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I’m often asked about the difference between colocation and dedicated servers. Here’s a quick primer on colocation vs. dedicated servers:
Collocation is a cap-ex free alternative to building your own data center. Rather than invest the capital in backup generators, UPSs and HVAC units, colocation lets you leverage a shared data center. The data center is shared with other company’s IT departments – effectively sharing the data center infrastructure and operating costs across a number of companies.
While data centers vary widely in the quality and level of infrastructure, basic colocation provides backed up power, cooling, fire prevention and Internet connectivity to your equipment. Managed colocation provides a number of services and capabilities above basic colocation.
Services like high availability power (dual home run power), high availability redundant network, firewall, VPN, threat management, load balancing, electronic backup to remote data centers, server uptime and performance monitoring, Internet rebootable power, remote IP KVM, and a customer portal to manage your colocated equipment over the Internet (just some of the features Online Tech provides to it’s colocation customers).
The data center infrastructure is in place including power already found it’s far more cost effective to leverage colocation as a cost containment option.
Dedicated servers go one step further than colocation. With colocation, you bring your servers, storage and sometime network equipment into the data center. With dedicated servers, the data center operator provides the server hardware preloaded with the operating system of choice.
Higher end dedicated server offerings include monitoring, patch management, high availability power and network connectivity, firewall, OS patch management, and complete maintenance of your servers including a recovery time SLA should the dedicated server experience a failure.
Where colocation provides a cap-ex free data center alternative where you don’t have to invest the capital to build out your data center, dedicated servers provides another way to convert IT capital expenses into operating expenses by eliminating the need to purchase the server hardware.
As you move up the data center delivery stack, dedicated servers provide the ability to expand computing resources without the capital expense required to purchase the equipment that might go into a colocation data center.