Many small and midsized businesses are using colocation services to rent server space in remote data centers. These companies own their servers, but they don’t need to power, cool or protect the equipment. Huge data centers buy energy and bandwidth in bulk, and they reduce costs for clients by passing on some of the savings. Colocation provides greater efficiency and convenience than in-house equipment. Furthermore, it doesn’t have the limitations or security flaws of shared hosting.
Companies with on-site hardware have to maintain and replace many sophisticated devices. Data centers need backup power supplies, central air conditioning and high-end security systems. The upkeep can distract business owners from performing vital income-generating tasks. Colocation services eliminate this burden by operating and maintaining the data center infrastructure. Most providers will also repair clients’ servers if they choose to pay a higher monthly fee.
Focusing on Software
With colocation, SMBs retain the major advantages associated with in-house server equipment. They can run operating systems and software of their choice or use custom applications to perform any task on colocated servers. This approach also permits SMBs to devote more of their resources to software-related efforts. Rather than maintaining a data center, employees can focus on updating, debugging and optimizing software. This promotes greater productivity and innovation.
Lower Operating Costs
Internet bandwidth, electricity and floor space remain relatively expensive for small to midsized firms. On the other hand, colocation data centers can purchase them in massive quantities and receive large discounts from their suppliers. They resell these services at a profit for less than it would cost an SMB to buy them from utilities or a landlord. Colocation is less expensive than a T1 or business DSL connection, so the energy, infrastructure and physical space are essentially free.
Another valuable benefit of colocation is that large data centers offer far greater security than most SMBs can provide. Such large-scale facilities only grant access to authorized personnel with staff ID cards. They also use alarms, cameras and security guards to detect intruders, and employees remain on-site throughout the week. At the same time, sophisticated firewalls protect colocated servers from Internet hackers to prevent equipment theft, downtime and data breaches.
A colocation hosting provider takes a variety of steps to prepare for any power and Internet outages. It maintains multiple high-bandwidth links to the Internet, allowing it to connect servers to alternate lines when necessary. Very few SMBs can afford this kind of redundancy. Data centers also prevent downtime with backup power supplies that store energy in rechargeable batteries and most facilities have diesel generators as well.
Additional benefits include fast bandwidth upgrades and access to well-trained server maintenance experts. Many businesses have recognized the advantages of this service and made the decision to colocate their servers. Although the world’s data centers continue to expand, some analysts predict that high demand will lead to major colocation space shortages by 2015. This trend may prompt more companies to begin offering this highly beneficial service.