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What is Colocation – and what do you need to know about it

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What is colocation? Often referred to as “colo,” this is the practice of putting your data (stored on a server) into a shared data centre. The primary goal of colocation is to reduce costs and reduce the manpower needed to manage hardware.

As the client consuming these services, you will often provide the servers themselves. Meanwhile, the colocation provider covers the costs of power, cooling, communication, and storage space. Although this seems like a simple process, there are some things to consider when selecting your ideal data centre.


Did you know that your physical distance from the data centre can delay access to your data? This delay is called latency and is usually measured in milliseconds (ms) for the time it takes for data to travel to (and from) your desired location. It’s important to consider what current business activities rely on latency-sensitive applications. For example, streaming services need low latency to avoid skipping/lagging. In this case, you’ll need a data centre close enough to keep the latency under a certain threshold for maximum performance.


You’ve heard a lot about cybersecurity, but when choosing a colocation provider, it is also important to consider the physical measures in place. Does the data centre have CCTV readily available? Do they use biometrics to enter the facility? What security protocol do they follow (for example, ISO 27001)? Your servers will house sensitive information about your business and perhaps your customers. You should have confidence that this information is protected – and in compliance with local data protection legislation.


You will want to ensure that your provider has the infrastructure in place to provide access to your data where and when you need it. Colocation services typically have power management, high-speed connections, and strategic locations to minimize downtime. Don’t forget to confirm this for both your primary and backup data centres.

Another thing to confirm is the colo provider’s disaster recovery plan. What happens if all power is lost in a data centre? How do they ensure your data is safe no matter the environmental conditions?


Colocation is likely a multi-year investment, so you’ll want to ensure that your service can grow with your business. What does the process look like for adding additional servers? If you migrate to the cloud, what does that look like?

When it comes to providers, some offer Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) or Virtual Data Centre solutions. This will streamline the transition process for you in the future. iTel offers a full Managed Cloud solution that connects you to major cloud providers.

A Total Package

Ultimately, you’re looking for a provider who can balance all 3 while remaining scalable. The priority of these characteristics will vary from your business to the next, so you and your team need to evaluate your current situation and start to develop a vision for your ideal solution.

That’s where we come in. Our team of experts is ready to build a customized colocation solution with you. With our network-of-networks spanning Canada and the USA, we will be sure to find a data centre that fits your needs. Call us today to discuss your options!

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Please contact us for any additional information. We would be more than happy to direct you to the resources you need, or to put you in touch with an iTel Associate who will be able to answer all of your questions.