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Key Features of Co-location

Jun 17, 2008
A company has many options available for handling computer systems along with sensitive data and one of these is server co-location. Server co-location is the commercial service of providing Internet or leased line connections to one or more servers that are kept in a server room type of environment.

In computer terms, it refers to the installation of or the running of applications or data in a single process, computer, data centre, or storage unit. There are many key features a customer has in mind when choosing to use server co-location.

These include:

* Localisation
* Available bandwidth
* Security
* Accessibility
* Reliability
* Availability (or lack of) of competent technical support.

To take this a step a little further, server co-location goes beyond a simple hosting service that might cost a few pounds a month. Instead, it allows an entire server (or more) to be at the disposal of the client company. Data can be consolidated in one place. Taking the example of setting up a server for a Web site, the company has the choice of buying a set of battery backups and putting a gas generator in the backyard, purchasing a T1 line, staying stationed at the office at 24 hours a day, 7 days a week in case the server goes down or has a problem and keeping the temperature regulated in the office to approximately 65 degrees to keep the server from overheating-or simply handing over the job to a data centre that already has this setup in place.

In the first option, the equipment costs thousands of pounds, the manpower needed is simply not practical and the closetful of wires involved is dangerous. Clearly the company will choose the latter option.

Companies who take the route of co-locating servers have many aims in mind, most of these include:

* Offsite backup
* Web servers that handle high volume
* A centralised database
* Remote network monitoring
* Local television feeds
* Game servers
* List servers and more.

Often, there is no one at the company who is schooled in information technology, but all of this can all be taken care of by specialists at the data centre for a monthly fee.

Server co-location might be a stepping stone to a company's own data centre, since building out a room for servers is costly and time-consuming. Furthermore, it is good for redundancy. A company can put two servers in two data centres throughout the country, or it can have its own data centre and a second server in co-location as a backup.

Options for co-location include pre-configured servers; customer supplied servers, pre-built rack servers, raw or finished co-location space and finished adjacent office space with premium bandwidth. Other features will include tremendous cost savings, as mentioned previously, often a 100 % fiber optic network, physical security in the form of limited access environments located in high security buildings with guards, data security, anytime access and engineers who are there to offer technical support calls. When taking all this into account, it is not difficult to see the many advantages to be found in server co-location.
About the Author
Derek Rogers is a freelance writer who writes for a number of UK businesses. For Business Internet Services and Co-location, he recommends Iconnyx.
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