Most fees associated with common colocation services involve charges for usage of bandwidth and server space. However, do not be surprised when there are additional charges imposed for the services. Such extra fees could actually be assessed based on items required for the support of the server. You have to look at several common and additional fees you may encounter. Some colocation providers are including services in base prices so be sure to carefully read all the terms in your contract.
In many cases, server problems could be easily and quickly resolved simply through rebooting the server. In particular instances, there is a need to reboot especially when you are upgrading software and applications. Because the server you use is located in a separate and remote location, there could be logical problems if the server could not be rebooted through a remote connection. Remote reboots would come into play. You just need to call a given support number so you could request for a server power cycling. The function could also be facilitated through a remote power port management. The service could be included in your contract but it could be free only at several times. If you exceed the limit for such service, there would be added charges.
Remote hand is usually called remote technical support for software or hardware issues. You could request for such a service as a customer. This is necessary as you may require more than just rebooting of the computer system. The service usually includes troubleshooting software problems and common hardware issues. Remote hands services are usually excluded from the fixed costs and are billed at costly hourly rates.
When you run a server, there would be a particular domain linked with it. A server could host multiple domain names. Colocation providers usually have many DNS servers that could host your system DNS files. They could include specific numbers of domains that could be hosted by the DNS servers. Such additional domains cost additional fees on a monthly basis.
Colocating services usually have limited IP addresses provided to customers. In most cases, a server require one, although additional IP addresses could also be used to effectively separate services on the PC. Providers would provide certain numbers of IPs, as stated in the contract. Additional IP addresses you may require surely would automatically command additional monthly fees.
Server backups are of course commanding additional monthly costs, as well. You may need such service especially when you do not like the idea of possibly losing important data. Server backups require a server to have compatible software and hardware to be functional.
When a server is put within a colocation facility, it could be exposed or open to network connections from elsewhere across the Internet. It could compromise overall security of the system. Most colocation providers offer placing the server behind a functional firewall. Thus, there would be restricted access to a server going to specific ports. Without a doubt, this calls for an extra monthly charge per port.
A dedicated server could be best for your business especially if you are particular about your online presence. You would not need to share your IT resources. At the same time, you could set up and run your own server as you please. Have you decided about renting or buying your own server? In dedicated hosting, you are actually renting a server from a willing partner or Web host. You could take the option to buy your own server or have a host provide you with the necessary facilities that would house it. This particular service is what colocation is all about.
Dedicated hosting and colocation hosting share almost the same advantages. You could own resources or an entire server and bandwidth so you could do whatever you please to do. There is an additional benefit of dedicated hosting over colocation: you could enjoy lower cost. This is because in dedicated hosting, you own your own server. You would not incur monthly fees on upkeep and hardware maintenance. However, your initial outlay surely would be much larger because you are buying the server. Your overall costs could be lower with colocation especially if you think the server is of high quality and it could last longer.
Costs associated with colocation could depend on the total amount of space that the server would occupy. Servers are housed in racks within data centers. Such racks are housed, in turn, in cabinets. The colocation providers are like renting out spaces for servers. This means you do not need to allocate such space in your office. Your server is remote.
There could be several additional options when buying a server and placing it in a colocation data center. You could purchase a server locally especially if you live in close proximity to the allocated data center. There is an option to set it up at your very own premises. For your convenience, you may also acquire the server from a reputable mail order or online retailer. It could be delivered directly to your data center in no time. This is recommended if your location is far from the data center. Shipping costs would be eliminated and you could be spared from possible damages to the server during its transport.
Colocation simply puts you more in charge of your hardware. However, that means you are also taking full responsibility in case there would be hardware failure. As mentioned, the major advantage of colocation as compared to dedicated hosting is its incurrence of lower monthly costs. Other benefits include bigger control over your network configuration. Of course, there could be better and greater flexibility.
The colocation provider needs to be chosen very carefully. This is because such service host would handle your data and hardware. When getting into any colocation service, do not forget to consider many important details like network redundancy, security, calamity protection, and backup generators so you could be sure your server is always up even when there are inevitable power outages.
