All businesses have IT hardware they need to house, whether it’s a handful of servers in the corner of the office or a large estate of multiple servers and associated equipment. These systems are key to the business, and need to be in an environment that is secure, reliable, and looked after by experts. But this environment incurs its own cost. Reliable power distribution, cooling systems, and networking must all be installed and then correctly maintained in order for the servers to continue operating optimally. The cost of housing a server, therefore, requires a significant level of capital investment as well as on-going operating expense, and that is simply not cost effective for many organisations.
A cost-effective solution is colocation: housing your IT hardware in a purpose-built datacentre owned and operated by a trusted partner such as ourselves. There is no extra capital expense involved in moving to a colocation solution; you simply move your existing equipment into pre-built racks in our datacentre and we will look after the costly supporting datacentre infrastructure: building fabric, power, cooling, and physical security. Using one of our datacentres removes the need for your business to sink money and resources into housing your infrastructure on your own premises.
The commercial goal of colocation is to avoid the up front capital expense of building your own hosting facilities by following an OPEX model of paying the colocation provider for the hosting space and services you need. Accordingly, our colocation contract terms are flexible, allowing you to rent a footprint from as small as part of a shared rack up to multiple racks locked in your own secure cage or even a dedicated private room within the facility, depending on your needs, and paying only for the capacity you are using. Billing is monthly, and you do not need to commit to lengthy contract terms if you do not wish to. Furthermore, as your IT needs grow, your datacentre footprint can scale accordingly, with none of the up-front capital expense you would need to expand your own on-premise server room.
Advantages of colocation
An overlooked cost of housing your own servers is the resource drain on your IT and building management staff, as not only the servers but also the infrastructure that keeps them running requires monitoring and on-going maintenance by experienced and qualified staff. Again, a colocation service provides you cost savings here. Our engineering staff are responsible for maintaining the facility and responding to issues 24/7, freeing your own IT resources to concentrate on running your business systems.
The key cost advantage of colocation is that we house multiple customers within each datacentre, allowing us to spread the cost of maintaining the facility—the building fabric, the power feeds, the generators, the CCTV cameras, the maintenance engineers, and so on—between all of those customers. This allows us to achieve economies of scale that no single customer could achieve alone while maintaining an equivalent level of environment, and we can pass those economies directly on to you with a competitive colocation pricing model, providing you with high service levels at a reduced overall operational cost to you.
Typically, businesses find that colocation hosting improves business operations, cuts capital costs and increases the quality and reliability of service that their own customers experience.
One of the potential downsides to the colocation approach is that distance from your own premises can mean long travel times if your engineers need to physically access your hardware. To mitigate this, we own and manage a range of datacentres across the country, from London to Scotland, with excellent transport links. All of our datacentres are constructed to similar levels of enterprise-class specification, allowing you to choose a facility that is geographically convenient for you and know that you will benefit from our guarantees of best-of-breed service, security, and availability levels. Furthermore, we offer “remote hands” services, where our engineers act on your behalf in carrying out essential maintenance, repairs, or upgrades to your collocated equipment, meaning that in many cases you can avoid sending your own engineers entirely.
Managing and maintaining the datacentre is our core business. We have been running several large datacentres with great success for many years, providing high quality colocation services to our many customers. Our colocation facilities are “move-in ready”, pre-built and pre-configured for the rapid installation of your hardware. Our colocation is simple to order and on-board, and is billed as a monthly service. We offer a number of service tiers to suit your specific needs, and a variable footprint size ranging from part of a single rack to a dedicated and secure private suite housing multiple racks.
Cost efficiency is only one business benefit of colocation. The other key benefit is improved reliability. Power outages and loss of network connectivity are major disruptors to IT operations, and in business-critical or customer-facing IT systems any downtime will result in loss of custom and reputation. While there are steps you can take to limit downtime for systems on your own premises, these steps are unavoidably limited in a typical office building. By contrast, our datacentres are designed from the ground up to be reliable, with multiple redundant cooling systems, multiple power feeds backed up by high-capacity, enterprise-class UPS systems and on-site diesel generators, and multiple diverse network connections that take services from several different telecommunications carriers to minimise the risk of communication outages. Your IT will continue to function and serve your customers even after a component failure that would bring everything to a halt if housed in your own offices.
Because we own and manage the entire environment that houses your servers, all the way down to the basic components such as the power cable to a rack or the hose to a heat exchanger, this provides us with clear visibility of any issue affecting your collocated servers and vastly increases the speed of diagnosis and resolution of issues.
Security and additional services
Our datacentres also offer a high level of physical security for your systems. With multiple levels of access controls, internal and external CCTV, steel perimeter fencing preventing access, and visitors escorted by our staff, you can be sure that your servers are well protected. Our ISO 27001 accreditation for IT security management covers all of our datacentres.
We offer a range of optional services to support your collocated IT. Although your own engineers will have full access to your own equipment, our expert datacentre staff can perform many maintenance tasks for you. We call this “remote hands” because our engineers act as your hands in carrying out essential maintenance, repairs, or upgrades to your collocated equipment under your direction. It is important to note that our datacentre engineers do not touch your collocated equipment except under explicit instruction from you, however. You still own the servers, you are responsible for setting up and configuring them, and your own engineers will have full access to them 24/7 if required. Furthermore, colocation deals only with the physical housing of your hardware, and the operating systems and software that runs on your servers is entirely your responsibility and never touched by us.
Our colocation services are complemented by a flexible and cost-effective range of network connectivity services, connecting you and your customers to your collocated IT with a bandwidth that is correctly sized for your needs. In addition to the multiple third-party telco carriers that connect to our datacentres, we can offer a range of managed network services and options for fast, reliable access to the major public cloud providers through cloud-connected racks using our dedicated Cloud Connect service.
Our colocation services are priced according to the physical space that your servers take up in the datacentre and the amount of power they draw. Additional charges may be made for networking provision, and for any “remote hands” server maintenance tasks you ask our engineers to carry out on your behalf.
Contact us to find out more.