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Colocation Uses and Benefits for Your Digital Strategy

What Is Colocation?

Colocation, often referred to as “colo,” is a type of shared data center where each customer rents space in the form of cabinets or cages. The colocation provider supplies power and connectivity to the customer space and is responsible for securing building access and keeping the facility cool so equipment doesn’t overheat.

Hardware such as servers is generally supplied by the customer, although the provider may assist with installing and maintaining the hardware. A colocation provider may also provide fully-managed services from the same facility.

Components of a Colocation Data Center

Colocation data centers provide a secure and reliable environment for businesses to house their IT equipment. The key components of a colocation data center include the following:

Cabinets: Cabinets are large, enclosed metal structures that can house multiple servers and other IT equipment. They provide physical protection for the equipment and help to organize and manage the data center environment.
Racks: Racks are similar to cabinets, but they are smaller and more open. They are often used to house smaller servers and networking equipment.
Suites: Suites are typically enclosed spaces within a colocation data center that are leased to a single customer. They can be customized to meet specific needs and can include cabinets, racks, and other IT equipment.
Cross-connects: Cross-connects are physical connections between two different pieces of equipment within a colocation data center. They are versatile tools that can be used to improve interconnectivity between networks, to connect to cloud-based services, or to simply create more reliable and efficient connections between different pieces of equipment.
Remote hands: Remote hands is a service offered by colocation providers that allows customers to have their equipment serviced or repaired without having to send a technician to the data center. This can be useful for critical systems that cannot be taken offline.
Redundancy: Redundancy is the practice of having multiple backups of critical systems and components in order to minimize downtime. Colocation providers typically have redundant power supplies, cooling systems, and network connections. This ensures that if one component fails, the others continue to operate.

Why Is Colocation Needed?

Today’s global businesses often need a data center presence in the regions in which they operate. However, building and maintaining data centers can be incredibly expensive, with prices for data center hardware and energy increasing. In addition, new data centers are often subject to new sustainability requirements, which can add further costs and make a new location a poor financial choice for a single business.

More than half of organizations repatriated some data and applications from public cloud providers in 2022. (1) Reasons included security, data location, and data sovereignty. Colocation addresses these issues with less cost and effort than a self-managed data center.

Benefits of Colocation

Colocation typically improves business uptime, reduces capital expenditures, and boosts the quality of service for customers or users.

Lower TCO

Share expenses for lower and more predictable costs. Pay only for what you need with the option to choose less expensive locations.

Increased Reliability

Add multi-site redundancy, backup power, 24x7x365 support, and intelligent monitoring for reliable operations.

Better Flexibility

Scale up or down without building new facilities or paying for unused space and choose from multiple connectivity options.

Reduced Risk

Meet compliance requirements and restrict access with stringent physical security.

Faster Connectivity

Choose from multiple communication options and an advanced network backbone to reduce latency and increase bandwidth.

Improved Sustainability

Select a provider based on their renewable power or green building for shared space that’s more energy efficient.

Why Would an Organization Choose Colocation?

Colocation is the right choice for organizations that need:
  • Lower costs or effort than a private data center
  • Full control over their equipment
  • High reliability and redundancy
  • Data or applications in specific geographic locations
  • Physical security on site
  • Compliance with specific standards or regulations
  • Expert technical support

How to Choose the Right Colocation Services Provider

  1. Location: Does the provider have facilities where you need them? Are the locations subject to disruption due to natural or human events?
  2. Infrastructure: What sort of power and cooling options do they have? Does the facility have room for you to expand?
  3. Components: What is the setup for the internal network infrastructure? What components are included?
  4. Communication: Is the provider carrier neutral? How many options do they offer?
  5. Access: Can you physically get to your equipment when needed?
  6. Security: What physical security measures are in place to prevent unauthorized access?
  7. Compliance: What regulations can the provider meet?
  8. Redundancy: What sort of backup or disaster recovery capabilities does the provider offer?
  9. Support: Can you contact a member of the provider’s team 24x7x365?
  10. Sustainability: Does the provider align with your sustainability goals? Do they offer energy from renewable sources or green buildings?

Colocation Versus Public Cloud

Public cloud is a popular alternative to traditional data centers, but how does it compare to colocation?
Public Cloud
Server Ownership:
Shared Compute:
Customer Access:
Varies by usage

Evocative Offers a Full Range of Colocation Services

With customizable power, connectivity, and security packages and options for colocation cabinets, cages, or suites, Evocative offers services that meet your needs. Our 24 data centers, 32 points of presence, flexible IT deployment and management options, and carrier-neutral network access can help you power the demanding workloads of tomorrow.
1. 451 Research, Cloud repatriation: the who, the where, the why, December 2022
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