The Benefits Of Co-Locating Your Server

Co-location of servers is an increasingly common practice because it relieves businesses from having to maintain a highly reliable hosting infrastructure with complete redundancy for power, cooling, and network access. In exchange, these businesses can focus on improving their bottom line, supporting customers, and other core business responsibilities.
Before going into more details on the benefits of co-location, it is important to understand what co-location is, and what it is not. Co-location is generally defined as the process of hosting server hardware and infrastructure that you own and operate in a facility owned and operated by a hosting provider who also hosts many other customers in the same datacenter. In a co-location hosting environment, the datacenter will supply network access, rack space for storing servers, filtered power with backup power supply, air conditioning, fire extinguisher controls, and any other infrastructure required to ensure maximum uptime and reliability of your servers.
For all but the largest of businesses, it no longer makes good business sense to self-host servers, particularly web-facing servers where any downtime or issues will be noticed and could potentially also affect the business operations of your customers as well. The fact is that commercial data centers such as those maintained by the top hosting providers are designed to host thousands of servers and as such maintain redundant network data feeds, often from multiple access providers.
Co-location facilities are generally groups into three categories, known as Class A, B, and C. Class C facilities are largely unmanned with no true redundancy or backup for critical services such as power, network access, and air conditioning. Industry estimates say that approximately half of all hosting facilities are Class C. Class B environments do have on-site support although it is often not available 24/7. Full redundancy for power, cooling, and network access is typically also not provided due to the complexity and cost for implementing these systems.
Class A environments are premium co-location facilities in that they can demonstrate available on-site support, redundancy for power, air conditioning, and network access, and complete security for your server infrastructure through the form of biometric controls, locking cabinets, and multiple pass security throughout the facility. This attention to detail and investment in a fully available, secure environment results in a much more capable hosting environment than most businesses could hope to implement on their own. The end result of hosting in a co-location environment is increased uptime, cost savings through use of an existing infrastructure elsewhere, and physical separation of your server environment from your standard office environment, which protects the servers from natural disasters, fire, or theft.