co-location and access to your server

George Bonser gbonser at
Wed Jan 12 17:57:20 CST 2011

> From: Kevin Stange 

> You're talking about a dedicated server business versus colocation.
> Colocation can be a better solution if you have special needs for
> hardware or want to not pay for the extra overhead that needs to be
> built-in for supporting dedicated hardware (like stocking replacement
> parts, paying for the server's original purchase cost, extra fees for
> upgrade hardware, etc).
> Colo also lets customers move their hardware around if they ever want
> to change providers, rather than have to do a soft migration and to
> deliver a prepared server to a facility they can set up at home or in
> their office beforehand.  Depending on your exact needs, some of these
> things might outweigh the benefits of a dedicated server from the data
> center operator.

Agreed on the above two points.  I was thinking that it was great just to find someone these days that would accept a one-off server and that should be enough to be thankful for!  The access requirements can be a pain but if you are in a shared cabinet, you have people installing rack mounts, pulling servers in and out around your stuff, etc.  I can see where I would probably want the colo provider to have someone supervising what that other customer is doing right next to my server (did he cover my air vents with a bunch of cables?)  The degree of clue varies widely between people who might want to collocate a single server and if I am unlucky enough to be hosted directly above/below someone who is in/out of their server every week, I might get a little nervous.  Knowing that there is someone with a bit more clue (does that for a living) supervising (or at least witnessing) might ease my anxiety somewhat about what is going on in the cabinet where I am being hosted.
> As a colo provider, if you set up and enforce rules regarding mounting,
> air flow, cabling, etc and confirm them when the customer brings them
> to the facility, this problem does not really exist.

To some extent, that is true. I guess it depends on what is going on, too.  Does the customer arrive, request their server and the colo provider pulls it for them and deliver it to a work area or does the customer go get the server themselves under supervision of the colo provider?  There can be a lot of variables.  

> In our facilities, customers are welcome to come in to work on their
> hardware at any time 24/7.  We do not guarantee or offer that we will
> have the parts or tools needed to service the equipment and encourage
> customers to send us those things as needed or take care of the
> hardware personally in order to deal with any such concerns.
> This has never been a problem for us.

Awesome.  It's good to know that there are still operations like that around.  That is probably found more often in local providers and not so often in the big operations.  The more community oriented providers would be much more accepting of such a situation than a large operation.

But having clueful people around 24x7 to assist customers in shared cabinets may not be effective for them if they have just opened up and might not have a lot of customers yet.  If they only get one or two customers who come in after hours, I could see where they might figure it isn't cost effective for them to have staff on the swing and graveyard shifts. Larger operations might have an easier time with that, but having someone "on call" probably isn't that bad if it is infrequently needed.

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