Colocation (meaning data center colocation) refers to the practice of renting physical space, power, cooling, and network connectivity in a third-party data center facility. Businesses can use these colocation facilities to house their servers and other IT infrastructure.
The primary goal of colocation is to provide a secure and scalable environment where businesses can store and manage their critical IT assets. Partnering with a colocation provider allows businesses to leverage the provider's infrastructure and expertise to ensure optimal performance and availability for their IT systems.
A colocation data center acts like a central hub where multiple organizations can store their colocation servers and networking equipment. These data centers are purpose-built facilities equipped with advanced security measures, redundant power and cooling systems, fire suppression systems, and robust network connectivity to protect the equipment they house.
Colocation Services Meaning
The term “colocation services” refers to the services offered by colocation providers. These services typically include:
Physical rack space
Remote hands support
Most colocation providers allow businesses to choose the specific services they require based on their needs.
There are numerous benefits of using colocation services. Firstly, colocation services allow companies to offload the burden of building and maintaining their own data center infrastructures. Instead, they can focus on their core competencies, resulting in cost savings and greater operational efficiency.
Colocation also provides businesses with access to enterprise-grade infrastructure, including robust power and cooling systems, redundant network connectivity, and advanced security measures. Reliable colocation infrastructure can help to ensure high levels of performance for business’s servers and applications.
Additionally, colocation facilities are often strategically situated in major metropolitan areas (like Chicago) to provide proximity to network hubs and other businesses. Centrally-located colocation facilities enable low-latency connections, making it easier for organizations to connect with service providers or business partners.
Chicago Data Centers
Chicago is a major hub for data centers in the United States. The city of Chicago plays a crucial role in the larger data center industry, as its strategic location and robust infrastructure make it an attractive destination for businesses seeking reliable data center services. The city has a reliable power grid and a stable energy supply, ensuring uninterrupted operations for data center facilities. Moreover, Chicago's robust power infrastructure and access to renewable resources contributes to its appeal as a data center destination.
Chicago boasts a thriving market of data centers, with numerous providers offering a wide range of services to cater to various business needs. The city's data centers are located in key areas throughout the metropolitan area, forming clusters that enhance connectivity and interconnection opportunities. Some notable Chicago data center locations include downtown Chicago, Elk Grove Village, Franklin Park, and Aurora.
The Chicago data center market is characterized by a combination of carrier-neutral facilities, wholesale providers, and colocation service providers. This diversity allows businesses to choose from different options based on their specific requirements. The city's central location in the United States makes it an ideal midpoint for businesses with geographically dispersed operations, enabling efficient data distribution across the country. Additionally, Chicago serves as a critical interconnection point for major network providers, making it a hub for internet traffic exchange and peering.
The growth of cloud computing, big data, and digital transformation initiatives has further fueled the demand for data centers in Chicago. Businesses across industries such as finance, healthcare, manufacturing, and technology rely on these facilities to store and process their data.
Chicago colocation pricing, as in any other location, can vary depending on multiple factors. It’s crucial for businesses seeking the best colocation deals to understand these factors, including:
1. Space and Power
The amount of rack space required and the equipment’s rate of power consumption are both primary factors when it comes to pricing colocation services. Providers typically charge based on the number of racks or cabinets and the power capacity required by the equipment. Larger amounts of space and more demanding power requirements will generally result in higher costs.
Bandwidth and network connectivity are also important factors in server colocation pricing. Higher bandwidth requirements or the need for premium network connections can contribute to higher costs. Additionally, providers may charge more for diverse network options or direct peering with major carriers.
3. Service Level Agreements (SLAs)
The level of service and associated SLAs can impact pricing as well. Providers who offer higher service guarantees relating to uptime, performance, or support often charge more than providers with only basic offerings.
Colocation pricing can also vary between cities. For example, Atlanta colocation pricing or Dallas colocation pricing may differ from Chicago pricing due to regional factors such as competition or utility costs. It’s usually best to compare prices across a few different locations to get the most reliable insight into potential cost savings.
5. Additional Services
Some providers may offer optional services such as remote hands support, managed services, backup storage, or disaster recovery solutions. These value-added services typically contribute to higher prices overall.
How to Find Chicago Colocation
Here are a few tips for finding the best colocation deals in Chicago, Illinois:
Assess Your Needs:
- Understand your company’s specific requirements in terms of space, power, connectivity, and services. This will help you evaluate pricing proposals more accurately.
- Reach out to multiple colocation providers in Chicago to obtain detailed quotes before making any decisions. Be fully transparent about your requirements to make sure you receive accurate pricing information.
Compare Pricing and Services:
- Evaluate the pricing structures, contract terms, SLAs, and included services of the various providers from whom you have requested quotes. Ensure you understand what is included in each service and make note of any potential additional charges.
- Don't base your decision solely on pricing. Take into account the overall Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) — including factors like reliability, security, support, and scalability — to help you make an informed decision.
By considering influential factors like these and keeping this list of quick tips in mind, your business can navigate the colocation pricing landscape in Chicago, make cost-effective decisions, and find the best data center colocation services for its needs.
There are both some similarities and differences between the colocation market in Chicago and the colocation market in various other U.S. cities. Let's examine a few notable U.S. data center locations and explore their characteristics:
Los Angeles’s thriving colocation market is driven by its role as a gateway to Asia-Pacific markets and its proximity to entertainment and media industries. Los Angeles colocation providers focus on high-performance solutions and low-latency connectivity.
Dallas is another prominent data center market with a favorable business environment and extensive infrastructure. Dallas colocation providers can take advantage of the area’s robust fiber infrastructure and abundant natural power sources. The Dallas market offers a mix of carrier-neutral facilities, enabling flexible connectivity for businesses in a wide variety of industries, including healthcare, finance, and technology.
U.S. colocation markets share some common trends, but each market has its own unique characteristics driven by factors like geographical differences and industry clusters. Understanding the specific attributes of each U.S. colocation market is crucial for choosing the best colocation services in the United States.