What is Data Center Colocation?

October 4, 2017 Mark Gaydos


Many people ask, “What is Data Center Colocation?”

The answer: A Data Center Colocation facility is one in which computing services are provided to many organizations by a third party. Colocation facilities, a.k.a. colos, are also referred to as multi-tenant data centers. Typically, the colo provider supplies the building, cooling, power, bandwidth and physical security while the tenant or customer provides the servers and storage.

Organizations choose colos over, or in addition to, on-premises data centers for a variety of reasons including:

  • Saving on the CAPEX (capital expenditures) of building, maintaining, staffing and updating their own data center
  • Lack of in-house personnel with data center skills
  • Need for disaster recovery services
  • Need for cloud services
  • Augmented data and facilities’ security
  • Processing or application scalability and flexibility as needs change

If you are shopping for a colo provider, before you finalize your vendor decision, consider more than just the cost savings as your most attractive option.  Even before you begin negotiations, determine exactly what you need from the colo provider and find out whether they have the capabilities to deliver it all.  Additional, more important questions to ask the colo facility manager are:

  • Is the facility equipped with a Data Center Infrastructure Management (DCIM) solution?
    • If so, ask if you will have access to the DCIM-generated reports on your organization’s actual power consumption and space usage, to self-monitor billing accuracy.
  • Does the colo have disaster planning?
  • What are the dependable power supply features?

If you decide to choose a colo provider for your organization, you remain responsible for managing your own resources. The colo provider will keep the lights and fans on, but you will be responsible for your assets, the people and processes that will manage them and for ensuring that staff has access to the assets they need to perform their jobs. Before you sign a contract, make sure that the colo facility meets or exceeds your Service Level Agreement (SLA) – meaning that the colo provider can deliver the services they contracted to provide.

One solution that offers value-add benefits to both colo tenant and provider is Nlyte’s Colocation Edition. Learn if your colo provider has integrated this solution.

With Nlyte’s solution, tenants can easily access their own secure information regarding power and space usage, uptime and environmentals and ensure that SLAs are being met. For the colo provider, Nlyte’s solution delivers added value to win and retain tenants, enables power savings and risk reduction with real-time reporting and empowers the sales team with up-to-date availability information.

If you still have more questions about how to select a colo provider, be sure to check out Nlyte’s colo resources.



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