What is Colocation (Colo)? (2023)

What is Colocation (Colo)? (1)


  • Brien Posey

A colocation facility, or colo, is a data center facility in which a business can rent space for servers and other computing hardware.

Typically, a colo provides the building, cooling, power, bandwidth and physical security, while the customer provides servers and storage. Space in the facility is often leased by the rack, cabinet, cage or room. Many colos have extended their offerings to include managed services that support their customers' business initiatives.

There are several reasons a business might choose a colo over building its own data center, but one of the main drivers is the Capex (capital expenditure) associated with building, maintaining and updating a large computing facility. In the past, colos were often used by private enterprises for disaster recovery (DR). Today, colos are especially popular with cloud service providers.

(Video) What is Colocation (Colo) Part One

For some organizations, colocation might be an ideal solution, but there can be downsides to this approach. Distance can translate into increased travel costs when equipment must be manually handled and colo customers can find themselves locked into long-term contracts, which might prevent them from renegotiating rates when prices fall. It's important for an organization to closely examine their colo's service-level agreements (SLAs) so as not to be surprised by hidden charges.

Colocation features

Every colocation provider has its own way of doing things, so features tend to vary from one colocation hosting company to the next. Even so, there are features that are relatively common among colocation providers. Some of the features that colocation data centers commonly provide include:

This article is part of

(Video) What is Colocation & How Does It Work?

Guide to colocation and how to choose a provider

  • Which also includes:
  • Colocation in disaster recovery: Everything you need to know
  • Colocation data center outage response and support
  • Tips to get colocation contract renewal right
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  • Physical security
  • Physical durability
  • Guaranteed reliability
  • Cross connectivity
  • Redundant internet connectivity
  • Redundant power
  • Compliance with various regulations
  • On-site technical support

Advantages of colocation

Businesses can capitalize on several benefits by taking advantage of colocation services. Some of these benefits include:

  • Leasing space in a colocation facility is less expensive than building or expanding a data center.
  • Colocation facilities allow tenants to use server and storage hardware of their own choosing.
  • A colocation data center adheres to strict physical security protocols and might also offer protection against cyberattacks.
  • Colocation facilities almost always provide on-site technical support services.
  • Additional data center space is usually available if you need it, which means that a colocation data center can accommodate growth.

Building and facilities

Just as there are differences between office buildings, there are also differences between data centers. Some of these differences are related to the way that the data center was constructed, while others have more to do with the data center's operational efficiency.

Typically, a colocation data center will provide its tenants with an SLA guaranteeing a specific amount of availability. Although a data center might simply guarantee a specific amount of uptime -- such as five nines of uptime -- data center uptime is more commonly expressed in terms of these four tiers:

  • Tier 1. Nonredundant power, cooling and network connectivity
  • Tier 2. At least some redundancy for power and cooling
  • Tier 3. Able to withstand a 72-hour power outage
  • Tier 4. Able to withstand a 96-hour power outage

Data centers commonly express their efficiency through a score known as their power usage effectiveness (PUE). This score reflects how efficiently the data center uses power. Those data centers with a good PUE score are friendlier to the environment and, generally, charge their tenants lower rates for power consumption.

As previously noted, it's also important to consider how a data center was constructed. Every location in the world is susceptible to at least one type of natural disaster, so it's necessary to make sure that a colocation provider's data center was constructed in a way that will help it to survive such a disaster. Data centers in hurricane-prone areas, for example, are often rated to withstand 150 mph winds.

(Video) What is colocation hosting? Colocation Explained 2021

What is Colocation (Colo)? (2)


Just as security is of paramount importance to cloud providers, good security is also essential to colocation providers. Colocation providers go to great lengths to ensure the physical security of their data centers.

Some colocation providers erect fences in the data center as a way of isolating their tenant's hardware. Each fence has a locking gate so that tenants are only able to access their own data center hardware.

Security also tends to be implemented in such a way as to require tenants to pass through multiple security checkpoints prior to being able to access data center hardware.

Some colocation providers, however, don't allow their tenants physical access the facility. All hardware maintenance and installation is performed by data center staff through a process known as remote hands.


