Colocation, housing IT systems at third party data centers, is an effective way to increase data security, improve system availability, and save money. It also can improve interoperability, flexibility, and functionality by making available enhanced internet services.

Though most organizations do not choose colocation primarily to improve their internet service, they are frequently surprised to learn the different ways colocation enhances networking. These include-

  • Increased Connectivity
  • Hybrid Cloud Support
  • Improved Availability
  • Faster Circuit Provisioning
  • Flexibility to Adjust Bandwidth
  • Consistent Network Performance
  • Enhanced Security

One networking benefit derives from carrier neutrality. Most colocation service providers include “Meet Me” rooms where multiple internet carriers are connected to their data center. Clients have the flexibility to choose the best internet carrier for their needs. By providing multiple internet carriers from which to choose, the colocation facility is deemed to be carrier neutral. Carrier neutrality increases connectivity options and may also lead to cost savings due to increased competition between the various internet service providers.

Connectivity to Public Cloud providers is another advantage of colocation. Organizations are building hybrid cloud solutions to make sure their workloads are hosted cost-effectively. For example, database applications can be placed at a colocation facility to avoid excessive Public Cloud egress expenses. The colocation facility enables connectivity to those applications that are cost-effective in the Public Cloud while saving a lot of money when the Public Cloud is cost prohibitive.

Colocation providers, because they have multiple internet carriers terminating at their data center, can offer automatic failover in case the primary internet service is disrupted. Border Gateway Protocol (BGP) is frequently employed to manage and automate the failover process. The ability to automatically switch to a backup internet service increases network availability.

Ordering a new internet circuit from a carrier can take up to three months. Most colocation service providers order bandwidth in bulk and proactively order additional capacity so they are ready when clients request more service. Clients can get new services up and running faster by taking advantage of readily available internet bandwidth at a colocation facility.

Organizations also benefit from being able to order the amount of bandwidth they need and adjusting up or down to respond to changing requirements. Colocation service providers can usually increase or decrease the contracted amount of bandwidth provided to individual clients in a few hours. The ability to modify bandwidth as needed to meet changing network requirements helps clients react quickly and save money.

Data centers providing colocation services often offer Dedicated Bandwidth. With the Dedicated Bandwidth option (preferred), clients do not share bandwidth with other clients. They are guaranteed contracted levels of internet service.  Clients purchase internet bandwidth, typically in increments of Mbps, for a monthly fee. The dedicated bandwidth approach assures consistent internet performance.

Finally, network security is improved by colocation. Data center professionals at the colocation provider configure and monitor firewalls and security software to provide continuous protection. Physical access to the colocation facility is restricted to minimize opportunities for local breaches. Organizations that use colocation services take advantage of the data security expertise of the colocation professionals to supplement their own security team.