It may not seem this way at first glance, but each colocation provider is a vital gear in the complex array of systems that make the Internet work. Imagine a clock. On the inside their are gears, cogs and other precision devices that, when working together, form a machine that keeps time with precision to ensure people can figure out what time it is with relative accuracy based on the quality of the device. Similar, the Internet is made up of a variety of service providers and physical infrastructure systems that must be aligned effectively to ensure end users have access to what they need, when they need it. Data center colocation facilities play a critical role in delivering this functionality.
According to a recent TechRepublic report, the carrier-neutral nature of most colocation facilities ensures that they are able to provide the data center connectivity functionality that clients need to build their Web functionality effectively.
Looking at why colocation is so important to the Internet
The news source illustrates the way colocation impacts Internet services by considering a hypothetical situation in which two telecoms end up sharing infrastructure. In this case, one service provider has built the vast majority of the cabling infrastructure that reaches customers, but another vendor is offering services to customers in the region. This is an incredibly common situation as telecoms are frequently building fiber lines and leasing them to other vendors to maximize revenues while focusing on their specific customer demographics.
In this situation, a telecom that wants to lease space in another provider's cabling and service delivery infrastructure will often use the interconnects in colocation facilities to bridge the gap between the two telecoms and ensure information can flow freely, the report explained.
The world is crisscrossed with operator networks that move data long distances between metropolitan hubs and other strategic locations. From there, a combination of telecoms, government organizations and specialized organizations will build middle-mile networks that go between operator networks and connect more localized geographic regions.
Middle-mile networks were popular projects when the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act was initially put into action. Once a middle-mile network is in place, telecoms will often build fiber-to-the-home systems or other infrastructure directly to customers to provide services. In this situation, a telecom could be leasing space on on the operator network and the middle-mile system to move data to customers using its FTTH services. This issue can be further complicated if a telecom wants to serve customers in a region without owning any of the infrastructure, but it is possible. Data center colocation plays a critical role in providing the interconnects between different service providers, operator and middle-mile networks needed to make contemporary connectivity architectures work.
Applying colocation's network services to individual businesses
Colocation is critical in helping businesses maximize the value of the telecom services and Web hosting functionality. A carrier-neutral colocation facility can help organizations access robust telecom services that they may be unable to access without the interconnects available from the hosting vendor. At the same time, the high-performance interconnects provided through colocation ensures that businesses get the best performance possible when moving data over long distances, whether it be supporting collaboration between branch offices, working with partners or getting services out to customers.
Colocation's role as a key enabler of contemporary network service models makes the hosting solution much more than just a way to lease some data center space. The connectivity advantages of colocation can impact every phase of a business' operations, leading to considerable gains that can be leveraged to improve revenues.