Colocation centre

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A colocation centre (also spelled collocation, colo, or coloc) or carrier hotel is a type of data centre where multiple customers locate network, server and storage gear and interconnect to a variety of telecommunications and other network service provider(s) with a minimum of cost and complexity. Most Internet exchange points provide colocation.

Contents

Benefits

Increasingly, organizations are recognizing the benefits of colocating their mission-critical equipment within a data centre. Colocation is becoming popular because of the time and cost savings a company can realize as result of using shared data centre infrastructure. Significant benefits of scale (large power and mechanical systems) result in large colocation facilities, typically 4500 to 9500 square metres (roughly 50000 to 100000 square feet). With IT and communications facilities in safe, secure hands, telecommunications, internet, ASP and content providers, as well as enterprises, enjoy less latency and the freedom to focus on their core business.

Additionally, customers reduce their traffic back-haul costs and free up their internal networks for other uses. Moreover, by outsourcing network traffic to a colocation service provider with greater bandwidth capacity, web site access speeds should improve considerably.

Major types of colocation customers are:

  • Web commerce companies, who use the facilities for a safe environment and cost-effective, redundant connections to the Internet
  • Major enterprises, who use the facility for disaster avoidance, offsite data backup and business continuity
  • Telecommunication companies, who use the facilities to interexchange traffic with other telecommunications companies and access to potential clients

Building features

Buildings with data centres inside them are often easy to recognize due to the amount of cooling equipment located outside or on the roof.[1] There are a lot of other special characteristics to a colocation centre as well:

  • Fire protection systems, including passive and active design elements, as well as implementation of fire prevention programmes in operations. Smoke detectors are usually installed to provide early warning of a developing fire by detecting particles generated by smouldering components prior to the development of flame. This allows investigation, interruption of power, and manual fire suppression using hand held fire extinguishers before the fire grows to a large size. A fire sprinkler system is often provided to control a full scale fire if it develops. Clean agent fire suppression gaseous systems are sometimes installed to suppress a fire earlier than the fire sprinkler system. Passive fire protection elements include the installation of fire walls around the space, so a fire can be restricted to a portion of the facility for a limited time in the event of the failure of the active fire protection systems, or if they are not installed.
  • 19-inch racks for data equipment and servers, 23-inch racks for telecommunications equipment.
  • Cabinets and cages for physical access control over tenants' equipment.
  • Overhead cable rack (tray) and fibreguide, power cables usually on separate rack from data.
  • Air conditioning is used to control the temperature and humidity in the space. ASHRAE recommends a temperature range and humidity range for optimal electronic equipment conditions versus environmental issues.[citation needed] The electrical power used by the electronic equipment is converted to heat, which is rejected to the ambient air in the data centre space. Unless the heat is removed, the ambient temperature will rise, resulting in electronic equipment malfunction. By controlling the space air temperature, the server components at the board level are kept within the manufacturer's specified temperature/humidity range. Air conditioning systems help control space humidity within acceptable parameters by cooling the return space air below the dew point. Too much humidity and water may begin to condense on internal components. In case of a dry atmosphere, ancillary humidification systems may add water vapour to the space if the space humidity is too low, which can result in static electricity discharge problems which may damage components.
  • Low-impedance electrical ground.
  • Few, if any, windows.

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