You have most likely heard of shared, VPS and Dedicated web hosting. What all of these kinds of web hosting have in common, is that they are all managed hosting. In each case, you approach a hosting provider who then rents out a server to you for a certain cost, and depending on whether you choose a shared, VPS or dedicated hosting service, you get to share the pie, or bite into a larger more exclusive piece of it or own on the whole pie, which is the case with a dedicated server. All of these hosting options are managed by your chosen hosting provider, be it Bluehost, Hostgator, Arvixe or any other. Colocation hosting on the other hand has nothing to do with managed hosting. So, what is it all about. Co-location hosting is the practice of housing privately owned servers, including other networking tools in a third party collocation center or data center.
Colocation hosting is whole different animal compared to managed hosting. With collocation hosting, the customer already has ownership of the server and rents the required physical space within in a data centre to install the server. This kind of setup is a completely different ball game; in this setup you own the equipment entirely and you alone are responsible for managing your server and hosting, which is very different from having a hosting provider manage your hosting account for you. With Co-location, instead of a hosting provider renting out their server to you, you approach a data center that rents out a physical space to you to house your privately owned server. Along with the space for your server and other networking paraphernalia, the data center also provides you with the necessary infrastructure, including physical security, power, bandwidth as well as cooling systems and other essentials for the successful functioning of your privately owned and dedicated server.
Sever Housing and Installation
Your server is installed using ‘racks’ and ‘cabinets’. A rack is a standardized structure for mounting equipment and hardware, usually horizontally. A complete rack unit of 47 U is called a Cabinet. The hardware that is to placed on too of a rack is measured in rack units (U, where I unit=1.75 inches). The cost of a co-location plan is calculated from the number of units required. s. Your final cost, boils down to the needs of your company and the scalability that you are looking to achieve. Depending on those factors, you can choose to rent different cabinet sizes.
Benefits of Co-location Hosting
Economies of Scale: Co-location is for businesses that are looking to benefit from economies of scale. With this hosting arrangement your company has access to higher levels of bandwidth, speeds, security, backup and there is a unique level of reliability built into the system. Co-location centers have a team that is on the ground and committed to the proper functioning of all unites 24/7. Not only do you have better access to space and power, you benefit from an ecosystem of unique partners in the same building.
Higher Security: Security is an important aspect of hosting and if left unsupervised and without the necessary firewalls, business can suffer huge losses from hijackers and internet terrorists. Most data centers these days have security personnel who are trained for anti-terrorism that man the premises 24/7 on top of CCTV employment. For added security, cabinets are enclosed in individual cages or have locks that can only be accessed by the customer. Furthermore, with the advancements in security technology, a number of co-location data centers are beginning to incorporate biometric security measures, such as voice recognition, fingerprint scans and even weight matching apparatus. So, you can be rest assured that your server and data is well guarded and protected from any and all external threats.
Power and Backup: Co-location centers are built and designed for maximum power outage protection. Many centers have diesel powered generators that start automatically when there is power outage and have various levels of redundancy built into them, so that in any event of mechanical failure, the power remains on and client equipment is protected. As a second line of defense customers can also install small Upses in their specific racks/cabinets to protect against failures in the generation system as an extra backup. Overall, the majority of data centers offer excellent power and backup systems, so that business remains smooth.
Bandwidth: Perhaps the greatest benefit of Co-location hosting is extremely high bandwidth and very low costs. Compared with a low cost limited bandwidth business grade DSL that might cost anywhere between $150 to $300, a customer can place their server in a data center that will provide much higher speeds and better redundancy for network connections.
Server Upgrades and Management: Since you, the customer, own your own server, you can directly make necessary changes and upgrades to your sever without appealing to a third party to do the needful for you. Also, if you do not have the necessary IT personnel to look after and manage your server, co-location centers provide the necessary server management at no extra cost to you.
Co-location hosting is ideal for a large businesses that want access to IT type infrastructure and power. If you are a small business, or you are running a blog or website, then the traditional hosting provider is your best option. This type of hosting is an effective way to obtain business continuity, scalability and minimal network latency at a fraction of the cost it takes to accomplish the same things in an in-house setup. Yet at the same time you can maintain complete control over the physical server, the operating system and your applications.