Server colocation is a new hosting option rising in popularity with even small and medium sized businesses. It permits smaller businesses to take advantage of the same IT developments as their larger counterparts without having to foot the enormous bills that would normally accompany such an investment. As most large and established companies already have a significant IT footprint, colocation permits smaller businesses to compete with them without the need to cough up many millions of pounds.
As well as the hardware advantages, many colocation services also offer access to a pool of IT professionals which would be out of the price range of many SMBs. Managed colocation also increases the efficiency of a hosting service by allowing placement of a server machine into a rack which shares bandwidth with other larger users, effectively sharing the larger bandwidth costs in an efficient manner across a selection of organisations who could not afford this level of service on their own.
Most colocation providers will offer both a managed service – where they handle all the setup and ongoing technical needs – and a more basic service where companies set up their own servers and then just place them in the provided racks. This gives companies access to much better networks, improved redundancies in terms of backup and power, and high end facilities which they otherwise would not be able to afford.
The biggest advantage of colocation services over shared hosting or other arrangements is that businesses still physically own their server hardware which means they retain total control on what is on it and how it is put together. This keeps costs minimal for physical upgrades and software maintenance, and gives an added level of independence which prevents small businesses from being held hostage by server companies who may decide to charge extra for a server upgrade or simply hold off on needed upgrades for as long as possible, with the expected detrimental effects to performance.