What is Server Colocation (Colo)?


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Managing an on-premise server environment can be challenging, but professional server colocation services offer a more efficient and cost-effective option for many organizations. With this service, companies can grow their IT departments and benefit from enhanced security. To help you better understand server colocation, VPLS offers an overview of the service and the benefits it can bring to your business.

Defining Colocation

Colocation, or colo, most commonly occurs when an organization does not have the proper on-site environment to store existing hardware or software. The business leases space from a data center facility that offers colocation services and arranges its servers for remote use. This setup typically requires no in-person communication after setup unless the company requests remote assistance from the provider. 

What the Data Center Provides

If your business chooses colocation, you will be in charge of supplying and supervising your servers. However, the facility will provide numerous other services, including:

  • Compliance: Many hosting providers follow compliance guidelines for businesses that handle sensitive data, such as healthcare facilities. These settings deliver the infrastructure companies need to follow regulations.
  • Cooling: Servers and Network hardware produce substantial amounts of heat, making effective cooling systems necessary to avoid damage. Data centers keep servers at ideal temperatures to ensure they run smoothly.
  • Power: Providers strive to deliver maximum uptime through redundant power sources. This power includes any utility a server needs, backed up by an emergency generator, and conditioned by a UPS to handle any electrical irregularities so that the customer equipment maintains 100% uptime.
  • Disaster recovery: Power sources can fail, making it vital for data centers to prepare for disasters. Many providers set up facilities in areas of low risk and utilize backup generators in case of power outages. They may also use more than one internet provider to keep servers running if a service goes down.
  • Security: Data centers have numerous safeguards in place to protect the physical security of any business hardware, including biometric locks, cameras, onsite security staff, and require ID badges for authorized access.
  • Storage: Hosts typically offer three storage options — cabinets, cages, and suites. Cabinets hold multiple servers in racks, while cages house several cabinets in a separate, locked area. Suites are large, private rooms within the data center for clients with larger power and space requirements.

Data Center Considerations

While colocation services are similar across most facilities, not all data centers have the same capabilities. For example, a data center in an area prone to more natural disasters should have a more durable construction. When choosing a host, be sure to consider their power usage effectiveness (PUE). The PUE score expresses how efficiently a facility utilizes power. Companies with good PUE scores are more eco-conscious and usually charge less for power usage.

Advantages of Server Colocation

Although colocation is an ideal choice for businesses that already own servers, other organizations can also profit from moving hardware to a data center. Consider the following benefits to companies that choose colocation services:

Lower Costs

Many organizations opt for colocation because it reduces infrastructure and maintenance expenses. Instead of building a data center on-premises, you can simply rent space from a remote facility. Spending fewer funds on housing servers gives you greater room in your budget for productive IT investments.

Increased Scalability

Data centers have ample space to accommodate multiple pieces of equipment, making it easier for companies to scale up. Additionally, colocation provides complete control over your servers. You can use software to manage hardware remotely or have data center technicians help with maintenance. Either way, colo allows you to devote more time and resources to growth strategies.

Enhanced Uptime

Businesses require reliable uptime to maximize server usage. Colocation providers offer several features to improve uptime, including infrastructure redundancy and service level agreements (SLAs). SLAs outline the conditions of colocation services and protect your company if the host does not deliver the expected results.

Access to Support

Managed colocation services not only provide organizations with server space, but also a wealth of onsite IT support. These specialists have extensive IT knowledge and can help your IT team tackle diverse issues with hardware, software, network, and security management.

Partner with VPLS for Trusted Colocation Services

If your business needs server colocation, turn to VPLS for solutions. Our customers can choose from multiple cabinets, cages, and suites for housing hardware and receive server support from a team of experienced IT professionals. We also provide cross connections that allow companies to access private carriers, clouds, and networks within our data centers.

Regardless of the size or capacity of your business, VPLS is committed to helping you find a colocation solution that meets your needs. We serve over 7,000 international customers that work in numerous industries and sectors, from healthcare to entertainment media.

Contact us today to learn more about our colocation services.

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