In todays context of online businesses, the operative word is colocation. This is the setup where web hosting companies chose to colocate their hardware and infrastructure to third-party service providers.
One of the big reasons is to take advantage of the many advanced security measures the third-party service providers offer.
Because they collect a sizeable pool of income from their clients, colocation providers have invested top-of-the-line security hardware and technology for their system: physical protection of the servers and other equipments, safety of data and applications, and their protection from natural disasters like floods, fires, power failures and the like.
In choosing your colocation provider, you can take a look at these protection measures in these following areas for comparison purposes.
Redundant power sources
Nowadays, accidents and other devastations regarding power and power sources are unpredictable and can wreak havoc in a data center. Utility companies used to be dependable, but todays demand for power has grown so much faster than anybody can anticipate.
Todays colocation service providers have already incorporated the installation of backup generators that run longer. One generator is no longer viable given the unpredictability of public power sources.
What is more, they also have redundant generators that back up the primary units. Multiple power source alternatives are already todays industry standards.
Physical access security
Another critical area that colocation providers offer their clients is on-site security. Actively monitoring and controlling access to the building is a critical factor.
Aside from the must-have physical security measures, colocation providers now include biometric access systems. These systems generally include fingerprint and retina scanning for verification of peoples identities.
So far, these modern sets of apparatus have been far more effective than the now-outdated key cards. (They were notorious for being easily stolen and duplicated.)
Other colocation providers have installed motion-activated surveillance cameras that can monitor activities outside and inside the facilities premises. These cameras have been versatile enough to cover even the grounds surrounding the buildings.
Network access security
Normally, colocation clients are responsible in ensuring that their server hardware is protected with security software. On the other hand, colocation providers must also protect their clients from threats triggered by outside agents as well as from within the network itself.
One example is the now-debarred practice of one client cross-connecting their servers with the other tenants. The main reason is simple reduction of costs.
However, it also introduced a tremendous risk in the sense that if one client is compromised, the attacker is able to access the system of the other clients who had cross-connected for cost savings.
Many colocation providers have now forbidden this practice and had taken severe measures to make sure cross-connecting is not feasible or will not happen in their facilities.
In colocation setups nowadays, both the provider and their customers are expected to share the ongoing common concern for security.
Compromising security is the greatest threat within this partnership. After all, it shall mean a total loss for the customer (sensitive data) and the colocation partner (confidence) where nobody wins.
In the small and medium-sized business circles, colocation had gathered some of the more off-the-wall myths. Probably because it offers solutions in a totally different background, colocation is prone to misconceptions.
Unfortunately, these myths can cloud perceptions and certainly affect decisions. The following are some of the more oft-repeated and widespread myths on colocation going around that you need to know.
Convenience does not depend on the host you choose and where they keep their data. Today, your IT staff can remotely handle most equipment and configuration work.
It does help to have your staff and your equipments close to each other, but on extreme cases, your people can always go to your colocation site to upgrade equipment or software.
Still on the plus side, your colocation facility can provide more space and better equipment organization.
Depending on your own security implementations, your colocation equipments are generally more secure in a colocation facility. Because it is their business, colocation companies equip their facilities with the latest in firewalls, IDS (Intrusion Detection System) and the assurance of a solid physical security (duly monitored cages).
This level of security and the wide array of security technologies may not be affordable for small businesses. Also, the staff of colocation facilities keeps your security patches up-to-date themselves.
Another web hosting scheme
There is a huge difference between a web-hosting deal and a colocation arrangement.
In web hosting, your sites programming code is located inside another business server which is owned by the web hosting company.
In a colocation environment, your companys equipment and software is physically located in the colocation companys data center. Your companys site has its own server and support components.
Web hosting companies usually handle thousands of web site users which your company has to share. In short, your company located in a colocation facility does not compete for critical server resources, bandwidth, storage and CPU. Glitches in other web sites (that usually happens in a web hosting setup) do not affect your business site.
