If you're not a technician or don't have enough time to manage an entire computer network, maintaining a server or any kind of Internet-based service can cripple your business. The level of skill and dedication required to build, maintain and constantly improve such services is a full-time job, and often requires multiple staff members when demand and extra equipment is needed. As you decide whether or not to use a dedicated data center for your resources, consider what an in-house system could cost you versus a colocation service.
Requirements for an In-House Server
Servers exists to distribute (serve) files to different computer systems. The simple file sharing has evolved into servers that can perform complex tasks such as calculation, database management, or even running software so the requesting computer doesn't have to.
A server is more than just a computer that shares. Due to the higher performance requirements, a server needs a powerful cooling system. These cooling systems often consist of a climate-controlled room that can be managed separately from other rooms and a cooling system that goes directly to the parts requiring cooling.
The server also needs an Internet connection that can be a lot more than the basic residential or business Internet connection. If you have regular users who connect to the server via the Internet, you'll need a dedicated connection that isn't hampered by other activities in the business.
Such speeds often require additional networking equipment, such as routers, switches, and hubs. Just like the server, these network devices require cooling in order to operate under heavy demand. The equipment—including the cooling systems—can add onto your utility bill. Unless you have subsidies to assist with the cost, colocation can save money.
How Can Colocation Help?
With colocation, you can lease the resources of existing, well-maintained servers. Data centers designed to offer colocation are built with the operating costs in mind; the cooling and maintenance costs from electrical and water utilities are factored into the final costs, and many data centers may choose to build their warehouses in rural areas offering low utility costs.
The cost to manage the server is the cost that a colocation professional quotes. Once you enter a service-level agreement with a binding contract, that's your cost; utility bills, air conditioning breakdowns, or damaged hardware aren't a part of your bill unless you somehow cause the problem.
You can access a colocated server with your data center account information, which is created upon signing up for services. The only thing you won't be able to do easily is physically visit and make changes to the server—an action that isn't necessary, since you can simply lease the amount of resources you need as time goes by.
Contact a colocation server professional such as Cologix to begin designing your server and planning for future upgrades.