Advantages For Hosting Services
Moving your hosting operations
to a colo or carrier hotel can give you access to lower cost
By: John Shepler
If your Internet access, hosting and other telecommunication
needs have started small and grown steadily over the years, you
probably have your own data center. The big advantage of an on-site
data center is quick and easy access to your server farm and
network connections. But, you also have the responsibility of
physical security, environmental controls, backup power and wide
area network connections.
Another approach is to move your equipment
to a "colo" or colocation center, also called a carrier
hotel. This is a special facility where many companies and telecom
carriers rent space and provide access to each other's networks.
The colocation center operator provides physical security for
the building and network wiring, environmental controls, battery
and generator power backups.
Colo Bandwidth Pricing Advantages
So why buy these service when you can provide them yourself?
One good reason is that you may have more choices among telecom
carriers that you have at your location. Numerous Internet service
providers and long lines carriers may offer points of presence
in the same facility. Not only does this create competition for
bandwidth pricing, but you may be able to get service from companies
that can't directly connect to your location. That's especially
true if your operation is not sited within a major metropolitan
Telecom services may include T1, DS3, OC3,
OC12, and OC48 TDM voice and data service. You may also find
easier to get IP services such as Ethernet, Fast Ethernet, and
Gigabit Ethernet. A carrier hotel is likely to have multiple
fiber optic cables brought into the facility. How many fiber
optic cables service your facility?
Colocation bandwidth is sometimes available
by the megabyte or gigabyte instead of a fixed bandwidth available
elsewhere. You may also have the option to quickly increase or
decrease the amount of bandwidth that you are buying, since the
carriers have routers and switches in the same carrier hotel.
The colocation center usually has a "meet me" room
where carriers all locate their equipment, or at least patching
facilities to make connections quickly, easily and cheaply.
Redundance and Disaster Protection
Another advantage is the ability to get redundant network connections
from diverse carriers. In other words, you buy some of your bandwidth
from one carrier and the rest from a competing carrier. If one
carrier has technicalproblems that disrupt your service, you'll
still be able to run on the bandwidth from the other non-related
carrier. You can get redundant services brought to your own facility,
but it's likely a lot more expensive and less flexible. Latency
within a colocation center is reduced, too, since you are located
within feet rather than miles of your bandwidth providers.
You may also want to consider a colocation
facility for disaster protection. What happens if a fire, flood,
hurricane, tornado, earthquake or other disaster hits your facility?
By having at least a backup facility at a remote colocation center,
you'll be able to keep running regardless of local emergencies.
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