Co-location is one of the most effective solutions for server hosting available today. It allows you use a custom server without having to construct a complex infrastructure to support the hardware. Not all co-location providers are the same. You will want to see a few things when choosing your first co-location hosting service.
Full Cabinet Options
You want to use a co-location provider that has different cabinet options available. The cabinet is the physical space where your server and all supporting hardware are going to sit. You usually have shared and full cabinet options. A shared cabinet means that your server will be sharing space with other servers and hardware. A full cabinet is basically a dedicate space just for your server. You want a co-location service with full cabinet options because your business could grow fast and upgrading will be easy.
Appropriate Bandwidth and Burst Capabilities
Something that is very important is a co-location hosting service that offers bandwidth rates appropriate for your needs. Your exact needs are going to depend on your expected traffic and the type of online service or website that you are running. Having too little or restricted bandwidth could leave your online server inaccessible to users. Always check the bandwidth before committing to a provider. Additionally, you might want burst capabilities. This allows the provider to temporarily increase bandwidth to handle a sudden influx of users to your server.
Redundant or Backup Systems
You always want to see redundant or backup systems when looking at a co-location hosting provider. These systems will take over if there is a hardware failure or other problem with the primary equipment. Backup systems are going to ensure that you do not experience long periods of downtime. They also help to prevent data loss and to thwart malicious attacks from hackers in certain situations. This is critical when you are relying on a server co-location provider to maintain maximum uptime with minimal performance problems.
You are going to have to access your co-located server across the Internet. You want to see a co-location provider that has secure connections. The most basic defence is a configurable firewall that will repel attacks and unauthorised access before allowing users near the server. A second option to look for is support for virtual private networks, or VPNs. A VPN is a secure connection that uses tunnelling protocols in order to mask the contents and ultimate destination of the data you are transmitting. Modern, configurable firewalls and VPNs are very useful features for maintaining secure connections to a co-located server.
A final thing to look for a server co-location hosting provider is managed services. You are going to want this option even if it is not needed at first. Managed services mean that professionals at the co-location site will perform many different technical tasks for you from server monitoring and load balancing to upgrading the operating system and backing up data. Managed services can be very valuable as your business grows.
Do not rush into choosing the first co-location service that you see. Take the time to do some research and look for the key elements that you need. The right co-location hosting service will benefit your servers and could become an invaluable business ally.