Colocation has been around for a while. In fact, it first became available in 1998, the same year iomart was founded (coincidence? Well, yes, to be honest).
So while it might not be the latest “sexy” solution on the block, it still has a crucial role to play in many global IT strategies. But why is that?
What exactly is colocation?
Company data can be stored on servers located “on-premise” (in your place, like your office for example). However, as the time, money and skills required to manage data storage infrastructure increases, more and more businesses are looking to take advantage of off-site facilities.
Colocation is one popular solution to this problem. With this option, you continue to own your racks and servers, but you move them out of your own office space and pay a provider to house them for you in their secure data centre. Essentially, you get to “co-locate” your equipment by renting space in an off-site data centre.
So, if you prefer to keep your data on your own physical servers, but maybe need a speedier network or more resilient infrastructure, then colocation might just be your answer.
So why do businesses choose colocation?
1. Reduce costs
Colocation hosting can help you make significant financial savings on infrastructure operating costs, including power, and support budgeting with a predictable monthly price. Most service providers can offer colocation based on a monthly fee depending on how much rack space, power and bandwidth you need.
2. Improve reliability
It’s super important your hardware can cope with changing demand. And moving your equipment into a serviced data centre means technical experts can monitor your servers round-the-clock to ensure a stable and controlled operating environment. These sites can also have dual independent power feeds and on-site generators to ensure power redundancy.
3. Superior connectivity
Colocation services offer superior connectivity with links to multiple internet service providers, ensuring top performance even in the event of the connection being interrupted or overloaded. Our UK data centres are also inter-connected with a high-speed 100 GB private fibre network, offering the lowest latency.
4. Data sovereignty
If you are hesitant about moving to the cloud because of risks around data sovereignty, then colocation can put your mind at ease. Data centres based in the UK, typically close to your office base, mean data is stored and managed locally.
5. Access and control
It might be really important that you can continue to access and manage your servers directly. With colocation, your IT team will be able to manage the day-to-day maintenance of your servers remotely. Your security-cleared IT team can also have access to data centres 24/7, so your equipment will always be available to you, even though it’s located off-site.
6. Robust security
Security is naturally high on the agenda for most businesses. But staying on top of the latest updates and maintaining a secure environment is a full time job. With colocation, the security of the infrastructure is managed by the data centre provider. Infrastructure will be regularly tested to make sure it complies with stringent industry-standard security policies and audit guidelines. Offline security will also be a major focus, with facilities managed and monitored all year round, including: 24/7 interior and perimeter video surveillance, alarm monitoring, biometric and ingress/egress key card access controls and more.
7. No more traffic jams
With colocation you can enjoy more flexibility and move to a higher bandwidth to support traffic demands without additional investment in infrastructure. Data spikes are spread out over time across multiple users, so it keeps bandwidth costs down and performance up.
8. Skilled people
It’s no secret, highly skilled cloud infrastructure teams are hard to come by – and expensive. Offloading your racks and servers to a data centre provider also gives you access to their skilled teams. With established cloud experts on hand, you can have access to the people you need to maintain your equipment.
9. Better sustainability
Data storage requires a lot of energy, and we mean a lot. With more and more focus being placed on sustainable business practices, outsourcing your infrastructure could be a neat way to offload your carbon impact. Of course, the energy is still being consumed, but the responsibility for sustainable operations lies with the data centre provider. Look for suppliers using renewable power sources and industry standard certifications like ISO 50001 and ISO 14001.
10. Support growth
Renting space in a larger data centre through colocation means you have the ability to expand your operations as your business grows. As your company grows, your data storage and connectivity requirements increase. This can mean a significant financial outlay to expand your infrastructure. But, with colocation, you can grow your networks without being required to purchase more equipment or building space.
11. A gradual step
If you think you might want to move everything into a private or public cloud solution in the future, but you aren’t quite ready to take the leap, then colocation can be a good starting point. Moving your racks and servers to an off-site data centre can give you more capacity, faster performance and high resilience. But still allows you to stay in control of the equipment and the environment until you’re ready to try something new.