Dedicated Server or Colocation


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By    -   CEO, Technical Director

The question of whether to go for a dedicated server or collocating your own server or hardware is a question that we are often asked here at VooServers and 90% of the time cost is the main driver for colocation. The other 10% would be made up of flexibility, compliance, ownership and the rather ambiguous ‘other’ category.

With cost being the main driver it’s a good time to reference back to a recent article about cost analysis using Costberg’s as this has a bearing on what we are discussing today.

We will discuss each of these points below but with cost being the main driver we will start there with some common misconceptions.

Cost (90%)

When looking at the cost it’s easy to see why people are driven towards colocation as at face value you see the one off purchase of an asset which is to last you 3 years and then lower monthly fees which over the 3 year period makes the apparent TCO (Total Cost of Ownership) much lower than a dedicated server of the same specification.

When you look at what a dedicated server offers though and try to bring a collocated server up to the same level of service, the value that a dedicated server offers quickly starts to outweigh colocation.

The first thing is hardware SLA’s. We build servers every day and stock all of the components that we use so should a replacement component ever be require it’s already on site and can be diagnosed and swapped out within 30 minutes 24 hours a day 7 days a week. If you were to look at getting this same type of agreement with HP or Dell it’s generally a 4 hour window and will cost you around £600 a year and you would still need to get one of your staff members to diagnose and arrange the replacement with Dell/HP which not only adds to the cost in terms of time of your engineer but also time that the service is down for.

Even if you are close to your colocation facility I can’t imagine many I.T. managers would want to be diagnosing a server fault at 11PM on a Friday night. With a dedicated server this is all taken care of by our staff without any additional cost to you. If you don’t have an in-house I.T. team or only have 1 or 2 members in I.T. then this starts to become more of a problem as business is gradually turning more and more towards 24×7 and the infrastructure that powers it needs to be available all the time and any issues need to be fixed without delay. In such a scenario we like to consider ourselves an extension of your I.T. team and to assist you in providing I.T. services to your company.

Flexibility (2%)

It’s a bit of a misconception that there is less flexibility with a dedicated server than there is with colocation. In fact, I’d probably say a dedicated server gives you more flexibility especially with a provider such as VooServers who specialise in providing custom dedicated server and can understand your needs and build something to your exact specifications.

With a dedicated server you can also choose one specification to start with and upscale as and when necessary either through upgrading individual components within the same server or by replacing the whole server altogether. Although upgrading components is also possible in colocation if you wanted to replace the entire server you would again have to pay out the entire cost of the server and in most circumstances that happens before the initial 3-year period that the server was expected to last and budgeted for expires.

Compliance (2%)

Compliance is something that has grown significantly as a concern over the past few years with more and more people becoming aware of offsite I.T. infrastructure possibilities. Many I.T. managers see that compliance is something that they need to handle entirely themselves however VooServers have experience with a number of different regulators such as PCI or ISO 27001.

With our experience we can be an extension of your I.T. team when it comes to compliancy rather than in co-location where you need to undertake the entire process yourself. Particularly in smaller companies this is a huge benefit as most companies these days want to be able to process payments online but don’t have the experience or budget to audit the process themselves.

Ownership (5%)

Ownership can be another tricky area but a question that is starting to decline as more and more of the large companies become more accepting of online services.

There are 2 main areas when it comes to ownership and those are assets and data. The asset side of things colocation gives you full ownership of the asset however with that in brings the caveats discussed earlier in cost and flexibility and you need to ask yourself whether owning that asset really offers you much benefit?

Data ownership on the other hand is a very big issue as it is what holds the actual value of the company. Without the data the business is nothing and it’s paramount to protect the ownership of that and this is what drives a number of people towards co-location as there are no questions around the ownership and it’s clear to demonstrate to other senior members of staff as that’s what everyone has been used to for the past 15 years.

There are a number of online services which can be vague on this topic and how they may use your data however at VooServers in our terms of service we explicitly set out that the ownership of the data remains your own under all circumstances and that we will not use that in any way other than to provide you with your own service giving you the same ownership as a collocated server would offer.

‘Other’ (1%)

The other category isn’t something we can easily cover here as it covers almost anything that we haven’t already discussed and that’s where I invite you to give us a call on 0800 0803 200 or e-mail us on sales@vooservers.com with your question and we will get back to you with a personalised response.

Summary

I hope to have demonstrated in this article that colocation really doesn’t offer you any benefits over a dedicated server and my own personal opinion would be that going for a dedicated server gives you a lot more options and better value for money. Of course you might argue that would always be my response as we are a dedicated server provider however you will often find the same answers from our customers.


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