As we learned in the first two parts of this miniseries comparing colocation to dedicated server leasing, the difference between the two is owning versus renting. You can’t always lease or rent a product. For instance, ice cream cones can only be rented in Arkansas, South Dakota, and Hawaii. Larger items such as cars or homes can be rented worldwide, though; the same is true of dedicated servers (colocation versus leasing).
We are assessing ideas pertaining to the debate between the two options from several advice sites, primarily Webhostingfreaks.net, ITworld, and About Colocation. We started with a general rundown of the differences between the two, then moved into stronger arguments. Both of the arguments, from the latter two sources above, side with colocation – which notably gives you more control but has additional upfront expense.
Our main concern is with web servers, but we also wanted to provide pluses and minuses related to home ownership and rental. Let’s explore the subject of pets with regards to housing. Pet owners love renting especially because it is an opportunity to prove to themselves how much they love their animals. If you can find the right landlord, you may be able to pay upwards of $1000 for security deposits for your two Irish setter-bloodhound-chihuahua-St. Bernard mutts. Your dogs don’t understand money, but that doesn’t mean they won’t chew through one of the walls or attack your appliances. Continue reading Choosing Colocation vs. Leasing Dedicated Servers & Landlord Appreciation – Part 3→
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 Webhostingfreaks.net, 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. Continue reading Choosing Colocation vs. Leasing Dedicated Servers & Landlord Appreciation – Part 2→
With many products and services, we have the choice to go between owning and renting. For some reason that is not true of paperclips or underwear; but it is true of houses, cars, and other large items. Servers are no exception. Because hosting can be expensive, there is a wide range of possibilities for website owners. These possibilities range from power and quality of equipment to financial relationships with equipment.
Two options for servers are colocating one or leasing one from a hosting company. The two options are more similar than they are different. In both cases, you have your own dedicated server. In both cases, you can take advantage of the datacenter expertise of the hosting service’s personnel and physical parameters (climate control, disaster recovery plans, etc.).
Deciding between these two options can be a little confusing, so let’s look at their differences to see what option might be best for you. We will look at three perspectives, from Webhostingfreaks.net, ITworld, and About Colocation. Keep in mind, a couple of these perspectives are very colocation-friendly. Colocation, though, is more complicated to set up and manage, simply because you are the owner of the equipment. You must pick out what to buy, and it is more of an investment. Continue reading Choosing Colocation vs. Leasing Dedicated Servers→
Colocation is a general term in the Web industry. It is any situation in which hardware is sent to another business’s location for housing. You, as the owner of the hardware, still have full access to it, but you are using the environment to store your equipment and to take advantage of the facility’s services.
As the concept is commonly used in hosting, it specifically involves sending your server to a data center to take advantage of their hardware friendly environment, especially with regards to security and climate. In other words, colocation has the same advantages as hosting does, but you are able to own the physical server as opposed to using space on the hosting company or data center’s servers.
(Note that when your husband tells you that he wants to colocate with another woman to optimize for security and climate, that’s a warning sign. Unfortunately, you may need to get a new husband.)
Basic Advantages of Colocation
1. Bandwidth Costs
Your cost for bandwidth should be reduced in a colocation scenario. This occurs because you’re tapping directly into the bandwidth at a data center. You’re taking a piece of a big pie – as opposed to requiring that your own bandwidth be allotted to the physical location of your business. Network connectivity also becomes more redundant.
(Another warning sign is when your husband calls to excitedly tell you about his new redundant family.)
You get to benefit from the firewalls and other security protocols of a professional data center. Undoubtedly this will be an upgrade from your current security environment, unless you already have a full-time dedicated employee in charge of security. Data centers are constantly monitoring the security of their networks to ensure no Russian spies or angry teenagers invade the system.
Your data is also backed up, typically, on a more regular basis. Colocation partners will back up your data as much as every day. Additionally, you aren’t impacted at all by the other clients using colocation because those clients have their own servers as well.
