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Colocation - Choosing Colocation Services

Colocation faq and quick reference

What Help do we Provide Setting up Racks
Rack setup

Our techs are highly trained setting up racks and colocation. If you choose to ship your server or servers to us, in most cases we are able to offer free hands-on setup of your rack. This is a perk virtually no other datacenter offers. You have the option of shipping or dropping off your servers at our facilities. You also have the option of coming in personally to mount and install your owner servers.
Do I Need to Provide a Switch?
Switch options with us

If you maintain a quarter rack or above, you need a switch to send traffic to the servers on your rack. You can provide your own switch or you can rent one from us. For instance, in our South Bend facility we offer Cisco 24 switches. Please note that this piece of hardware does take up one U slot.

For pricing, click on any of the colocation services (at right) and the switch will be offered in the options menu. If you are only colocating one server, you do not need a switch.
Colocaton vs Dedicated Server Hosting
Colocaton vs Dedicated Server Hosting

You may be considering moving your business towards the aquisition of some sort of dedicated server hardware. The benefits are enormous even if you are a small business or a single website of a significant subscriber base. In reference to that, you may be questioning whether to go with a colocation or standard dedicated server rental.

Dedicated servers allow you to focus web server analysis and performance based on only your needs. You do not have to worry about the needs of other parties on your dedicated server. You can tweak settings, restrict access, tighten security or make it loose. You can deliver stellar throughput and make your websites and web files pop. It is all under your control. Both colocation and dedicated server hosting do the same thing. Allow you to use a machine to broadcast websites or web files to the web. The difference is mainly in the cost and maintenance. see the sections below for a breakdown
Colocation explained
Colocation

Server colocation is just that, you take a server you own and CO-LOCATE it in a datacenter (see our datacenter locations). The datacenter receives the server in the mail from you, connects it to the internet, and in most cases will install whatever O/S or control panel (WHMcpanel, etc) into the colocation server. You do not have to worry about connecting it to the internet, etc, or how it connects to the datacenter colocation rack.

Hardware responibility: You are responsible for the upkeep of your hardware in a dedicated server colocation situation. If a component of your server fails then you have to send another one to the datacenter. You may want to send extra parts when you supply the datacenter with your colocated server. If a piece goes bad and it takes you a while to get it to the datacenter, then you may have an outage situation (some typical hardware costs)

The costs of colocation are lower monthly. They usually range from $60 to $120 (see our colocation costs). However, there is an initial investment on getting the server, there are the costs of upkeeping the server, and for providing replacement parts and shipping. A good server can costs upwards of $500 - $2000 (build your own rack server pricing example). Some datacenters also charge for manhours related with hardware moving and replacement (noting that we do not).

Why you should use server colocation? If you are comfortable setting up your own server and paying the costs of server components, then colocation may be right for you. If you want to keep your hardware forever.

Why you should not use server colocation? If you want your hardware to be replaced on demand when it breaks (motherboard, ram, connectors, fans, cpu, power system) for free then you should not use server colocation. If you want more of a managed approached, you should not use server colocation.
Dedication server hosting explained
Dedicated server hosting (dedicated server rentals)

Dedicated server rentals are usually based on a monthly rental charge. The datacenter pays for the cost of the server and the cost of upkeeping the server. All you do is pay the monthly fee. When you are finished renting the server, you simply stop the subscription. The hardware is owned by the datacenter, so they take it back when you are finished.

Dedicated server rentals are a turnkey situation. You pick one out from a list of stocked items and the datacenter connects it to the internet and formats it. Pricing on dedicated servers ranges from $49 to $250 and is usually based on the power, disk and ram provisions of the dedicated server. The low end servers are not much more than the cost of a colocation service.

On a cost basis, you don't have to pay for any hardware, nor do you have to pay for when a dedicated server component goes bad. You can expect in most cases that the datacenter has replacement parts on hand for all servers. This means if you have an outage caused by a hardware component, the dedicated server is repaired right away. In addition to this, datacenters are usually very aware of the advantages and limitations of the servers they carry. They are able to better care for an diagnos hardware related issues.