Most colocation centers have redundant Internet connections, power sources and backups. Usually, they run at minimal capacities (less than 80%) so that competition for bandwidth is done away with.
Also, colocation centers employ IT professionals to handle outages and other technical problems on-site.
Colocation services have all the support for their clients physical and network security, data recovery, power systems, and more. These companies even offer customer service by way of emails and phone support and where IT professionals can be reached.
Managed service contracts are available to keep your companys servers fine-tuned, including hardware and software upgrades. The support is only limited by your budget for these colocation services.
Some colocation services offer servers and other components but they can be flexible. This happens when all you rent in a colocation facility is space and connectivity where the servers and the software belong to your company.
This is where you control over what software runs on your companys servers and how powerful those servers can be. On the other hand, the speed of servers and the available software to run them in a web-hosting arrangement are limited to what your host company can provide.
These are some of the more popular myths perpetrated by people who are less familiar about the nature of colocation and its advantages.
You have decided to set up your small business and one of the vital components on your list is a site that can showcase your products and services to the market. At this point you know that all you have to do is choose from a wide array of web hosting selections. You dont have to look further and dig into complicated details because colocation is just the right thing for you.
Colocation has been the common choice for budding businesses that demand the high-tech functioning of a well-versed IT team for the simple reason that the price is just right. But what really is this colocation all about? Lets take a look.
You start by getting your own hardware. You then contact a provider and kick off the machine set-up in their own rack. Once the servers are physically present the company provides the power, bandwidth, and IP to your servers. You get full access to the system just like any other web hosting but the big difference is you own and control the machines.
Furthermore, you get your moneys worth in terms of bandwidth. The standard rate for the bandwidth of a business grade DSL line runs between 150 and 200 dollars. For the same rate or even cheaper a single server can be built in a colocation space handing you higher speeds and better redundancy.
Outage protection is another issue that can be easily handled by colocation facilities. There may be environmental and technical factors that can lead to energy source breakdown. This will give your site a really long slumber. The good thing about being connected with providers is that you are paying for backup power generators designed to face any kind of outage.
As mentioned above the good thing about being colocated is that you have authority on all your machines. If you start to see that the server is beginning to function slowly or there isnt enough memory to carry out all the tasks then you can simply proceed with the upgrade. There is no need to wait for other people to act on your behalf.
Software is also important in ensuring the performance of your site and since in this type of hosting you are the absolute owner you also get to choose which ones to install. You dont need to seek the permission or advice of your provider. You get to choose the internal elements that you think can help your server run even better.
Stability is another boost if youre colocating. If there comes a time that you have to move and you host your own domain you have to painstakingly deal with the actual transfer of the domain and the downtime of your site. But since youve chosen to have a facility that houses your server then you just go on with your activity while having the peace of mind that your servers are up and running.
In colocation you are assured that your machines are kept in a secured area. You can also opt to add some extra fees to your provider for the maintenance of your hardware particularly when your office is too far from the site or you dont have the manpower to do the job.
The dominant billing issue in colocation normally involves bandwidth and space. But for some providers extra charges must be given in order to ensure that the servers are well kept and secured. Lets take a look at some other items that may increase your expenses.
Rebooting is very important in addressing server problems and performing software upgrades and enhancements. But in cases when the server is in a remote location rebooting can only be done using a remote connection. Remote reboots are the weapons of colocation providers during these times. You can simply call a support hotline to request for a power cycle. There are instances when remote reboot services are only charged after a specific number of times the customer asks the provider.
When server problems are more complicated and simple reboot of the whole system is not enough providers can bring forth remote hands. These are technical support crews who can expertly handle troubleshooting chores. They can easily respond to whatever hardware or software problem that is causing the server to function inappropriately. But make sure you can match their hourly rates as their services are not part of the basic package.
