Once you have decided to go for colocation hosting for your web servers, you need to choose between two options. Either you can physically take your ready-to-deploy machine to the colocation provider’s location and use their rack to install it, or you may consider renting the server machines from your colocation provider. The first situation is called Unmanaged Colocation and the latter is called Managed Colocation/Dedicated server rentals. Deciding between these two options from the colocation provider will have major impact on data center maintenance responsibility, pricing, and processes and apps that can be run on the server.
What is Managed Colocation?
Here, the colocation provider owns a pre-configured (to certain specifications) dedicated server. This dedicated server can be used by the customer only within certain limits and will have only selected software applications compatible for running on it. This limits the choice of the customer to run all software applications needed for their site. Only those applications compatible with the provider’s server can be run successfully. However, there are some benefits as the colocation provider takes up the entire responsibility of carrying out software upgrades, maintenance of the system, hardware issues, reboots, backups, etc. This will particularly favor businesses that aren’t technically inclined or have less resource, time and IT staff to handle the mundane troubleshooting and maintenance tasks.
What is Unmanaged Colocation?
If you wish to have greater control over use and configuration of the server and want full compatibility for applications that run in the server, then unmanaged colocation is best for you. Here, all hardware and software should be provided and managed on your own. This in fact allows greater flexibility for what you can do. No doubt there will be more work and responsibility for you, as you need to do all upgrades, look after configurations, patches, security, troubleshooting issues, etc.
With either of these options, you as a customer, is bound to the data center colocation provider’s service terms and agreements as long as you use colocation hosting.