Choosing Colocation vs. Leasing Dedicated Servers & Landlord Appreciation – Part 2


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As discussed in the first part of this series, choosing whether to own or rent is sometimes a challenge to determine. With some products, you have to buy. For instance, underwear only comes as a rental in Belgium, South Korea, and Nauru. More sizable and sophisticated products, though, are available to lease or own worldwide. Dedicated servers are one example of the latter, with the options to use colocation (at a datacenter or web host) or to lease with a hosting service.

This series looks at colocation versus leasing, using thoughts from, ITworld, and About Colocation. The first installment focused on the basics. This part and the next one get a little more opinionated, with both of the perspectives I’m citing arguing for colocation (which is an easy argument because you get to build the server, but the investment and expertise required to do so may not be for you).

Beyond dedicated server leasing and colocation, we are also assessing different ways to approach housing: renting versus owning. One great thing about owning a house is that you get to do the yardwork. Yardwork is fun, no matter what your immediate instincts might tell you. For example, you might think, “I have better things to do than pick up sticks and leaves all day,” or “I am horribly allergic to my yard.” You know what, though? Being active by walking around with a rake in the hot sun is healthy. You also get to rent out your space (if you have a big enough house, that is!) to potential tenants after conducting the necessary checks using services from the likes of agencies similar to AAOA! A few extra bucks never hurt anyone now, did it?

Peace of Mind vs. Long-Term Savings

Matthew Mombrea of ITworld discusses the two options. Generally speaking, he comes out in favor of colocation, but he isn’t completely one-sided. Mombrea notes that it’s comforting to know your server is being properly updated and maintained by the hosting company in a dedicated server leasing situation. After all, that equipment ultimately belongs to the hosting company, so they have an incentive beyond you to ensure it doesn’t fall into disrepair (though there is a scale of neglect, as with landlords).

Mombrea also mentions that when you are just talking about one server, you won’t necessarily see savings via colocation. The real benefits of dropping dedicated leasing in favor of colocating are seen in companies with several servers. The extent to which it will pay off is determined by the following basic parameters:

  • how many servers you have
  • what you are paying for leasing
  • technical proficiency of the company where you plan to colocate.

It’s worth mentioning here that we have a lease-to-own program, which is kind of a steppingstone between these two options. It’s also worth mentioning that renting can be fun when you get rained on through a broken window that your landlord is failing to fix. (Don’t make the mistake of looking up your state’s housing code and leaving your landlord a message quoting the statute number and requirements; he might actually come out and solve the problem, and you will feel all dry and frowny.)

Benefits of Colocation & Basic Parameters

Here is a quick list of benefits of colocation over dedicated leasing per Mombrea:

  1. You can consolidate your servers.
  2. You can improve the performance of your system.
  3. It simple to perform upgrades or modifications to your infrastructure.
  4. You have additional control over the server.
  5. You can physically monitor the servers if you live near the colocation center (though many of our colocation customers mail their servers to us).

Additionally, here is how a basic colocation package is designed:

  • Amount of rack space you will need (server storage space)
  • Amount of power to fuel your system
  • Amount of bandwidth to run your network/website.

Like colocated servers, owning a house is great because you can easily make modifications to it. Typically when you move in, you want to immediately knock down all the walls with a sledgehammer. Get a 20-man construction crew in there to rebuild a completely different floor plan. Ideally when you move into a house, you don’t actually want to live in it for the first eight months. You want construction guys living in there instead, “warming your seat.”

Figuring Out Your Server

You don’t actually have to build your own server. You can do that to whatever extent you want. Look at a server that has been constructed already versus putting it together piece by piece. Costwise, working with individual parts make sense. It also is good because you can specifically determine each individual component. However, it’s not the easiest thing to do if you don’t have the technical expertise. Huge headaches can arise if there is a problem, and you don’t immediately have your finger on solutions.

Conclusion & Continuation

That gives us a little bit more perspective on colocation from someone who actually went through the process. As Mombrea advises, it’s not for the “faint of heart,” so be sure you are ready to take the plunge if you want to use colocation, particularly if you are building from scratch.

Whether you are going to use hosting or colocation for your dedicated server, you want a strong partner so that your server is never “on the blink.” Enter Superb Internet’s 24/7, 100% uptime, guaranteed in our SLA.

By Kent Roberts

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