What is data center colocation?
TL;DR: Data center colocation or colo is the service of renting power, space and connectivity in a proper data center facility to host IT equipment.
Where does data center colocation come from?
Back in the days of traditionnal IT, any company that needed to host servers for internal or external use had to build its own server room or data center. Still today, this costs a lot to deploy and operate. Companies had to hire engineers to plan and build their power and cooling systems and maintain these infrastructures. Needless to say that only very large companies could afford to do so.
Overtime, some smaller companies started to pay other companies to use space in their data center. From that day, colocation was born.
From this idea, dedicated colocation providers started building data centers made to host multiple tenants.
What colocation providers offer
Colo providers offer a few things. Power, cooling, security, remote hands work and logitics services.
To be able to offer these services, colocation providers invest millions of dollars into planning and building high quality facilities to host your IT equipment. These facilities have military grade security, power redundancy equipments (batteries and generators) and redundant cooling as well. All these parts make it so your IT can run 24/7/365 no matter what.
Doing business with a colocation provider also helps your business scale as needed. If your company had to build its own data center, a huge cash down would be necessary. Colocation providers will let you scale as you need at a “per rack” scale. Only commit to what you need, and grow your data center as your company grows.
Since colocation providers build facilities large enough to host multiple companies, you benefit from the economies of scale. Larger power consumers typically get better power rates than smaller ones. The same goes for the price of certain power and cooling equipments. This allows colocation providers to offer you better operating costs than if you did it on your own. Not to mention you don’t have to hire cooling engineers, electricians and security agents to operate the data center infrastructure.
In short, data center colocation providers help you focus on your business while they make sure your IT infrastructure always has available power and is kept safe in a well cooled environnement.