Each colocation provider has its own pricing model. Some, for instance, bill their tenants based on the amount of rack space that they consume. Other providers lease data center floor space by the square foot. The pricing model isn't the only factor that determines the overall cost of leasing space in a colocation facility. Some of the other factors that can influence the total cost include:

  • Bandwidth usage
  • Power consumption
  • Geographic location
  • Technical support incidents
  • A support contract
  • A required power distribution unit

Colocation vs. public cloud

There are major differences between a colocation data center and a public cloud provider, even though both enable businesses to run workloads in a remote data center.

(Video) Colocation Facility/ Datacenter - What is...

Colocation centers provide businesses with physical data center space. These facilities provide power, cooling and network connectivity, but it's up to the tenants to provide their own hardware such as servers, storage and supporting infrastructure.

Cloud providers, on the other hand, use their own hardware. Tenants run workloads on the cloud provider's hardware, which is in a cloud data center. The cloud provider then bills the tenant for the compute, storage, network and other resources that their workloads have consumed.

Public clouds are the preferred option for organizations that want consumption-based pricing and that would prefer not to have to purchase or maintain server hardware. Colocation facilities are geared toward organizations that want to run workloads on their own hardware but in a remote data center.

Colocation vendors

There are numerous colocation vendors, both in the United States and around the world. Some of these vendors are small boutique vendors that operate only one or two data centers. Others are massive, multinational providers with dozens -- or even hundreds -- of data centers and tens of millions of square feet of leasable data center space.

Five of the largest and most well-known colocation vendors are:

  1. CoreSite
  2. Cyxtera Technologies Inc.
  3. Digital Realty Trust
  4. Equinix Inc.
  5. NTT Ltd.

This was last updated in December 2020

(Video) What is Colocation (Colo) Part Two

Next Steps

Continue Reading About colocation (colo)

  • Guide to colocation and how to choose a provider
  • 7 benefits of colocation for your business and 4 challenges
  • Hidden colocation cost drivers to look out for in 2021
  • Colocation vs. cloud: Quiz yourself on these workload expansion options
  • Seven often overlooked colocation costs

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What does colocation mean? ›

: to locate (two or more things) together or be located together: such as. transitive : to cause (two or more things) to be in the same place or close together.

What does colo mean in data center? ›

Data Center Colocation (aka “colo”) is a rental service for enterprise customers to store their servers and other hardware necessary for daily operations. The service offers shared, secure spaces in cool, monitored environments ideal for servers, while ensuring bandwidth needs are met.

What does colo mean in networking? ›

Colocation (sometimes known as “colo”) is the practice of renting space for your servers and other computing hardware at a third-party provider's data center facility.

Why do you need colocation? ›

Colocation allows for data storage expansion to fit the needs of a company. Businesses can grow their networks without being required to purchase more equipment or building space. When your company grows, your IT infrastructure can expand to meet your needs quickly and with less investment.

What is collocation meaning and example? ›

In the English language, collocation refers to a natural combination of words that are closely affiliated with each other. Some examples are "pay attention", "fast food", "make an effort", and "powerful engine".

What are collocations examples? ›

What is collocation? Collocation is 'a predictable combination of words' for example we can say heavy rain but not strong rain because it does not sound right' likewise, we can say 'do exercise' but not 'make exercise'. Collocations can be made up of any kinds of words such as verbs, nouns, adverbs and adjectives.

What is colo used for? ›

A colon is used to give emphasis, present dialogue, introduce lists or text, and clarify composition titles.

How do colocation data centers work? ›

How Colocation Hosting Works. A colocation facility provides customers with a physical building and white floor space, cooling, power, bandwidth, and security. The customer then provides their organization's servers. Space in the facility is typically leased by the rack, cabinet, cage, or private suite.

What is a colo in cloud? ›

Colos and the public cloud

A colo is a data center facility in which an organization can rent space for servers and other hardware. The term is a literal one, derived from the fact that customers are colocated in the same physical location.

How does server colocation work? ›

Colocation hosting is a type of service a data center offers, in which it leases space and provides housing for servers. The clients own the servers and claim full authority over the hardware and software. However, the storage facility is responsible for maintaining a secure server environment.

