Colocation is a way for companies to store their hardware and data in a third-party data center without having to undergo the hassle of managing the infrastructure themselves. It is extremely popular with companies who need to store their hardware close to the edge or who don’t have the infrastructure in place to maintain their own data centers.
It’s helpful to think of colocation as an apartment complex. You need a place to stay but can’t afford it or don’t want to buy a home right now. So, you rent an apartment from the company that owns the complex. Included in your rent are maintenance, some utilities, and physical space. This is equivalent to you renting space to store your hardware and data from a colocation provider. This hardware is stored in a data center where the colocation provider offers maintenance, power, cooling systems, and the actual facility.
The main benefits of colocation is turnkey infrastructure, managed maintenance, and cooling/power which we will discuss in this post.
By using a colocation datacenter, you don’t need to set up your own physical infrastructure, as they will typically have everything ready, e.g. cage, racks, space. In most cases, you’ll buy your own hardware and send them to the data center to be installed. In other cases, depending on the colocation provider, you may be able to rent their hardware, e.g. by using their “bare metal” offerings. For example:
The facility is often the most expensive part of storing your hardware in your own facility, and colocating can drastically reduce that cost.
In order to maintain a datacenter’s infrastructure, you’ll need to have in-house data center staff. These personnel are typically highly skilled and in short supply. If you choose to house your hardware in your own data center, you will be required to hire, train, and maintain a maintenance staff. This is not only costly, but is time-consuming. Using a colocation provider offloads this responsibility to them.
Major data centers, like those owned by Google and Microsoft, have had several system malfunctions due to maintenance of their cooling and power systems. Power is getting more expensive by the day (especially in markets like Europe), and cooling is a complex, highly-specific process. Colocating your IT hardware in a third-party data center allows you to outsource these responsibilities to the colocation provider.
Downsides and Risks of Hardware Colocation
There are risks associated with colocation–namely, cybersecurity and reliance on third-party maintenance. Colocaters typically offer managed security services as opposed to giving their customers the option to monitor their security systems themselves. This means, ultimately, you are reliant on the security provided by the data center. The main downside is that you’re giving up control over how much you can customize your data center space, but this isn’t that important to most companies looking to colocate.
If you are looking to ship your hardware to an international data center reach out to us here.
If you are shipping to more complex markets, like Brazil, India, Argentina, etc., feel free to reach out to FGX before you procure your hardware to make sure that it meets all necessary import requirements.