Why you should use dedicated server hosting? If you would like a more managed approached to your server, then dedicated server hosting is for you. If you don't want to have to worry about server delivery or replacement parts then dedicated server hosting is for you.

Why you should not use dedicated server hosting? If you have invested in a colocation server already and can handle component replacement, then use colocation.
Colocation rack definitions
Rack:

A colocation rack is the physical shell that holds the dedicated servers. Think of it just like a rack of shelves you use in the garage. The servers are placed on the shelves. The rack provides connections to the power system and the internet as well as easy access for techs. They are typically the height of a person.

Rackspace:

This is the size of the rack. A rack can hold a number of servers on it. Typical racks are able to hold 40 units. That doesn't mean 40 servers as each server can take up more than one unit.

Rack space (deteriming what you need in UNITS)

All dedicated colocation servers are rated in units ("U") like 1U, 3U, etc. This determines how many spaces in the rack the unit needs. So a 4U server would need a rack space of 4. 1U is very roughly 1.75 inches in height, but it can vary. Our colocation services support individual servers in the range of 1U to 4U.

1U Colocation

A colocation rack server that takes up 1 unit of space. One unit of space is normally around 1.75 inches. Normal racks hold 40 units.

2U Colocation

A colocation rack server that takes up 2 units of space. One unit of space is normally around 1.75 inches. Normal racks hold 40 units.

3U Colocation

A colocation rack server that takes up 3 units of space. One unit of space is normally around 1.75 inches. Normal racks hold 40 units.

4U Colocation

A colocation rack server that takes up 1 units of space. One unit of space is normally around 1.75 inches. Normal racks hold 40 units.

Quarter rack Colocation

A quater rack typically gives you 10 units of space. One unit of space is normally around 1.75 inches. Normal racks hold 40 units.

Half rack Colocation

A half rack typically gives you 20 units of space. One unit of space is normally around 1.75 inches. Normal racks hold 40 units.

Full rack Colocation

A full rack typically gives you 40 units of space. One unit of space is normally around 1.75 inches. Normal racks hold 40 units.

Bread Rack Colocation

A bread rack is built special to hold tower and desktop cases. The size of them can vary, however, typically a break rack can hold 20 mid-tower cases. As tower sizes can vary this number is subject to adjustment.
Desktop or Tower Colocation
Desktop and home PC towers are not specifically designed to go into a datacenter. So they do not use the "U" designation above. You should provide the datacenter with the dimensions of the server before you send it for colocation to make sure that it will fit the rack.
Colocation power issues
Colocation power decisions

Every server pulls a specific amount of electric power and that power has to be paid for. This is usually bundled into your colocation or dedicated server package. When providing a server for colocation, you need to know its power output needs. You should also try to provide a little leeway because servers can say they are one power but if they spike they may pull a little more. Most servers will take up 2 amps and this is pretty standard. But make sure the voltage measurements are the same as what the rack has to offer.
Choosing colocation providers (or a host)
Choosing a colocation provider

There are many colocation providers and datacenters. They are all differenct. You should aim at one that fills your specific needs but there are a few things to look for.

Colocation location: A good colocation datacenter should be located on more than one major backbone. For instance, we utilize several carriers meshed together through BGP (border gateway protocol) and can deliver connectivity to almost every major network backbone in under 5 milliseconds. If one backgone carriers goes down (which they certainly do) you do not want to loose your server uptime. In addition try to steer clear of any major fault lines (ie California).

Time in business: Make sure your datacenter provider has been around a while. There are so many companies on the internet that they rise and fall daily. Make sure your provider is experienced.

Hands on: Ask your provider what they do in the way of technical support. If you are running websites, it is good to go with a colocation provider who also has a lot of experience hosting and maintaining websites. We are one of the oldest hosts in the world, founded in 1996. Otherwise you will have a stellar server but no help running it.

Safety: Make sure your colocation provider has backup power generators and proper fire equipment standard in their facility as well as secondary datacenter locations should a massive disaster take place.