Colocation or the cloud? It’s a hot debate in the IT world, but more and more IT managers are leaning—heavily—towards colocation services. According to TechRepublic’s Michael Kassner, going with colocation providers gives IT managers “more control, less costs, and security tends to be greater.” When you compare those perks to the risks of a VM server rental or even housing servers on-site (which is exorbitantly expensive), it’s no wonder why the industry is having a love affair with colocation hardware that is built to last.
When colocation servers first became a viable option, many IT managers thought it was unnecessary extra work. However, it has become clear that colocation fills a gap in the industry. Of course, sharing servers is a great way to save money, but what about security issues? This has led many companies to buy their own servers, but then they’re stuck not being able to manage them well. Sharing isn’t always caring in the world of IT security, but the Fort Knox-like safeguarding of top notch colocation data centers, such as those in Utah, is putting security worry to rest.
The Pros of Renting
By opting into a colocation service, you are renting space for any number of “your” servers and depending on experts to manage the servers as well as the data center where it is housed. This means optimal cooling, access to the internet, prime network connections and of course physical security to keep your investment safe. Contracts vary, but in most cases you are in charge of actually buying the server and any software—but that’s it. Everything else is taken care of by professionals.
Using such a service provider gets rid of the risk of having “noisy neighbors” poking around, which can happen when a server is managed on your site. Plus, you’re saving a bundle on costs of bandwidth. At a data center, these service providers can strike a major deal for internet services and bandwidth than you could ever manage alone. You will also be able to take advantage of network connections which are redundant, along with power that cannot be interrupted. In some instances, companies like yours might have a great backup generator, but it is very rare to have a bevy of internet connections—all from different providers—to ensure non-stop access.
Additionally, owning your server and software means that you do not have to deal with negotiating prices with the colocation provider. Should there be a necessary replacement or update, you will not feel “trapped” with a colocation provider who tries to get you to pony up a little extra cash. You are completely free to shop around, all while knowing the data center where your server is housed will be there to house the upgrade. Finally, there is simply no comparing security. A colocation service provider’s data center is virtually impenetrable if you do your due diligence and secure a top notch provider.
Avoiding the Cons
Are there cons to using a colocation service provider? There certainly can be, which is why it is paramount to research the data center you’re picking. For example, one major con might be the location of the provider and/or their data center. If the data center is really far away, it might take extra time for systems to get back online in an “emergency.” A natural disaster could certainly wipe out a data center. That is why a region like Utah is a prime location for data centers, because it has plenty of regions perfect for data centers and that are virtually natural disaster-free.
In some instances, you may find a colocation provider who doesn’t offer 24/7 access, which doesn’t make much sense since you don’t run your website during banker’s hours. Finally, there is the issue of price; there is no regulated standard, so you need to pinpoint your colocation service budget and find a local company that can meet your needs and bottom line.
Narrowing Down the Top Contenders
How can you choose the best Utah colocation provider for you? Consider the “Six Important Considerations When Choosing a Colocation Provider” report from CenturyLink. You need to know their capabilities, particularly if you would like extra services. Location is key, and that means more than how often access is allowed. A local provider minimizes data replication problems as well as network latency. Many companies want certain connectivity options, and a provider that owns their own network offers an extra perk, particularly when you are optimizing traffic flow or need connectivity issues to be fixed quickly.
Both compliance and security should be a top priority. While a great data center is always aware of both network and physical security, it’s your job to do a double check and ask questions. You should also make sure any provider you choose adheres to any regular requirements dictated by your company’s movements. Of course, 100 percent uptime for backup power and power is a must. Read the service-level agreement (SLA) carefully to make sure it’s on par with what you need in infrastructure and support.
If you can get your needs met at a lower cost, why wouldn’t you pursue that track? It is exactly what a prime colocation provider has to offer.