Colocation is increasingly the hot buzzword in small business hosting. It allows small businesses to tap into the power of having a private server in a high-tech facility, without incurring the costs of building out said facility. Still, colocation is not for every business, and can be overkill for some companies. Here is our guide to determining if colocation (or simply "colo") is right for you.
Specialized Software or Hardware Needs
If your server requires specialized software or hardware needs that aren’t covered by conventional managed hosting providers, colocation might be a good option. With colocation, you share space in a professional server warehouse that provides all the benefits of managed hosting (power and environmental regulation, security, high-speed internet access) but lets you build out your own server unit to your exact specifications. Often, this arrangement brings significant cost reduction over a traditional dedicated or managed server configuration.
Your Company Has Outgrown Internal Hosting
Colocation might be a great option for companies that are currently running a server or servers internally, but that are quickly outgrowing the ability of those servers to handle demand. In this situation, you already have some of the hardware that you need to expand, and switching to a fully managed or dedicated server from a provider would waste your existing resources. Moving to a colocation space would allow you to build upon your current setup while also giving you space and technology to grow to meet your needs.
Your Company Is Widely Distributed
If your employees are scattered across the map, and especially if many of them work remotely and you don’t maintain a large centralized office space, colocation may be the ideal solution for your hosting needs. It allows you to keep your servers in one location, rather than trying to shoehorn them into individual branch offices or otherwise dealing with location issues. Because colocation centers often offer blisteringly fast connection speeds, even far-away employees and distant field offices can feel as if the server is sitting right next to them.
You Need a Dedicated Server, But Don’t Have a Dedicated IT Team
Colocation providers often also provide support and management staff that can help you run your personalized and customized server without needing a large in-house IT team. This is especially useful for companies that have relatively high server requirements, but that don’t have a large employee pool.