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Colocation Vs Dedicated Hosting

Tags: ColocationDatacenterDatacenter managementDedicated HostingServer Management

Published on: May 12, 2016 by Soumya Sivasankar

Colocation Vs Dedicated Hosting

Scenario:

“Server Uptime” is buzzword for every webhosts. But those who are associated with WebHosts, either as a client or as owner, knows that maintaining a high uptime is the most daunting task. Server uptime depends on a lot of factors such as quality of Hardware, Networking, Power availability, Monitoring, Support Quality, Processes etc.

Still a server with the best hardwares placed with the top notch facility too is not exempted from the sporadic software and hardware/network related issues, which can significantly affect server uptime. This necessitates the  availability of a highly competent server management team and the availability of fail over systems like UPS power backup, uninterrupted connectivity, etc. .

Webhosting server providers can either be a reseller of a popular or bigger webhosting company or an independent company with their own DCs . Unless you are quite financially leveraged and are technically confident, owning a dedicated Data Center to offer webhosting servers is a medium risk.

Like everything in life, we have multiple choices with the maintenance of servers as well. The most popular options here are Colocation and Dedicated Hosting. In this article I am trying to explain the features of Colocation or simply “Colo” with Dedicated hosting so that you can compare the pros and cons of each and make an informed decision. This is a much discussed topic, but still I will like to have my share 🙂

Colocation Hosting or Colo

If you prefer to have absolute control over the servers, which includes Hardware, Software, Networking, custom firewalls etc., Colocation or Colo is the right choice.

The name Colocation or Colo is confusing, ehh? Don’t worry, let me explain.

Let us assume that, you are confident about your or your team’s server management competency and prefers to have custom hardware for optimum performance.  You may not be able to get the right server, with your hardware and software preferences from the popular vendors within your budget and making your own DCs is out of question as well.

Here your requirement is quite simple, you want to place your own server on a data center with good infrastructure without compromising on your sovereignty over your own hardwares.

With Colocation, you get a leased rack/space to place your servers within a Data Center so that the most crucial elements such as Uninterrupted connectivity, Power, UPS Backups, Temperature management etc, are taken care by the DC. You are at your liberty to design and determine the components of the server from “scratch” and has full access to it. In fact you are not depending the hosting company or data center for the server, instead just renting rack space from them. You have the flexibility to manage, secure and maintain your server, while the hosting company backs the infrastructure the server is in.

Pros:

Hardware quality –  You know what is your server from its scratch

Proximity with your clients – You can choose the nearest DC to your client base.  If your provider doesn’t have  DC location nearer to your client base, the latency can be higher. With Colo, you are not bound with any DCs and can move your servers around for better customer experience.

Absolute Control – You have full access and control over the system.You may even implement HW firewalls/Networking tools for your server alone.

Low Monthly Cost – Regular recurring expenses in the form of rent/lease is quite low when compared with other options.

Cons:

High Upfront cost – Due to the purchase of server components

Technical Competency – The admin or team need to be quite competent to identify and resolve any issues with the server.

Absence of DC Support – The will be little involvement with the DC and if you prefer the cost for support would be quite higher.

Delay for Hardware replacements – you need to purchase, ship and get it executed your self (sometimes you get DC technicians help)

Dedicated Hosting:

As the name implies Dedicated Server is a server provided by the webhosting company exclusively for your requirements. There won’t be any sort of resource sharing and you will be given with remote server access with varying level of permissions based on the hosting type you are into. Even though it is dedicated, it is not owned by you. Instead you pay a certain amount as rent/lease on a monthly basis to the hosting company for the server.

Dedicated hosting offers two modes of server management:

a. Unmanaged Hosting: The dedicated server is to be managed by the IT people at your own end. You can have root/Administrator level access and can perform majority of operations which doesn’t require physical access to the server.

b. Managed Hosting: The hosting provider manages the server for you. You may not have full access to the server, however you may get access to remote console for server management. The plan is apt for those who don’t have the availability of a competent server admin. However managed hosting is bit expensive than its ‘sibling’ unmanaged hosting.

Pros

Low initial investment costs – No purchase is required

Availability of DC support team for emergency management

Hardware replacement/ Capacity expansion etc. are more easier and depending on the DC, mostly instantaneous (< 2 hours is standard)

Cons:

Only standard hardwares are available – You can’t build your machine

You can’t be assured about competency of admin who works on your server. But most of the times, they are competent.

Low scope of customization and optimization

Recurring monthly expense in the form of server rent

Conclusion

The choice of whether to go with a Colocated server or for a Dedicated server primarily depends on your financial and technical confidence. Dedicated hosting appears to be a good choice for start ups with limitations for initial investments. But for those who look for high performance and scalability with low recurring monthly costs, then colocation is the right choice.

Category : General

Soumya Sivasankar

Soumya Sivasankar

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