4D’s CEO, Jack Bedell-Pearce, gives his guide on the cost of colocation.

A transcript of the video is below:

What is colocation?

"If you've not come across it before, the best way of describing colocation is how I'd probably describe it to a relative of mine. It's a little bit like secure storage, but rather than looking after the kind of stuff you'd find in your attic, we're looking after other companies' servers.

In other words, companies physically move their servers from their in-house comms room into a metal cage, otherwise known as a rack, in a building that's specifically designed to look after their IT equipment, otherwise known as a data centre."

How much would this actually cost?

"There are three major determining factors into the cost of colocation. The first is the type of data centre that you move into, the second is the size and the number of racks that you're going to be using, and the third is the amount of power that your IT equipment will be drawing.

So let's start with the data centre itself. Broadly speaking, there are going to be three factors that determine whether or not the base cost of your rack is at the budget or premium level. So the first factor is location. Data centres located in major cities or capital cities are typically somewhere between 30-40% more expensive than those located in non-metro areas. Obviously data centres based in the countryside in the middle of nowhere, they're probably going to be on the cheaper end of the scale, whereas data centres on the periphery of major cities are going to be somewhere between the two

The second factor is tier levels and redundancy. So data centres that have got high level of redundancy are typically rated at the tier four level, whereas data centres with low level of redundancy are rated as a tier one or tier two level. Once again, the average between those two is a tier three, and they will typically offer a good level of technical redundancy and security.

The third factor is technical support and SLAs. Data centres that do offer SLAs on things like power and connectivity will typically cost more. And on the technical support side of things, there are some data centres that will be able to give you access to the facility 24/7, whereas other data centres, perhaps on the cheaper end of the scale, will only be able to offer you access and technical support Monday through to Friday during normal working hours."

Requirement for your IT equipment

"So having picked your data centre, the next major determining factor in the cost of colocation will be in the size and number of racks you need for your IT equipment. Racks are typically measured by their height and specifically by the number of U you can fit into one- a ‘U’ is short for rack unit and is around about one and three quarter inches in height, and is also about the same height you would find in a standard rack-mounted server.

Typically, data centres will offer racks in three major sizes- quarter racks, which are 11U in height, half racks, which are 22U in height, and full racks, which can range from 42 to 48U in height. If you want, data centres can provide you with custom sizes, but they will typically cost more because they will take up more space on the data floor.

So the third major determining cost is power. Servers run 24/7 and of course use a huge amount of electricity. In the old days, for every kilowatt of power you put into a server, you had to spend almost a kilowatt of power to cool it down using air conditioning units. Nowadays, in modern data centres like this, you can use far more efficient cooling systems like evaporative cooling, which use up far less electricity to cool down one kilowatt of power you put into a server.

So the amount of power that you can put into a rack will be dependent on its size and also the power density of the data centre. In normal power density situations, a quarter rack will take anything up to around about six amps of power, in a half rack it can be around about 12 amps power, and in a full rack, anything up to 24 amps of power is considered normal power density. Anything higher than this is considered higher power density and requires specialist equipment not only to bring the power to the rack, but also to cool the servers down."

For more information on pricing for your UK data centre space, or to receive a same-day quote for your specific business needs, contact our team.