The business of a colocation data centre is leasing physical space that client organisations can use to set up their servers. This is close to the same service provided by a wholesale data centre; the key difference is that the space in a colocation centre is split up and leased to multiple clients. In both models, tenants lease computing space that provides power, connectivity, security, cooling, and some on-site technical support services. Wholesale centres are leased in their entirety, while colocation centres lease to multiple tenants, sometimes even down to the level of individual racks.
Why Not Just Operate My Servers On My Own Premises?
If you have the properly-appointed space to operate the servers you need on your premises, more power to you. Many organisations find their computing needs expanding rapidly when they expand or take on new work. As those needs increase, the facilities required to meet them become more complex and costly, and it becomes less feasible to meet them without a dedicated data centre environment. It is costly to build and maintain a proper data centre in terms of both financial resources and IT expertise. There are practical considerations as well: an enterprise-level data centre may eat up too much floor space and make a facility too noisy for office work.
When is it Time to Consider Moving to a Colocation Centre?
Changing circumstances will usually make it clear to a growing organisation that it’s no longer reasonable to try and meet their data centre needs internally. This realisation is often triggered by a major change in the organisation: a move to a new office, a merger, team growth, or budget changes.
Is Service the Same at Every Colocation Centre?
Every company that offers colocation space provides the same general benefits (security, connectivity, purpose-built environmental controls, etc) described above. It’s important to carefully inspect the different colocation offers available to you before making any decisions, though! The slate of services covered by your lease can vary significantly between different providers. You should also be aware that what’s touted by the service provider may not match what they are capable of actually delivering.
Which Points Should I Consider?
- Location: You want a colocation centre that is easy for your team to access – but not one that’s insecure.
- Resilience: Providers offer a range of resilience levels depending on how their data centre is designed. Evaluate your business’s resilience needs and seek a matching service provider.
- Security: Remember to consider physical security as well as network security. How is access to the centre controlled? Is the operator diligent about physical security measures?
- Connectivity: A flexible provider offering multiple bandwidth options will help you purchase only the services you need and keep you from wasting money.
- Power: Is the centre energy-efficient? Will you have to bear some of the cost of energy consumption that could be avoided at a more efficient centre? What kinds of batteries do they use, APCRBC113 or something else?
- Extra Services: What sort of support services does the centre offer? There is a complete range of service levels offered by different providers. Some operate their centres as dark sites where any services provided will be costly, particularly out of hours. Others (like Datum) provide full round-the-clock service to maximise the centre’s ability to satisfy its clients.
- Growth Flexibility: Are you going to have to sign a restrictive contract for fixed services, or is the provider prepared to adjust your contract based on your business’s changing needs? Does the service provider offer support services or access to the same to assist you with IT changes brought on by growth or realignment?
- Accreditation/In-Person Inspection: Verify a provider’s claims by check up on their third-party accreditations. When possible, make a first-hand visit to the colocation centre and confirm that they actually adhere to their stated security and resilience procedures.
A colocation centre just might be the perfect solution for your changing IT needs. The space you lease could make it easier to get all the support your organisation needs without paying prohibitively high prices for it. While your needs will vary according to your business’s specific situation, one thing you must find is a colocation provider that you can trust.