Why Colo?

By Paul Andrews | July 19, 2013

When IT decision makers asses their ongoing IT strategy, they often end up reviewing several potential changes – all purported to improve efficiencies, lower costs and make their organization run faster, better and stronger. One of the potential changes faced by many these days is: “Why should I consider colocation instead of housing my information in-house?”

It’s not a question you can answer without doing some homework first. You need to review your business’ needs and priorities and see what makes the most sense for you. In today’s post, we will help you out a bit by taking a look at the five primary considerations you should have in mind when deciding whether to make the jump to colo.

Purpose Built

Colocation facilities are purpose built, meaning they are specialized real estate with the express purpose of housing and running servers in a data center environment. This is not something you can force fit into any commercial office space – it needs to be designed and built specifically for the purpose of colo. Purpose building allows for facility managers to carefully select the site and build it out as needed, increasing redundancy, reliability, security and scalability. By trying to force a private data center into an existing office environment, companies typically have to sacrifice one or more of these attributes. Private data centers will need more upgrades and maintenance in order for them to operate at levels equivalent to a colo facility – and even with that extra cost they may never actually reach the same performance levels.

First Cost/Investment

Investment by a colo facility can range between $1,200 and $2,000 per square foot, depending on the equipment and maintenance contracts. Although this may seem like a lot, it pales in comparison to the expense of building your own private data center. The “first cost” of creating a colo facility covers architects, engineers, contract managers, generators, chillers, fiber, grounding, fuel storage…and the list goes on. When the price tags of all of these individual elements are added up, the cost of colo is extremely affordable. Businesses that select colocation are able to save time and money and then spend it on the things that make them profitable and successful.


Connectivity is another strong suit of colo facilities, since multiple carriers and service providers are attracted to put house their connections in a purpose built environment. Therefore, colo customers get a wider range of choices in networking and connectivity, which leads to a more personalized and cost effective solution. A bandwidth exchange, which can occur when multiple network providers are housed under the same roof, is an attractive option for collocated customers and can lead to bandwidth savings of 90% in some cases. On top of this, the added network diversity improves security and connection speeds.


Maintenance is often one of the most expensive items that businesses running their own data center. Colo eases this burden significantly by staffing 24/7/365 maintenance staff, so that if anything goes wrong, it can be quickly corrected. Some colo facilities also boast high uptimes; the best ones have 100% uptime, which helps customers feel confident that when they need to access their data it will be ready for them.

Core Competency

A sometimes overlooked part of building a data center is the core competencies that come along with the job. From planning to disaster preparation, there is a lot that goes into running a data center. Ensuring your data to experts is a prudent course of action for any business. These experts have experience with the most common issues that could occur and already have robust disaster recovery measures in place should an unforeseen disaster happen. Colo facilities are also more likely than an on-site center to be up to date with the most current and advanced technologies, helping them run at optimal levels all the time.

As you can see, a colocation facility is a very good option for IT managers and decision makers looking to reap the benefits of a data center without the incredible investment and hassle that goes along with building their own. Colocation partners have already spent millions of dollars to provide top-of-the line technology, disaster recovery, security and reliability capabilities—features that would be financially impossible for businesses to legitimately fund themselves. When asking yourself whether colocation is right for you, be sure to measure your organization with these five points in mind.