Outsourced IT hosting services can range from raw colocation, which includes a place to house your server, the power to run it, and the connection to operate it online, to a fully managed dedicated server. A fully managed server typically includes all hardware and applicable technical services to keep your server up and running 24×7. The spectrum of services between raw colocation and managed servers allows IT managers to choose only the services that meet their company’s needs. They can pick from managed backup options, basic monitoring services, managed colocation or a completely managed server.
Managed colocation is similar to a fully managed server except that the hardware is owned exclusively by the client. With raw colocation, the server owner is responsible for monitoring and tracking, responding to and repairing problems with their server and taking preventative measures like backing up their data. With managed colocation and managed servers, many of those operations can be outsourced to a data center operator that can offer those services at a lower cost than a company could provide by themselves.
One advantage of managed colocation is that a client’s hosting needs and problems are being addressed by industry experts with extensive knowledge and experience. The client will not have to worry about hosting issues because they are paying for the managed services each month. With managed colocation the client will also be lowering their overall cost of IT management. Because the staff and space is being shared across many servers in the data center, the client will pay a lower cost than hiring data center staff internally.
Other than who owns the hardware, there are very few differences between managed colocation and a managed server from most hosting providers. However, one advantage of managed servers over managed colocation is faster remediation time on hardware failures. With a managed server, the hardware is owned by the hosting provider who most likely will have spare parts readily available to replace hardware quickly and the availability to substitute a similar server to prevent downtime during maintenance. For managed colocation, each client’s servers can differ dramatically and hardware failures often require time-consuming delays while coordinating the order, delivery, and replacement of custom server parts.
Managed servers possess similar advantages to managed colocation in that they can provide clients with expert management at lower costs than what it might cost to host internally. However, managed colocation is best for companies that already have the server hardware and expert IT staff that want to be in control of the management and just need the security and reliability of a data center provider and basic management services. The managed server option is better for companies that don’t have the staff or hardware and want more in-depth services than basic maintenance and problem solving. Both options allow a company to leverage the complete expertise of the data center staff and get absolute security, management, monitoring and reporting.
All things considered, with both managed colocation and managed servers companies should think of the services as a function of their business rather than just the outsourcing of IT services. Excellent data centers allow companies to pick and choose their desired services and level of control. In the spectrum from raw colocation to managed servers, every business can find an IT management solution that will work best for their scenario.