Businesses, at least once in their lifetime, face the dilemma of whether to collocate or to lease a dedicated server. Depending on the size of your requirement and the amount of control you are seeking, either solution can be the right fit for you. It is therefore essential to first know what you want from your IT infra in the long run – control, flexibility, customizability, security or privacy. For businesses that are immensely huge, co-locating could be the solution and contrary to the belief, it can actually help them save on costs.
In this article, I will explain why (and whether) you should collocate your servers or continue sticking on your current host. So, let’s get started without further ado.
Collocating a server is an arduous task, one that involves a significant number of workforce. The work can scarcely be said done even after you have moved your servers. Maintenance on colocation is its biggest pain point and unless you have a dedicated IT staff, forget about collocating and stick with dedicated servers. They may cost more but it’s worth the convenience.
However, when it comes to enterprise-class businesses, they aren’t nearly as much restrained with the workforce as any medium to a small-level enterprise. There’s way too much scope to accommodate an additional colocation job, when there are 2000 employees in your company, assuming each and everyone present can handle IT operations.
Colocation involves some upfront capital expenditure while hosting none at all. When you move to a colocation facility you provide your own servers, racks (at times), firewall and other equipment as may be necessary to keep a miniature data center running. If not available, you may ask your host to provide you with some of this equipment but like every other thing, that’s going to cost you money. If you have zero equipment available, the cost can easily shoot up and you’d be required to shell out way too much money.
If your organization indeed needs a highly sophisticated hosting environment, colocation can actually help you save money. Consider this. When you collocate you only pay for bandwidth, cooling, power and maintenance. When added, these three components cost less than dedicated hosting services but only marginally. The differential price is not much tangible and you’d notice little to no difference in your bills every month but in the long run, it helps you save significantly.
As per our study, more than half the clients who invested in procuring servers reported that their initial investment became free in the first year itself.
Consider the example below –
Initial investment in colocation – $ 2000
Hosting charges per month – $ 430
Charges incurred per month after collocating – $ 250
Savings per month – $ 180
At this rate, the investment will become free in 2000/180, nearly 1 year.
As I said, the workforce available on-site determines whether you can viably collocate your servers or not. In absence of a proficient IT workforce, you may not be able to maintain a dedicated server, let alone collocating to a data center.
Once you co-locate, make sure that adequate work staff is available in your company, and that they can handle additional work. If you are planning to have your own IT ecosystem, hire some people who know how to handle server jobs.
Do note that once you hire these people, it will cost you bucks out of your pocket every month, in the form of remittance paid each month. Include that as your co-locating expense and then decide whether you can afford to shell out that much money every month. If not, the answer is simple, stick with the hosting service.
For a hosting service, dedicated servers offer a good amount of control but as an enterprise, you might crave for more. It’s an old saying that a server is only as good as the host. The amount of control that you get in your server varies from provider to provider but at the rudimentary level, all offer more or less the same functionalities. Switching your provider will not make much of a difference either. The max you’ll gain is one or two additional features and, as a hosting professional myself, I don’t see you gaining anything concrete except for two trivial functions.
Your scope is really limited here. Consider collocating. If there are SLAs that you want complied to, that can be arranged in colocation. You will also unlock more control than you presently have, given that you can pump in money to support such a massive exodus of equipment to a third-party data center.
Well, to sum up, I’d say that you should collocate not only when absolutely necessary but also to gain better control and customization on your existing systems. Many businesses that I know of had collocated early on and, although it proved costly at first, it costs them way less than other clients who have opted for hosting.
You should consider colocation in the following situations –
|Do you have an IT workforce available?||You can consider colocation.||Do not collocate until absolutely necessary|
|Do you need more control on a dedicated server?||Co-locate right away.||Not needed.|
|Is cost an issue?||Co-locate only if you have equipment available.||Co-locate whenever you want.|