What is Colocation?

A colocation (or colo) is a data center where organizations can rent servers and other cloud hardware rather than needing to own it themselves.

Colos will provide the physical infrastructure (facility, cooling, power, bandwidth, and security) and offer servers and storage. The pricing model for leasing space can be by rack, cabinet, cage or room. Colos can also offer their own managed services.

What do I need to know about Colocation?

A primary driver of colocation adoption is the capital expenditures (CAPEX) associated with large data centers. Colos have greatly expanded into the cloud space and are now popular among cloud solutions providers (CSPs).

Beyond the physical assets you get access to, the modern colocation data center provides managed services. Different colos will have different offerings such as managed IT or hybrid cloud. Some colos will provide direct connection to a public cloud provider like Microsoft Azure.

Understanding colocation can help with a general understanding of the cloud. The cloud is the services, powered by infrastructure that power your business. Colocation is a literal place. It is the underlying physical infrastructure that makes those cloud services possible.

There are potential drawbacks when your infrastructure is away from your workplace. There are additional travel costs and time spent when you need to physically manage that infrastructure. Colos may require a long-term agreement that does not allow you to take advantage of falling rates. Organizations need to look at the fine print of their service level agreements (SLAs) to understand what they are committing to.

Is Colocation the right option for my business?

Two primary colocation models are available today:

-Wholesale. With this model, you lease data center space customized to meet your needs. This model is best if you have large power requirements or need more than 10,000 square feet of space.
-Retail. With this model, you lease space inside a cage. Consider this option if you don’t require a lot of power and can fit your equipment into less than 2,500 square feet of space.

Once you know which model fits your needs, be sure to vet the colocation provider who goes above and beyond. A partner who understands your business needs, offers managed services, and can scale when you need to.

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