A Guide to Server Colocation
Basics of Colocation
Server colocation is usually for those who own their own server hardware and require complete control over the server configuration. Colocation specialists will house and uk server collocation connect a server you own, to a fast internet connection, usually in a secure datacentre, with 24/7 support.
It is important to choose a colocation provider that either has their own data center or has a presence in one of the leading “data hotels.” World Class data centres are located in major industrial cities (New York, London, Frankfurt for example). Here they are able to take advantage of the convergence of high capacity network connectivity that occurs in a major commercial centre. For instance fibre, and metrolinks and ease of connection to major Points of Presence (POPS) to the major telco’s. For this reason only a very few of the leading ISP’s or colocation specialist operate their own dedicated centre’s due to the costs of providing remote connectivity, redundant power sources, air conditioning and filtered clean air.
Also not all internet connections are equal. You really need to enquire if your colocation specialist is “multihomed” using the BGP protocol by having at least two connections to Tier One providers. Tier One providers are very large ISP’s or Telco’s who operate their own fibre links and networks without having to operate traffic (or transit) over another ISP’s network. An example of a Tier One provider would be Level3 communications.
In addition to Tier One connections, the colocation specialist should have peering arrangement’s at major exchange point’s such as LINX. A peering point is where a number of ISP’s arrange to “meet up” to exchange traffic between each other rather than pay for transit over someone else’s network. In a way they are “cutting out the middleman!” This not only improves redundancy but also reduces latency; people will be able to access the websites and content hosted on your colocated server much faster if you colo host is well peered.
Quite often a web host or Colocation ISP will negotiate many peering arrangements with other ISP’s with whom they are exchanging a lot of traffic. Not only does this give them more resilience, but it also reduces their own transit costs with the Tier One providers enabling them to offer more competitive data transfer pricing.
Latency is particularly important when it comes to game server hosting and colocation. Quite often an ISP specialising in games hosting will give you an IP address for you to test ping times and carry out traceroutes.