Colocation FAQs: Everything a Business Should Know

What is colocation?
Colocation services provide space for a business to store its IT-related equipment and data. Facilities that offer this service are called data centers. A business can store its computer servers and other equipment on the data center’s premises. 

 
Who needs colocation hosting?
Businesses that want full control over their IT infrastructures and the way they’re managed should consider colocation. Colocation is the best business solution for backing up and protecting sensitive data from power outages and natural disasters. 

 
Who supplies the IT equipment?
When using a colocation service, the client supplies and owns its servers. This typically involves a server being configured before delivery to the colocation facility. A center’s technicians can also be hired to help with set up and configuration, if desired. There are some colocation facilities where servers are available for rent. Some even offer custom servers that are designed through their company.

Does a colocation provider make sure the client’s machine stays online?
This depends on the service provider. Most providers offer server monitoring services. These can be included in the original contract or as an add-on. If a client requests, the provider assumes responsibility for monitoring the client’s system and ensuring it runs correctly. Other problems, like a custom-written application that cause server issues, are the client’s responsibility.

Who fixes server hardware if something goes wrong with it?
This also depends on the agreement the client has with the colocation provider. Most providers offer hardware-support contracts. If this is part of the contract, the provider assumes responsibility for maintaining the mechanical operations of the client’s machines. If the client does not have a hardware agreement with the provider, it can pay for diagnosis and repair, as needed. This can often be at a premium. It can also send its own technician to the premises.

Are there limitations on server size?
Different pricing and limitations are put in place depending on the size of the client’s server(s). Generally, servers that take up less space are to colocate than servers that take up more space. Most data centers will also offer a variety of packages depending on the overall size of the company’s IT infrastructure. These range from the use of racks for companies with less equipment to the dedicated suites for the larger business’ needs. Limitations might also be placed on mid-tower and full-tower cases. Some data centers only have room for rack-mount servers, but others offer space for towers, as well. 

 
What factors should the client consider when selecting a provider?
Choosing a colocation provider is a detailed process. When selecting a provider, the business needs to consider several key factors:

Bandwidth – What are the available bandwidth options, and what are the costs if the monthly limit is exceeded? Most facilities will set charge per use, by monthly limit or using the 95th percentile model.
Connectivity – What Internet connection size does the provider have? How many total connections do they have, in the event of an emergency? Carrier-neutral facilities, that provide access to several Internet providers, are the best. They can offer uninterrupted connection and cost savings.
Redundancy – Are data backups included, and what level? What is the cost of additional levels of data backup? In addition, is there a redundant power supply? What is the facilities uptime guarantee?

Hardware Support – Are hardware support contracts offered? If yes, what is the turnaround time for repair? Are live technicians onsite at all times? Does the provider keep parts on hand, or do they need to be ordered?

Server Monitoring – Are server monitoring services available to ensure the client’s system is running and functional 24/7/365?

Rack Space or Dedicated Suites – Based on the size of the IT infrastructure, what are the housing price options?More information about colocation pricing can be found at www.datafoundry.com/colocation-pricing/

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