Colocation – What it is and what you should be aware of

By September 16, 2020November 18th, 2020Blog, Cloud, Managed Services

What is Colocation?

Colocation (often referred to as “colo”) is the practice of putting your data (stored on a server) into a shared data centre. The goal of colocation is to reduce costs and cut down on the manpower needed for the management of the hardware.

You, as the business consuming these services, will often provide the servers, whereas the colocation providers cover the costs of things such as power, cooling, communication and storage space. Although this seems like a simple process, there are some to consider when selecting your ideal data centre.

Latency

Did you know that your physical distance from the data centre can cause a time-delay when you are trying to access 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 is important to evaluate what current business activities may rely on latency-sensitive applications. For example, a streaming service would need low-latency to avoid skipping/lagging. In that case, you would need to ensure that your data centre is close enough to keep the latency under a certain threshold for maximum performance.

Security

You’ve heard lots 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 must have confidence that this information is locked down, and that you are compliant with the local data protection legislation.

Reliability

You will want to ensure that the provider has all the infrastructure in place so that you have access to your data where and when you need it. Colocation services typically will have power management, high-speed connections and strategic placement of data centres (for both your primary and backup data centres) to minimize downtime. 

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

Scalability

In many cases, colocation is a multi-year investment, so you will want to ensure that your service can continue to grow with your business. You’ll want to know what the process would look like for adding additional servers. If you do migrate to the cloud, what does that process 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. At iTel, we offer a full Managed Cloud solution that helps connect you to large 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 excited and 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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