Author Topic: What is colocation?  (Read 4136 times)

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What is colocation?
« on: August 07, 2010, 09:17:58 AM »
A brief overview of colocation.
A colocation data center is a secure building with high speed internet connectivity where internet service providers and other companies physically locate their network equipment and connect it to the internet.
Typically a data center will benefit from a huge power supply, back up diesel generators, high capacity air conditioning and fibre connections to the internet.
Companies co-locate their servers in data centers as the cost of building and running their own data center would be prohibitive.
How much does it cost?
There are two costs associated with colocated servers - rack space rental fees and internet connectivity fees.
Rental Fees: These are the costs associated with having your server physically located in a data center. The price is dependant on the size of the server you want to co-locate. Most servers these days are either 1U or 2U servers. This is how servers are measured and it relates to the height of a server. 1U is approximately 4cm. Servers with many hard disks can be as big as 5U.
Connectivity Fees: Once your server is in the data center it needs to be connected to the internet. Connectivity is generally (but not always) provided by the data center and different connection speeds are available. Connectivity speeds are measured in Mbps (megabits per second).
Many people get confused between Megabits and Megabytes; data transmission speeds are measured in Megabits per second.
Things to consider
You are entrusting the care of your server to the data center so there are a few issues to consider.
The data center: The data center facility should have a UPS system and a backup generator to provide power in the event of a mains failure.
Security and Access: The data center must be secure and strict security procedures should be in place to restrict access to your equipment - but make sure that you can get to your equipment when you need to.
Bandwidth: Not all internet connections are as they seem. If you are paying for speed restricted connection (for example 1Mbps) then make sure that you are able to utilise 100% of your connection 100% of the time. Some companies sell shared bandwidth which means that you might not be getting what you are paying for.
IP Addresses: You might only need a couple of IP addresess - or you might need several hundred. Find out if your colocation facility can provide you with the IP numbers you need and if there is a charge. Most colocation providers will let you use as many IP numbers as you need as long as you can justify their use under the terms permitted by Afrinic (the organisation that issues IP numbers in Africa).
Contract: The small print is always important. You should read any contracts carefully and take particular note of the terms of service, uptime guarantees and the contract length. Getting tied into a long term may not be beneficial especially if your circumstances change.