What is colocation?

Moving your existing servers out of your own premises and in to a data centre improves reliability and security while granting access to sophisticated connectivity and hybrid cloud computing options.

IT and applications are increasingly moving to the cloud, but there are still a great many servers sitting in offices around the world. These servers can be a drain on their owners, who have to manage and maintain them, and they still remain vulnerable to a wide range of business risks including fire, theft and connectivity outage.

When the investment in equipment has already been made, and you want to continue using it, but you want to benefit from a more secure environment, better access to connectivity and higher levels of resilience, colocation is the solution.

What is colocation?

Colocation is the act of housing your physical servers in someone else’s data centre.

By colocating your servers within a managed data centre, you can obtain many of the benefits of the data centre environment and business model without the need to invest in new dedicated servers or migrate your applications to virtual ones.

Key benefits of collocating your servers include improved business continuity capability, enhanced connectivity options and access to hybrid cloud options.

Business continuity

No business can affordably create an IT environment as safe and secure as that of a Tier 3 data centre – the tier of data centre that most respectable hosting providers operate.

A Tier 3 data centre offers, amongst other things:

  • Uninterruptable power suppliers
  • Fully redundant cooling systems
  • Fire suppression
  • Physical security and access control systems
  • Multiple routes to the internet
  • Compliance with key standards

All things that you, probably, cannot replicate on your own site and which can, in the event of a system outage or service interruption, keep your servers online and available.


With increasing globalisation, more mobile workers and BYOD trends, servers connected to your building’s internet pipe are not going to meet the connectivity needs of your organisation.

In a colocation facility, your servers can be given state of the art connectivity. This includes but is not limited to:

  • High-speed, low-latency networking between all your colocated servers
  • The same connectivity between your servers and other platforms (see hybrid cloud section)
  • Redundant switching that can cope with network device failure
  • MPLS lines to your office – MPLS circuits offer greater bandwidth and reliability, with optional zero contention
  • Direct access to peering and transit – for high speed global reach

Hybrid cloud

Data centres are, naturally, the place where public, private and bare metal clouds live. Colocating your own servers with providers of these other platforms will make it easier integrate them into a hybrid cloud solution – both technically and financially.

By colocating within a data centre, your servers can easily be connected with a wide range of complementary technologies that address specific requirements for your business. These could include solutions like:

  • Burstable public cloud capacity for volatile web traffic
  • Tiered storage to balance fast retrieval with archive scale
  • Private cloud for the creation of virtual machines within company security policies
  • Bare metal cloud for dedicated machines and container app deployments

A solution for now, and the future

From your first steps into cloud computing through to a fully mature cloud strategy, colocation plays a valuable role at every stage of cloud adoption. For some services, running anything but your own hardware may not be an option but by colocating you’re getting access to all the benefits of the data centre environment all the same.

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