3 common colocation myths busted

Data centre colocation is an increasingly popular option for businesses of all sizes. Yet even as the sector grows, scepticism continues about how valuable colocation is to businesses, and what you lose in comparison to operating your own servers. For some, the sense is that colocation is for businesses who simply can’t afford something better.

As such, we’ve decided to delve into a few of the most common myths about colocation, from what colocation data centres are and do, to how accessible they are to the businesses that use them. Hopefully we can put a few minds at rest – and clarify just why it is that colocation data centres are booming in popularity.


1. “Data centres are IT warehouses”

It’s easy to stereotype a data centre if you don’t know what it does. To many people, the image of a data centre as a place full of computers and cables makes it seem messy and anachronistic. If you don’t understand the role data centres play in network infrastructure, you can see how this might suggest that data centres are less of a digital organism, working around the clock to keep websites running, and more of a warehouse for assorted tech.

It’s true that data centres do often support an array of devices, whether that’s storage systems and servers or routers and generators. However, they are also bustling and staff-driven facilities. Colocation data centres are staffed 24 hours a day, and often house multiple teams working on different server groups, and attending to specific clients. There are a lot of staff too, thanks to the need for shift work, all driving local economies.

In reality, data centres are highly organised and specific undertakings, built and equipped to exacting international standards. The data centre Tier Classification System requires a minimum uptime for servers of 99.671%, with just over 1 day of downtime allowed per year. Achieving that means a lot of care, attention and specialist knowledge – both among the staff and the builders, electricians and other professionals employed to build them.


2. “Data centres are built in the middle of nowhere”

The location of data centres is really important, but this doesn’t mean that it’s important for them to be remote. While some data centres are being built in cold areas to reduce energy costs, the choice of location varies from one data centre to another. The internet is a colossal beast, and the infrastructure to support it exists all around us, including many thousands of data centres.

One of the main reasons data centres exist in a variety of locations is to provide better quality services within that area. As a result, the vast majority of data centres are actually built in business hubs. That not only includes hub cities such as London or Manchester – where consumer demand is just as high – but also muh smaller hubs where businesses bring high data requirements.

An entire category of data centres – edge data centres – are designed to be built away from cities, and tailored to specific customers. And while colocation data centres don’t necessarily need to be built near to customers for speed or performance reasons, they do need to be accessible. After all, colocation data centres not only need to host physical hardware, but also make that hardware available to the business when needed.

This typically means colocation data centres have strong transport links, as well as access to robust local infrastructure, namely power and (naturally) internet connectivity. These combined requirements are often also met by business hubs such as industrial estates, whose combination of accessibility, nearby businesses and physical space is often a perfect fit. And when employees of other businesses visit a data centre, businesses in the local area benefit too.


3. “Who needs data centres? We have the cloud!”

The cloud is often talked about in mystical terms, but the reality is far more mundane. What started as a neat metaphor has turned into a confusing term for a whole group of services. Simply put, the cloud represents the concept of hosting data in multiple servers, and making it available to access over the internet. This provides both greater redundancy and accessibility than traditional, local storage.

In other words, the cloud is actually a series of physical servers stored in data centres – including colocation data centres. Serving customers means building capacity in a variety of data centres close to clients, and to the end users accessing that data or those services. Whether it’s a local company like Sota or a multinational monolith, the cloud requires a lot of capacity spread over large areas.

The cloud is data centres, meaning that all of your stored data and all of the web apps you use are hosted there. There are many different ways to host that data – but among them, colocation is often the best choice for small and medium-sized businesses. You not only get talented support staff to keep an eye on your equipment, but also have free access to it when you need it. This combines the autonomy of having your own servers with the expertise of a data centre – keeping your corner of the cloud afloat.

Now that you’ve learned about colocation data centre myths, you might be a bit more interested in our own colocation services. Sota’s data centres are staffed 24/7 by expert technicians, and our site is ideally positioned for businesses in Kent. To find out more about our colocation offerings and 24/7 support services here – or get in touch with us to see what we can do for you.

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