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Key Differences between Colocation and Managed Hosting that Influence Choice of IT Provisioning

Extensive adoption of outsourced IT infrastructure capabilities has given rise to development of diverse outsourcing models. The two major IT outsourcing alternatives that are most frequently sought after by organizations are data center colocation and managed server hosting services.

Major reason for popularity of these outsourcing solutions is their ability to empower organizations with robust IT services that are backed by guaranteed uptime and uncompromised security. Many organizations are facing dilemma of choosing between these two models of outsourcing for efficient management of their IT related tasks.


The solution to this problem exists in thorough understanding of various factors in relation with types of workloads that need to be handled and unique needs of organization. In-depth understanding of colocation and managed server hosting can throw more light on different features of these solutions and facilitate an appropriate comparison.

Managed hosting for IT infrastructure outsourcing

The term managed server hosting refers to the model of IT provisioning that involves leasing of a dedicated web server and related hardware to a single organization. The server and networking equipment is installed at data centers owned and operated by Managed Service Provider (MSP).

Managed Server hosting allows hosting of specialized applications and overall web presence of the end user organization by offering round the clock support such as security, upgrades, and maintenance. Managed Server Service Providers have acquired remarkable expertise of running data center facilities with help of qualified IT professionals.

Their services are backed by industry certifications and are offered by stringently adhering to government regulations. MSPs are responsible for maintaining high network uptime and other supportive services that are governed by Service Level Agreements. Following types of services are usually outsourced by organizations from MSPs on utility basis:

• Network access
• Configuring and setting up of software
• Management and security of network and premises
• Web-hosting solutions
• Network security and patch management
• Network administration

Managed server hosting offers continuous technology upgrades and assures end users that they are able to leverage the latest technologies for management of their IT infrastructure. Organizations are also free to plan growth and expansion initiatives without worrying about additional resource availability.

There is no need to block funds by purchasing costly IT equipments to support expansion plans. The funds can be effectively channelized for implementation of more productive tasks and projects. Same logic can be also applied to IT talent pool of the organization.

IT personnel are not required to look after mundane tasks of server management. They can be roped in to work on more creative projects. Managed server hosting services are governed by Service Level Agreements that can be tailored to suit organizational priorities.


Colocation involves shifting your own hardware to data center that are remotely located. The arrangement obviates the need to build and operate on-premise data center facilities.

Server colocation is implemented to maintain seamless server control in terms of servicing, operating systems, and installation of applications. The Managed Server Service Provider offers a secure and climate controlled environment of data center in addition to redundant power and networking support.

Server management, monitoring, and maintenance can be looked after by the Managed Service provider or colocation service provider. Major objective of colocation is to access MSP’s domain expertise, vast IT capabilities, and other resources including premises, security arrangements, without making any capital investments.

Server Colocation has been effectively adopted by several leading organizations that require compliance with regulations and protocols, as an effective IT provisioning solution to reduce data center footprint without losing control over hardware equipment.

This type of an arrangement is ideally suitable for organizations that are engaged in managing financial services, healthcare services, testing and development sectors, or are handling sensitive information of customers. These services are also preferred by organizations that have made huge investment in purchasing web servers and other IT equipment to ensure that the hardware is utilized effectively.

Organizations can enjoy freedom from day-to-day server related activities, security upgrades, and so forth. This allows the IT personnel to focus their capabilities on more productive projects and tasks.

Choosing between managed server services and colocation

Having gained in-depth knowledge about the two IT provisioning alternatives, you should be in a much better position to analyze these two options from different perspectives. While both of the options have their individual place with respect to requirements of different end users, the third option of the combination of colocation and managed server hosting can also be leveraged for handling specific needs of enterprises.

About Abhay Singh (64 Posts)

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