It is common practice that alongside a server there would be a domain. More than one domain names can be present in a solitary server. Providers can give you DNS servers that can house all of your DNS files. They allow for several domains to be part of their offered DNS servers. Domains that are not part of the initial deal will definitely give you extra fees to think about each month.
In colocation most of the time IP addresses are provided in a limited number. Even though servers commonly demand for a single IP address there are cases when site features call for additional ones. Of course it would be plain simple that each IP address in excess with that stated in the contract will equate to additional charges.
A backup mail server is important in ensuring that no mail bounces back to the sender especially when the server goes down. This is made possible by having the back up server act as a storage medium until the server functions normally again. Colocation providers will ask for additional payment each month for particular domains that need backup mail servers.
There are instances when physical access to the server box is called for in order to solve problems or perform upgrades. When there is limited space for a monitor, keyboard, and mouse to be linked with the box a console is utilized to create a connection between the KVM switch and the server. Again this can result to another monthly charge.
The presence of a server in a colocation facility deems it susceptible to any attack within the World Wide Web. The security of the system files can be placed in serious jeopardy. At this point, the provider can offer to have the server protected by a firewall. By doing so server access is restricted to specific ports and these ports will give you more fees to think about.
For medium and large-scale businesses, colocation is turning out to become more and more accepted. Outsourcing the facilities of your business (housing the equipments in another location) has become cheaper and more convenient.
One risky point that has to be addressed, however, is the question of inadequacy in the redundancy of their facilities. Most colocation facilities, thankfully, are built with the time-tested principle of redundancy.
In a business of virtual information and systems, redundancy is factored in to ensure security, based on the N+1 blueprint. This means that any particular system must have the capacity it needs, plus one additional unit.
For instance, if the power system has two UPS (uninterrupted power system), both should be running only at a 50% capacity. In the event either one fails, the other can take over without overloading. There are three critical points in a colocation facility that must have redundancy.
The biggest consideration for redundancy in a data center is the power system. A power outage could bring down your server hardware, your climate controls, your fire suppression system, and your connection.
In effect, a single failure and the whole operation goes down. In view of this total disaster, there is a need for the host to have a redundant set of power sources that includes UPS (uninterrupted power system) and backup generators.
A small personal computer has a set of air pumps and fans inside to keep it from overheating. In a busy colocation facility with several servers running at full power, the amount of generated heat can crash the whole place in minutes.
Colocation facilities are always to be equipped with redundant cooling systems that stay operational 24 hours a day everyday. These are usually taken up by CRAC (computer room air conditioning) units that pump cold water through the server room to prevent hardware overheating.
For a companys business to enjoy the best in a colocation setup, connectivity must also be redundant. This should be true for both the service and the network hardware (routers, switches, etc).
A redundant service would ensure that multiple internet backbones are available for reliability and performance. In addition, the connectivity levels should be able to ensure low latency and packet loss. This means that even if a major backbone fails, your connection should still remain stable and your site still online.
The right colocation
To find the right colocation facility for your business means asking pertinent questions and extracting as much information as possible from prospective candidates. It is a given that these facilities are unique and they have the right specs and redundancy measures.
Still, you need to find the correct specifics for your own system to fit theirs, especially with regards to power, cooling and connectivity systems. You need to know the number of units (for your present and future projections), the load per unit and how redundant their systems are.
When you hand down your infrastructure to another companys data center, it is only fitting that you have to be selective in terms of your needs in the redundancy of their power supply, cooling and connectivity facilities. In a colocation setup, your business depends on the reliability of your partner.
Most small and medium sized online companies are now into colocation, the outsourcing of data centers in offsite colocation providers. Their major reasons are the security in power and data storage, fast access for their sites, and lower bandwidth costs.
Just like dedicated servers, colocation solutions come in two distinct types of services managed and unmanaged. For those still on the lookout for colocation providers, it is best to understand first these differences and their exact requirements before choosing a colocation data center.
Your choice whether to use a managed or unmanaged colocation service can have a significant impact on your business. These include such factors as how much maintenance is needed to be done, what things can be run on the server, pricing and others.
