Friday, April 17, 2009

Is Co-location Right For You?

If you are outgrowing the services provided by your current web host, co-location may be a viable solution for you. Co-location differs from leasing a dedicated web server in that you actually provide the hardware to the hosting company. You basically "rent" space in their Network Operations Center (NOC) where you receive the bandwidth and facilities to get your web server up and running.

The big advantage of co-location is that you can use your own machine. This allows for greater flexibility in terms of administration and implementation of services, especially when dealing with your own clients and customers. This is also beneficial if you have an existing machine that will suit your web server needs but lack the appropriate facilities to get that machine online. Co-locating your server with a hosting company is usually cheaper than leasing a dedicated server directly from the company bercause you are providing the hardware rather than leasing a machine.

Typically your machine will be housed in a Network Operations Center (NOC). This gives you many benefits that would not be otherwise available. These include an environmentally controlled and secure facility, uninterruptible power supplies, 24x7 monitoring and the availability of bandwidth to meet your web hosting needs.

One of the biggest drawbacks to co-locating your web server is that hardware tends to become obsolete very quickly. Unless you have an existing machine that will serve your needs, purchasing a new machine specifically for use as a web server may not be cost effective. For instance, a new server that costs $3000 today may loose a tremendous amount of value in an little as 6 months due to the rapid technology improvements. Another drawback to co-location is that you must purchase the server initially rather than having the ability to spread the cost over a period of time.

Co-location advantages include......

- Greater flexibility
- Ability to use existing hardware
- More control over web server administration
- Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS)

Co-location disadvantages include.....

- Initial cost up front
- Hardware may become outdated quickly
- Web Server Administration is your responsibility

When considering co-location, it is important to determine your specific needs and compare the cost associated with co-location and other types of web hosting solutions. When evaluating a company, be sure to ask plenty of questions and ask for references.

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