A frequent question asked of our sales team is “What is Colocation”? In a previous blog post we looked more at the benefits or server colocation than explaining what it actually “is”. In this post we’ll dive into defining what the actual service is and some common terms associated with it.
So….what is Server Colocation?
Server Colocation (or Colo, Colo Hosting, Cloud Hosting or Collocation) is a service that allows businesses to physically bring their servers, computers or other hardware into a data center, and out of their office or other location. Think of the data center as a hotel, for Servers or Computers. Just as a hotel is made up of rooms for guests to stay in, the data center consists of rows of cabinets (or racks), that each hold individual servers.
The Data Center
Think of the data center as a hotel, only for Servers or Computers. Just as a hotel is made up of rooms for guests to stay in, the data center consists of rows of cabinets (or racks), that each hold servers, computers and other hardware. Just as a hotel supplies it’s guests with a shower, tv and other amenities, so does the Data Center. Each cabinet in a data center has an internet connection, power and cooling delivered to it. Each server in the cabinet has access to electricity and a high speed internet connection, as well as cooling. Data Centers typically have multiple, expensive pipes to the Internet using different internet providers so that they can provide uninterrupted internet access. If the facility loses internet through one carrier, they can automatically flip over to another carrier and so on. Likewise with electricity, most data centers operate automatic generators that will kick on – automatically – if power is lost to the center. Data Centers don’t just provide “space”, they deliver a fully redundant home for business servers.
Each Cabinet in the Data Center usually has about 6 feet of space available for business servers. This six feet of rack space is broken down into rack units, or units. A Unit (or “U”) is equal to 1.75 inches in height and is used as a measurement when selling the space that a business will need to host their server(s). Most servers come in standard height increments of 1.75 inches, or 1U. So a standard, 1U server has a height of 1.75 inches. Each cabinet in the Data Center can hold between 40U and 44U of servers, or up to 77 Inches. The depth of cabinets are standardized as well for the most part, and typically offer depths of 19 inches or 23 inches – which will fit nearly all modern servers. Most facilities often have two separate types of cabinets. Public and Private. Public cabinets may contain servers from several different businesses and share the same cabinet access. Public cabinets are usually used for businesses who need to host 1 or 2 servers. Private cabinets are just that – private. The cabinet is either a full cabinet or is broken down into sections. Private cabinets are typically segmented in 1/4 cabinet and 1/2 cabinet sections. 1/4 Cabinets typically hold 10U worth of servers, while 1/2 Cabinets typically hold between 20 and 22U. Each section is sealed off from the section above it and below it and has it’s own private, locking door. Since private cabinets belong to one business or network only, the customer is free to use the space as they wish.
Rackmount Servers – Ideal for Colocation
Pricing for Colocation is dependant on a number of items, but Server Space is one of the main components. The more space you need for your servers = the more you will pay. It is highly recommended that businesses use rackmountable servers instead of “tower servers”. Tower servers are the large, bulky computers that are often seen in an office environment. Rack Mountable Servers are stripped down versions that are easily “racked” into a cabinet and utilize far less space, which keeps pricing down. For more on server colocation, visit www.truenet.com.