Here is a short rundown on the differences on managed and unmanaged colocation services.
Right off the bat, managed colocation is the best option for businesses that do not have the time and the IT resources needed to maintain their equipment. With the service, your company is spared from performing manual tasks required to keep your system online.
Managed colocation is often referred to as dedicated server rental. The provider has a dedicated server already configured to certain specifications for use by their various colocated clients.
Their services include the use of the other requisite services, including maintenance like reboots, solving hardware issues and backups. The client will simply move their equipment and run their business right away.
This arrangement is useful for people who are not technically inclined and do not have the time or the resources to handle troubleshooting and other maintenance chores.
There are disadvantages in this setup, the most significant of them is the high price for the pampered treatment. There are also restrictions such as only supported applications are allowed to be run on the servers. (You may NOT use any application needed for your site if it is not supported by your provider.)
Choosing unmanaged colocation gives you and your company greater flexibility. This freedom of choice comes in handy when deciding the hardware, software and the other components you want to include in your server.
You can, in effect, install applications needed by your requirements but are not supported by your provider. You have more control on the configuration and use of your server, which is the opposite in managed services.
Depending on your contract, your technical people can come and go to the facility as needed and perform the tasks in regard with your equipment. The disadvantage here is that your people must be available to travel to the colocation center in times of trouble which is always unpredictable.
Finally, it should be clear that managed and unmanaged services cater to two different customer needs. If you have the IT resources (including the staff), an unmanaged service will work best.
The managed version, on the other hand, will allow you to move your hardware and leave all the technical aspects to the colocation services people. All in all, it is best that you know these differences and their consequences on your business.
Backup and storage are two of the most important factors in the search and selection of a colocation facility. Mission-critical information that cannot be compromised needs to be stored and backed up in a very secure environment, whether it is in your own servers or in a colocation facility.
With the number of choices in the market, it can be a tough decision considering that it can be difficult accessing your storage and backup needs. Fortunately, these systems can be integrated with one another and can still work seamlessly.
To ensure you make the most suitable choice, it is best to first determine your systems storage needs. Determining the solutions (and combinations of solutions) that meet your requirements would come easier, especially in a colocation setup.
Fortunately again, there are three basic types of storage and backup solutions for your servers DAS (direct access storage), NAS (network attached storage) and SAN (storage area network). Knowing them and what they can do by themselves and in tandem can help in making your decision.
Direct attached storage (DAS)
Most of todays businesses use DAS in the storage and backup system of their data. For comparison, DAS is basically similar to most external hard drives of personal computers where they can be attached at will.
This is one storage system that is best for smaller businesses which do not have demanding storage needs. The major downside, however, is that your system is slowed down while storing files and running your applications all at the same time.
This is simply caused by the fact that DAS solutions are limited in capacity and is not really that appropriate for large-scale storage needs. If your business is booming, it may serve as a temporary solution, not a permanent one.
Network attached storage (NAS)
NAS works by having additional capacity on your server while keeping it separate from your running applications. It is perfect for businesses that use networked computing.
The big selling point for NAS is enhanced productivity and cost efficiency. With NAS in place, your server can be managed centrally without affecting the other networked servers that run your applications.
Storage area network (SAN)
Among the three, SAN is the more advanced data storage and backup system. It is best for larger businesses that require a systems ability to transfer multiple files in more stable fiber connections.
However efficient it is (and becoming more popular), SAN is one solution that is relatively new. Moreover, it lacks the compatibility needed to make it more appealing to more customers.
As it is, SAN is greatly more complex and expensive compared to both DAS and NAS. Today, only the big companies who can afford it are using SAN as their main storage and backup system. The biggest reason is its ability to handle the high volume of traffic that is becoming the norm of the internet business at present.
Ultimately, the choice of your companys storage and backup system depends largely on the size of your present needs and costs. In a colocation facility, your companys continuing expansion can be supported with the right storage and backup system.