Data Center Colocation

What is Data Center Colocation?

Data center colocation is when a business leases space within a shared data center, with choices such as leasing rack space, cabinet or cage space, or even an entire room. Usually, the agreement includes physical security and a certain amount of power availability and internet connectivity guaranteed as well.

How does data center colocation work?

Customers in a colocation facility lease space for servers and other hardware that they own, with tenants’ resources physically separated from each other, sometimes via fences and locking gates. You’re just paying for the space within the colocation facility, along with an agreed-upon amount of security, connectivity, and power availability. Technical support may or may not be included in your agreement. Because the hardware is yours, that means you can use whatever hardware suits your purposes and configure it to meet your needs exactly.

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Why is data center colocation important?

With terabytes of data being generated every day, enterprises are finding that the resources needed to store and manage it can quickly run short. And expanding your own data center can require considerable time and capital expenditure, which makes leasing data center space an attractive option. In addition, using a colocation center can free your IT to focus on running your business instead of running a data center.

What are the challenges with data center colocation?

Because you are using your own hardware within a colocation facility, your ability to scale is limited. If your workload demand exceeds your hardware configuration, you’ll need to purchase additional resources and lease still more space to contain them. Now, many colocation facilities will have additional space that you can easily lease as your needs grow, but that capacity may not exist as you need it.

Another challenge to using your own hardware is that you remain responsible for maintaining and updating the resources yourself. That means that maintenance tasks such as network router and switch configuration, server refreshes, server reboots, power cycling, and inventory management are all yours to complete. And you will also need to physically enter the facility to replace any failed hardware components, such as hard drives or power supply units, and install new equipment as well.

And finally, you need to pay close attention to the service level agreement that details how much uptime you’re guaranteed. You’ll want to know what the redundant power source is, whether it’s an independent utility feed or a diesel generator, and what the associated A/B switching configuration is to make sure your requirements are met. In addition, you’ll want to know about the support you’re leasing—whether they have on-site staff or what the response times are should you need some kind of service.

What is the difference between an in-house data center and data center colocation?

The main difference between an in-house data center and data center colocation is that of ownership. When an organization runs an in-house data center, it owns the hardware and systems in the infrastructure. That means they have total control over the components’ location, how they’re run, and who can access them.

With that control comes significant demands, however. Deploying an on-premises data center means that the organization is entirely responsible for security, power, connectivity, maintenance, hardware and software administration, networking, and workload management. Maintenance alone requires significant hands-on resources, from replacing drives, managing configurations, maintaining the network, ensuring reliable power supply, and even general building upkeep. When a new server is needed, the in-house IT-team must order, rack, network, and provision it. Moreover, maintaining security requires consistent attention to software patches, OS upgrades, and configuration and access management.

A colocation provider, by contrast, maintains the building space, power, cooling, physical security, and telco access for WAN support, while the client rents the space where they locate their own computing, storage, networking, and any other gear needed to support their data. By using a colocation facility, an enterprise IT department no longer needs to purchase and operate the data center space, saving significant costs in capital construction and ongoing maintenance.

HPE and data center colocation

For decades, HPE has helped organizations accelerate outcomes by unlocking value from their data with leading technology solutions that offer a consistent experience across all clouds and edges, unleashing the capacity to develop new business models, increase operational performance, and respond to market demands with agility and innovation.

For customers whose applications are too sensitive or expensive to move to the cloud, HPE offers a number of solutions. HPE GreenLake edge-to-cloud platform provides customers with the ability to re-imagine their data center management, essentially offering a way to bring the cloud on-premises. In this arrangement, customers gain data-center-as-a-service and lease or rent what they consume in an on-premises model without having to buy capital equipment or run their own data center.

Another option offered is HPE GreenLake with colocation, which combines the benefits of a cloud experience with the full control of your IT, as if the data center were on-premises. HPE takes care of designing the space to match your needs and then implementing and managing the HPE GreenLake service at the colocation site. With HPE GreenLake with colocation, customers can purchase any cloud service at a colocation partner with one agreement, one point of contact, and a single invoice.