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Business Technology Shared

Updated on February 28, 2013

A decade ago, when the economy seemed robust and new companies were cropping up constantly, company cooperatives began springing up. The idea was to share resources, so that startup businesses could open on a shoe string. Housed in a single building were several small companies, and, separately, several services – stenographers, copy machines, conference rooms, and even attorneys. By sharing the resources, the new companies could lower the costs of these services, maintain a smaller floor space, avoid functioning in a vacuum, give clients a better impression of the company, and devote more attention to their actual business rather than to day to day overhead issues, A high tech version of this idea is now emerging, called the colocation center.

In the United States, with its vast size, a company tends to rely on its own individual data centers, one per site, to serve the entire local campus. These data centers require rigid security, a large IT staff, serious floor space, and special cooling to keep the machinery from overheating. There are some colocation centers in the States, probably less than twenty, located in major cities.

In Europe, however, each country is quite small and land space is at a premium. So colocation centers become a much more viable solution. In London alone there are at least sixty colocation centers.

A colocation center houses and manages the data centers for several companies at one time, providing extensive security, with architecture and facilities designed specifically for data center operations, The centers are equipped with redundancy and generators, to avoid loss through down time. Usually one center will host related industries, allowing them to offer special services which are customized for that industry. And the centers often offer an interoperability between its members at low or no extra cost. Because this is not an Internet connection, the lag of data transmission is as imperceptible as with a local data center. This well-designed plan allows the centers to maintain systems for high-security areas of the government and military. Meanwhile, the members are left free to concentrate on their business without worrying about fighting fires with the technology, and they can expand their technology easily. By having many companies sharing the facilities, the cost to each company is much lower, and stockholders like the idea of outsourcing overhead costs.

In London, a company can actually shop the services and benefits of different colocation centers to choose the right one for the company’s needs. All of the centers are well-established and have foreseen a lot of the issues that would arise when one company is depending on another for its technology.

Colocation centers seem to be a good solution to areas where land space is at a premium. At the same time, with the apparent success of this idea, the usage may spread to areas which cannot develop for lack of funding for individual data centers, such as in the third world.

Ó COPYRIGHT 2013: BONNIE-JEAN ROHNER. All rights reserved. This text cannot be reproduced in whole or part without written permission of the author.


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