“What is Server Colocation?”
This is a question we are asked by our clients at least several times per month. When we tell them what it is, the next question is usually “How would that benefit my business?”. The answer to that question really varies from business to business.
Colocating a Server – or Server Colocation – simply means “to put or house your business server or hardware in a Data Center”. There are many reasons to put your server in a data center. Say for example, a business has it’s own email server – such as a Microsoft Exchange Email Server – and it’s physically located inside of their office. The employee’s of this business need access to their email, calendars and contacts when they are on the road, at home or on vacation. They need access not just during business hours – but 24 x 7. Now say, for example, the Internet connection in the office goes down. If this business is using DSL, Cable, FiOS or another non-priority internet service, the internet connection could be down for days. During this outage, how will their employees send email or see their upcoming appointments? How will they communicate with customers? If there is not a business continuity plan or backup strategy in place, they may not be able to communicate at all.
Once the Internet comes back online, the business owner decides to keep the original Internet connection (costing him $150.00/mo), but also decides to bring in an additional internet connection in case the first connections fails. He decides he needs an internet connection that is guaranteed and business class. He decides to order a T1 Internet Connection - which is guaranteed to be online 99.99% of the time. The T1 circuit will cost him $400.00/Mo. He is now spending approximately $550.00/mo on Internet Service alone.
Everything is working great, but then one day this business owner come into the office and there is no power. Once again, his employees are unable to communicate with customers and with each other. The business is missing out on orders and losing money by the hour. The business owner decides to purchase an automatic generator at $5000.00.
Everything is working great again. Life is good. Then one day this business owner arrives at the office only to see flames shooting out of the windows. Unfortunately, a fire destroyed all of the servers and onsite data. Unless they have a data backup or replication strategy in place, this data may be lost. The business owner decides that it is finally time to find a solution that will not only ensure his valuable data and equipment are secure and safe, but that his employees can access their email and other business applications 24 x 7 x 365.
After rebuilding the servers and relocating his business, the business owner decides to take his email server and put in a secure data center – aka Server Colocation. The data center is providing a monitored environment with fast, unlimited amounts of internet access, an uninterrupted supply of power, conditioned air flow and fire suppression for his email server. His monthly costs for Server Colocation for his 1U mail server and a firewall comes to $200.00/mo. Not only is he saving $350.00/mo, but he is getting a faster, quicker internet connection for his server and a higher level of security and total redundancy in terms of power and internet. All this for a fraction of the cost of what he was spending trying to duplicate a redundant atmosphere at his office.
The above scenario, while exaggerated, is not all that far-fetched. Every day businesses are dealing with loss of power, electricity and data. Very few of them realize that exploring Server Colocation services may not only save the business money and capital expenses, but in almost every situation will give the business a higher percentage of uptime, security and performance. Unfortunately, it’s usually after several outages or disasters that most business owners and decision makers only begin to look at business continuity solutions and server colocation.
Here are 5 Reasons Business Should Consider Server Colocation
Uptime, Uptime, Uptime
As in the example above, if your business has applications, servers or resources that are accessed and used by people outside of your local area network, losing internet access or power can be devestating. It can also make users skeptical about using your service in the future- especially if it is a paid service. Putting your server in a reputable data center means that you will have access to battery and generator backup should the data center face a power outage. The data center will also have multiple, huge pipes to the internet, meaning that if they lose one connection, there are others to pick up the slack. When uptime matters, collocation is a must.
As mentioned in the example above, Server Colocation is typically less expensive then trying to duplicate a redundant atmosphere at your office. For internet fail over you will need two internet connections. This can usually be achieved by combining two “consumer level” internet connections – cable and Fios for example. These services are not “priority” services however, and if you lose both you could be in for a major headache waiting for them to get fixed. Its highly suggested to have one true business grade connection (such as a T1 or T3 circuit) and one consumer level connection (cable) so that you have the best of both worlds. Either way, dual internet connections will cost between $200.00 and $800.00 for most locations. Of course, this depends on what service is available and how inexpensive it is in your city. Power….you’ll need a generator. Maybe a residential generator will do, maybe you will need something more powerful. Either way, a generator is a capital expense and maintaining it is crucial. If it breaks, you will need to pay to have it fixed. With server colocation starting at $179.95 in most colocation centers, it is usually cost effective to colocate rather then to duplicate. Regardless if it is a savings or not, putting your server at an internet provider is absolutely a “best practice” and a great investment.
Fast Internet at a wholesale rates
Business class Internet to your business is more expensive than Internet access in a data center. Data centers buy bandwidth in bulk and “resell” it to colocation customers. For example, a T1 internet connection priced at $300.00 per month is actually $200 Per Meg. Data center bandwidth is typically between $15 and $40.00 per Meg depending on how much bandwidth you purchase.
Close proximity to global internet providers
Colocating your server in an ISP puts your server closer to your customers and other internet providers. ISP’s, such as TrueNet, have large, national peering relationships with major global providers. Colocating your server with an ISP means your server is in the heart of the Internet – miliseconds away from every carrier in the world, and closer to your customers. This means data travelling to and from your server doesn’t have as far to traverse than if your server was located in your office, at the end of a cable, dsl or fios connection. In addition, if your server is in your office on a cable connection, your data may have to travel through 5 different internet routing devices (or hops) just to get out of your providers network. This delay, while unnoticable to most, could cause delays and potentially loss of business.
Security and Peace of Mind
Today, business data is stored electronically. Storing your data in the same location as your business is a dangerous practice. As in the example above, a fire or natural disaster could damage data, computers and business servers and cause irreparairable damage. One of the main benefits to server colocation is that it provides an off-site location to store valuable business data. If set-up correctly, a local backup plan supplemented by pushing a copy of your data or server replication to an off-site location could be the difference between your business continuing after a disaster or crumbling.
For more information about TrueNet’s Server Colocation and Philadelphia Data center, please call us at 888-878-3638.