Is colocation the same as cloud? ›

The difference? Colocation involves a customer moving their servers and hardware into a data center and using its power, internet connection, cooling and security systems. Cloud storage involves the customer or business utilizing the providers servers and hardware to store data or run systems.

What is the difference between a data center and colocation? ›

A data centre is a purpose-built facility designed to efficiently store, power, cool and connect your IT infrastructure. Colocation is one of many services data centres provide, and is the act of hosting your IT hardware (like servers) outside of your premises and in a data centre.

What is co location strategy? ›

Colocation is the practice of renting space in a third-party data center to house your privately owned servers and/or network infrastructure. This practice replaces the old way of hosting your servers in-house, usual in a room or designated area within your company's headquarters.

What are some advantages and disadvantages of colocation? ›

The Pros and Cons of Colocation
  • Time and cost savings. When you share a data center with other businesses, you don't need to spend on a custom build location. ...
  • Reduce overall cost of IT management. ...
  • Avoid power capacity challenges. ...
  • Flexibility. ...
  • Avoid data breaches.
Apr 24, 2022

What is co location services? ›

Co-location is typically associated with a facility where a third party can lease a rack/server space along with other computer hardware. Co-location facility provides infrastructure such as power supply, bandwidth, and cooling for setting up servers and storage of data.

What are the 7 types of collocation and examples? ›

Types of Collocations
  • adverb + adjective: completely satisfied.
  • adjective + noun: excruciating pain.
  • noun + noun: a surge of anger.
  • noun + verb: lions roar.
  • verb + noun: commit suicide.
  • verb + expression with a preposition by its side: burst into tears.
  • verb + adverb: wave frantically.

How do you identify collocation in a sentence? ›

Think of collocations as words that usually go together. There are different kinds of collocations in English. Strong collocations are word pairings that are expected to come together, such as combinations with 'make' and 'do': You make a cup of tea, but you do your homework.

What are basic collocations? ›

What are basic collocations? Basic Collocations are combinations of easy words that are often used together. Many of the most common basic collocations include a verb such as make, do and have, together with a particular noun or noun phrase.

What word has collocation? ›

We often use “have” with illnesses, both minor and major. You can have a headache, have a cold, have a fever, have allergies, have the flu. You can also have cancer, have a stroke, have a heart attack. I can't concentrate very well when I have a headache.

How do you use colons examples? ›

A colon can be used to connect two independent sentences. Typically, a colon is used when the second sentence clarifies or explains the first sentence. For example, Me and my sisters are really excited: We're going to Disneyland!

How do you use colon in a sentence examples? ›

Colon. The colon is used chiefly to introduce a list, quotation, or explanation following an independent clause (complete sentence). Use a colon at the end of a complete statement to introduce a list. Example: I have a few favorite classes at LLCC: literature, psychology, and art.

Where do you put a colon? ›

A colon should be used to separate two independent clauses when the second clause is directly related to the first, or when the emphasis is on the second clause.

What are the advantages of a colocation datacenter? ›

A significant benefit of a colocation data center, when compared to cloud computing, is that a company can manage its servers, storage resources, and network elements. An organization can have as much hands-on control as necessary when purchasing equipment and implementing a security strategy.

How many colocation data centers are in the US? ›

Currently there are 1849 colocation data centers from 50 states in USA (America). Save the trouble of contacting the providers, check out our quote service.

How many colocation data centers are there? ›

Currently there are 4974 colocation data centers from 130 countries in the index. Please navigate through the data center index by choosing a country.

What is colo AWS? ›

The Colo-to-Cloud Program bundles services, provides funding, and removes the friction from virtualized migrations by leveraging Smartronix's automated cloud migration process to move your organizations on-premise VMware environment to VMware Cloud on AWS, while matching your current capacity, tooling, and operational ...

Is colo same as private cloud? ›

The main distinction between colocation vs. cloud lies with functionality. A colocation facility operates as a data center that rents floor space to an organization that has outgrown its own data center, whereas the private cloud enables designated users within an organization to act as tenant administrators.

What is a colo cross connect? ›

Cross connects enable colocation customers to establish high-performance, dedicated connectivity to one another within the data center – providing increased reliability and lower latency over network connections standardly used outside of a data center. Your cross connect options include: Fiber. Coaxial. Copper.