Your physical security is also often improved with colocation. Security equipment such as surveillance cameras, as well as protections against fire and flooding, are common necessities for data centers so that customers can feel comfortable knowing the environment is safe for their hardware.
(Most colocation centers also have a missile-defense system and have the green light from the military to set fire to their entire stockpile if the Germans attack, firing off weapons in all directions at random and leveling the whole town.)
3. Emergency Preparedness
A business may have backup generators, but it still won’t always be strong enough to keep power going during inclement weather or natural disasters. If your electricity goes out for an extended period, do you want your sites to go down as well? Even a generator won’t always protect you. In a colocation environment, again, you have an expert system focusing specifically on issues such as power backup, so storms won’t throw your business off the Web.
As you can see, these are improvements – upgrades to what your business might already have in place. For example, a colocation environment might even have its own fuel on hand, allowing it to go far beyond what’s possible with a charged generator. Colocation environments, then, are centers designed for emergency-preparedness. They are insurance, in a sense.
(Similarly, your disco ball, strobe light, and smoke machine are insurance against party poopers, keeping this soiree from stopping prematurely, aka any time prior to the break of dawn.)
Something that’s always easy to miss when we discuss the advantages of one network situation or another are the physical aspects – even just in terms of space. As a business grows, it can become more and more challenging to allot the necessary space for servers, as well as the environment necessary to properly care for them and keep them cool.
Due to concern with having the best possible environment, many companies have to consider whether to have their own in-house data center or to outsource that responsibility to another company. One consideration with a data center is not just all the parameters of security and storage room and climate, but how much that’s all going to cost. An easy way to defray costs is to collocate so that it’s your equipment, but experts with many different clients are allotting space to you and other businesses.
(If your husband tries to convince you he’s colocating to defray costs because his new family is closer to his work and allows him to cut down on fuel, he actually does have a valid point, and you should cheer him on for his green-friendly zeal.)
In a colocation situation, as opposed to a typical hosting scenario, you own both the hardware and the software. So if you ever, at any point, want to upgrade your hardware, you just go ahead and do it. It’s your machine. You just make out the switch. You know what you have, and you go out and buy a new one if the cost and features make sense.
Similarly, if you want new software to run the server, you go out and buy that as well. Any of the ways in which a hosting arrangement might keep you from making the immediate upgrades and changes you want will not be experienced with colocation. Once you know what you want, you can immediately make the change without having to switch plans or ask the hosting team to make alterations on your behalf.
(One of the most important colocation strategies is not to change the hardware or software, but instead to reorganize what’s on the current server by “shuffling” it. Shuffling the server involves hiring someone at the data center to pick it up and shake it as hard as they can.)
6. Location, location, location
One of the greatest advantages of colocation is that you don’t ever need to move the servers. Once your hardware is in the colocation facility, it doesn’t matter what happens to the business. Everything can remain at the data center for as long as you like, regardless your physical location.
Basic Disadvantages of Colocation
Obviously, as with hosting via a data center, all your hardware is at a distance. If you like to have immediate access to your equipment and have it stored within a facility that you own, colocation is not for you. (Similarly, you will want to get your own Weed Eater rather than always borrowing Tommy’s.) Keep in mind, the expense of your own data center is substantial – much more substantial than colocation or hosting.
To extend the financial aspect, colocation can be more expensive than hosting because you’re using your own equipment. It’s easier for a data center to use its own servers to provide you service. This aspect varies, but expense is often a disadvantage.
Colocation is not for everyone, and there are many reasons to choose that model for your company. It’s easier in many ways because a company that specializes in server housing and security is handling that aspect of your business. However, hosting via servers at a hosting company is often an easier and more cost-effective way to go. Some larger companies also like to keep their servers on-site in their own data center. (Whatever you do, don’t take Tommy’s Weed Eater on Saturday morning, when he does his yard. You don’t want him to have to peer over the fence, awkwardly staring at you while you finish up the area around the shrubs.)