Co-locate With Caution

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Co-locate With Caution

There is nothing like having one's very own server in their premises, and having complete control over it, and there are hosting services that will agree to this type of arrangement. It would seem like the best of both worlds, the business gets to use the bandwidth and facilities at will, be able to lease a high grade, tier one network access from the host and be able to dictate the software and operating systems at the same time. Until one realizes that it may be too much to handle unless the company has a veteran webmaster in their payroll.

Aside from a webmaster, co-locating would also mean purchasing hardware, software and signing up for services. The only thing that a web hosting company will provide is the actual server, Ethernet connection, and a block of IP numbers. Turning all those things into something that would work for a company is the company's responsibility, like loading up the operating system that they want, as well as web server software, and getting connected to the World Wide Web.

Put in another way, it's like receiving all the components one needs to make a car, a few wrenches, no manuals, and a good luck pat on the back. If the company would need help in setting up these components to get them up and running, it will often cost them extra.

In a nutshell, co-location is not an option for webmasters who will need to have their hand held through the process. It is something that is best left for people who already know what to do, with enough skills and competencies to work on the project with little or no supervision.

Web hosting company that provide co-locating services will make the assumption that if a company would want that kind of arrangement, the company would know what to do. They will not be too keen on learning about that company's server configuration, nor will they be over eager to fix the equipment in case the novice web manager messes it up. These things are not part of the contract that they signed.

There are measures that a company can ask for from a web hosting provider for their co-location services. One of which is a free "reboot", in case the server needs to be physically restarted. That option can become necessary if the company is operating on a Windows based platform. Still, even if this reboot is part of the package, it will never hurt to ask the web hosting provider nicely when the time comes.

Another thing that a client can ask for is the proper scalability of the web hosting server. That is, it should be able to handle the load that the company will be demanding it to carry. Aside from that, the company should also have the guarantee that the web hosting servers are new and under warranty for repairs on-site, especially if the cause of the damage is not attributable to them.

The company client should also ensure that the co-location service will provide at least a minimum of T3 connectivity. An established server firm will often have inside deals with powerful broadband providers, and the company would benefit well from such relationships.

Big broadband providers and telecom companies will often have many NOCs or network operation centers that are interconnected to OC-12ATM or 45mps DS-3 lines with peering points, and there are web hosting companies that also have their own NOCs, or "meet me" facilities.

A company should also consider the web hosting provider's experience in dealing with concerned parties should the company need to procure the services of tier-one providers. If they have been in the business long enough, they will probably "know some people who know some people."

In relation to having an expensive piece of equipment lying around in a web hosting company's property, it would be good if the web hosting company finds a good business insurance plan that will indemnify them in case of loss or damage due to risks that are present in their locality. This is a good way to minimize the company's loss if in case the cause of the loss is unforeseen or inevitable. There are even insurances that will cover the risks associated with travel when a company ships the server for deployment.

The main reason for wanting a co-location is to keep the company's web presence, give it the speed and quality of services that it requires, things that are crucial for heavy traffic sites. It is best to keep these things in mind before choosing to colocate.

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