Is colocation a hosting? ›

Colocation Hosting is a practice that consists of hosting private servers in a third-party data center. In other words, instead of keeping internal servers in their offices or in a private data center, businesses outsource their server hardware to a colocation data center.

What is the difference between colocation and hosting? ›

The key difference is that with managed hosting, you don't actually own the server. With colocation, however, you do own your server and you have full control over it, but it will simply be stored at a host's data center.

How do I choose a colocation provider? ›

What to look for in a colocation provider
  1. Power density. Understand how much power -- in kilowatts or even megawatts -- the colocation provider can deliver, and discuss the power and cooling requirements clearly. ...
  2. Floor space. ...
  3. WAN redundancy. ...
  4. Contract and SLA flexibility. ...
  5. Location. ...
  6. Compliance. ...
  7. Security. ...
  8. Services.
Dec 18, 2020

Is colocation a premise? ›

Rather than an on-premise solution, colocation allows businesses to rent space for your server and other computing hardware via a third-party facility. These facilities also typically have redundant power and internet systems to boost your maximum uptime.

What are the four main types of data centers? ›

Data center needs vary depending on their structure, physical limitations, density requirements and more. Here are four common data center types including onsite, colocation facilities, hyperscale, and edge data centers, as well as their use cases and industry trends.

Is colocation a managed service? ›

Colocation managed services is emerging as a new business model among data center providers. Find out why, as well as the reasons some colos are steering clear of it. Colocation providers all sell one core product: data center space. But a variety of colos now sell much more than just real estate.

What is colocation analysis? ›

The Colocation Analysis tool measures local patterns of spatial association between two categories of point features using the colocation quotient statistic.

What is co located project? ›

Colocation is the concept of placing all the resources of a project team in a single physical location, so that the project can be completed in a good way. Colocated teams helps to improve communication, productivity, and team relationships.

What is a location strategy example? ›

It is important to locate near the market area if products are in bulk or heavy products and higher transportation cost. For example, if a company is indulged in the production of heavy metals, then it is feasible to locate the plant near the market of the product.

What is the definition of location strategy quizlet? ›

The objective of a location strategy. to maximize the benefit of location to the firm. the focus of location strategy for industrial location decisions. - usually minimizing costs. - can also be locations that foster creativity and innovation.

What are the two types of collocation? ›

There are about six main types of collocations: adjective + noun, noun + noun (such as collective nouns), verb + noun, adverb + adjective, verbs + prepositional phrase (phrasal verbs), and verb + adverb.

What is the strongest purpose to study collocations? ›

Learning collocations is important because you begin to learn words in larger groups or 'chunks' of language. Putting together these chunks of language leads to more fluent English.

Why is collocation difficult? ›

Collocations are an especially tricky aspect of learning English. First of all, not many learners are aware of collocations in that they don't know they exist and they don't know what they are – and the same can probably be said for many EFL teachers too! Secondly, there is no apparent reasoning or rule behind them.

What is colocation charges? ›

Colocation costs are also driven by the amount of space customers rent from a facility. The size is usually measured in rack units or square footage. Charges for this space reflect the physical area used, as well as a portion of the building operating expenses, such as ongoing maintenance and data center security.

Is co Location illegal? ›

While the co-location system was not illegal, a Sebi investigation found that NSE's facility was structured in a way that it was prone to manipulation. Some brokers gamed the system to their advantage between 2010 and 2014 with the alleged support of select NSE officials.

What is a co location rack? ›

Colocation Racks are individual mounting structures used to organize and protect critical IT equipment, usually servers, within a data center cabinet. While colocation racks are sometimes referred to as server racks, they may also be used to house routers, switches, hubs and more.

What does collocation mean in business? ›

Business English collocations are common combinations of words used when speaking about business in English. Collocations can be understood as words that usually go together. For example, in English we do business, not make business.

What is colocation arrangement? ›

Collocation Arrangement refers to a single, specific provision of collocation in a particular Premises, not limited to a cage enclosing CLEC's equipment within the Premises.

What is strong collocation give examples? ›

Strong collocations are those with words that don't match to many other words. The connection is quite strong because there are very few other acceptable options to say the same thing. For example, the expression “turn on a light” is a strong collocation.


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