If we don’t use reseller accounts and we don’t rent servers from someone else, what do we do then?
We make use of a service called colocation, often called colo, where we own our servers and we colocate them in someone else’s data centre. Once again though, it’s not quite that simple, as there’s a number of variations on colocation:
- Per server colo
This is where you pay a separate fee for every server you place in your provider’s facility. When done this way, the provider typically runs the network and provides IP addresses etc.
- Per rack colo
This is where you rent a whole equipment rack, like a big metal cupboard for servers, and install whatever servers and networking equipment you require.
In this scenario you’d typically be in charge of the networking between servers and your provider will provide one or two connections to their own network; However, you may also run your own independent network connected to the internet, that is separate from your providers.
We mainly use option #2, we rent full racks from a data centre in Sheffield, South Yorkshire, and they provide power and some network connectivity, but we actually run our own independent network (known as an autonomous system) with our own IP addresses.
We also use option #1 where we need something off-site that’s not your run-of-the-mill hardware setup e.g. Our offsite backup servers are co-located on a per-server basis as we don’t need a full rack of equipment in the locations we use and we don’t need to run our own network.
For services where we don’t need something custom, but we need it outside of our own network for redundancy we also use cloud servers from AWS, Azure and Google Cloud e.g. our DNS servers where the four servers are located on our own network plus AWS, Azure and Google Cloud.