Hosting a server for a website is like a relentless 24x7 watch duty. Not for a minute or an hour can you afford to have your site service to be closed or unavailable. There is no 'Closing Shop' in the dot com business. Ergo, it's vital that you choose the best server setup for your site, which can provide you with a 'No Downtime' guarantee. Maintaining a server on your own can be a daunting task as it requires vast infrastructure which costs big bucks. Of all the third party server hosting options you could choose from, one of the best is 'Server Colocation'. This kind of server set up provides you with the advantage of having large bandwidth, power backup, monitoring and data backup functions, at a reasonable price. In this Techspirited article, you will find some server colocation tips that will point out the prime factors, that need to be considered while choosing a service provider.
What is Server Colocation?
For those of you who are new to the concept of server colocation, here is a brief introduction. When you colocate a server, what you essentially do is, set up all the server hardware and software on your own and then hand it over to be installed in a data center of the service provider which is well equipped with electrical backup and data backup facility, with dedicated Internet bandwidth, along with all other web server infrastructure essentials. You make an agreement with the colocation service provider under which it provides you with a set of facilities to keep your server running 24x7, in return for a monthly or yearly fee.
The server can be accessed through a remote connection and its maintenance is your responsibility, but the infrastructure it needs to run smoothly is made available by the service provider. You pay for the bandwidth used and all other services provided. It's called 'Colocation' because the data center of the service provider has hundreds of servers located at the same location, sharing all the facilities provided. They can afford to provide low cost service, as their profits are buoyed by volume of usage. With that background, we are ready to plunge into server colocation details.
Server Colocation Tips
When you want your site to be up and functioning 24x7, it's essential that the choice of server colocation service be made wisely. Here are some tips regarding choosing one.
Know Your Requirements
Firstly, you need to set up the hardware and software for your web server. Number of server units, RAID hard drives, choice of server operating system, processor, RAM and database requirements are some of the several factors you need to ponder upon. Determine and list out all the hardware and software infrastructure requirements you'll need, according to the kind of services your site is going to offer. Only after you have your server design plan ready to be deployed and know exactly what you want, should you start looking for a colocation service. That way, you can find a company which offers exactly what you are looking for.
Managed or Unmanaged Colocation Service
There are two prime types of colocation services - managed and unmanaged. A managed service offers troubleshooting and maintenance services which an unmanaged one doesn't. While the latter costs lesser, it leaves all the maintenance tasks up to you. Choose which option would be the most convenient for you.
Look for High Bandwidth with Adequate Burstable Bandwidth Provision
One of the prime service parameters that you need to look out for is the bandwidth offered. Depending on the site traffic and the type of services offered by your site, bandwidth requirement will vary. Choose an adequate bandwidth specification with a substantial burstable (extra) bandwidth provision.
Decide the Number of IP Addresses Required
A site may require 10 to 20 different IP addresses. So you need to see to it that a sufficient number is exclusively allotted to your server.
Check Out Server Cabinet Space Offered
You may either opt for a shared cabinet or a full cabinet for your server, depending on your requirements. It is better to go for a full cabinet as then you don't have to share hardware resources with other servers.
Look For Adequate Power Backup Facility
See to it that the service provider has an adequate power backup facility. This is an important factor as your site cannot afford a down time due to power failure.
Firewall and VPN Service
A colocation service will provide your server with a firewall facility, whose price will depend on the number of rules implemented. Also look for a VPN facility that can provide remote connectivity.
Emergency Data Backup Size and Frequency
Make sure that the service offers adequate data backup space and backs up data frequently. Data backup is a vital task and you need to ensure that adequate space and mechanism is in place for that purpose.
Number of Load Balancing Servers
When site traffic goes on increasing, you need a number of load balancing servers to handle the extra workload. So you need to specify the number of load balancing servers you require and see to it that they are provided.
Look For IP Monitoring Facility
One of the facilities which you should be looking out for is IP monitoring. This provides security from hacking attacks and also provides you with a medium to track traffic and avoid bottle necking. So look out for IP monitoring feature.
Customer Service and Remote Hands On Facility
Review the customer service, overall track record and service features of the company, before handing over your server to them. A managed service which provides remote hands on facility, with all the above mentioned features is particularly recommended.
Power backup, sufficient bandwidth, data backup and overall server security are the prime features that you need to look out for. Choose a reputable server colocation service which provides you with the best overall package of infrastructure features at the most reasonable cost.