a viable option for your company, we created a list ofthe top five benefitscolocation offers. If one or more of these stand out as something your company needs, colocation is worth considering. Our systems engineers can help you walk through these benefits and answer any questions you have.
1. Ideal Connection
Any data center worth its salt will be able to provide you with a fast, clean, and reliable connection to the internet via fiber. In many cases, this connection will be much better than what is available from any of the major ISPs at your office.
This makes colocation attractive to businesses who have critical resources that rely on a consistent connection to the internet. For instance, if you do a lot of business over email, and speed of response is critical for you, then colocation might be your best bet for hosting. Even if the internet service at your office isn’t down, the connection may still be unreliable, and varying connection speeds can wreak havoc with email. Plus, a benefit of having your email in colocation is that if the internet goes down at your office, you can still check and send email from a secondary connection, such as your smartphone’s mobile hotspot.
Beyond making fast and reliable connections available to their customers, most data centers also take other measures to ensure uptime. Usually included in the colocation fee are safeguards such as enterprise-class UPSes, which can keep servers running for hours in the event of a power outage. Plus, most data centers have even more layers of failsafes for power as well, such as generators that can supply equipment with power for days in the event of a more serious outage.
3. Ideal Physical Conditions
Data centers also provide ideal physical conditions for servers and networking equipment. The temperature is controlled and kept cool to help prevent overheating and extend the life of your hardware. Safeguards are also in place to protect your equipment against natural disasters, from floods to tornados. When Nashville experienced an unexpected flood in 2010, the 365 Data Center, which is located downtown, did not suffer damage nor was service interrupted.
Colocation puts your equipment in as secure an environment as possible. Building security for data centers is typically very high, and measures are taken, such as locks on cages and rack cabinets, to prevent unauthorized individuals from accessing your equipment. This is an especially important benefit for businesses that need extra security but don’t have a secure location within their office for their servers and networking equipment. As a reminder, physical security is an important but often forgotten component of compliance with regulations such as HIPAA.
While hosting your servers and network gear in a data center may not make them as accessible as if they were in your office, they are far more accessible to you and your IT team than if you went for a full “cloud” solution. While full cloud hosting has its advantages, it does remove access to the physical hardware hosting and routing your data and applications. If a problem occurs, the cloud vendor is the only one who can address it.
With colocation, you and your designated IT professionals still maintain physical control over the hardware, and can address any issues that arise on your timing. And, for all the reasons listed above, maintenance and troubleshooting are much easier (and therefore less expensive!) in a colocation environment because factors such as a loss of power or loss of connectivity can usually be ruled out quickly.