This blog will take a look at understanding the difference between data centres and colocation. Many people use these two terms interchangeably, but they do have somewhat different meanings which it is helpful to understand. A data centre is a physical building with power infrastructure, cooling resources and security measures which is designed to house IT equipment. A company may own and operate a data centre and fill it with equipment themselves, racks, servers, cabling and so on, they are in essence the single tenant inside the data centre. Colocation is a service which is delivered from within a data centre. Instead of just a single occupier, multiple occupants place different equipment within the same data centre facility and share some of its resources, in much the same way that residents share common services in a block of flats. The multiple companies are then co-locating their equipment together.
Colocation as a service is based on the standards, policies, procedures, people and the data centre infrastructure it offers. The quality of each of these components drives the overall end-user experience, and also helps to define the facilities Tier ranking, (where 1 is a basic facility and 4 is the highest possible ranking for a very high specification data centre). Colocation is normally considered using the following three terms:
Measured either as an area (per square-foot or metre), or on a footprint basis (a single IT equipment rack requires a specific amount of space, which is called a footprint), and can be offered in partial or full rack increments.
All colocation facilities require power, since for most IT equipment this is fundamental. In many locations power is scarce or very expensive, so this can be an important consideration
If you have a specific amount of space and are consuming an amount of electrical power, then there will be a lot of heat generated which must be dispersed, hence the capability of a site to cool sufficiently is an important measure of the suitability of a site.
At C4L, we are experts in the field of colocation and we own our own data centre, so we have a unique perspective from which to assist our customers. We have access to data centres around the globe which ensures we can provide our customers with not only choice of data centre but also Tier specification to support your colocation service.