If your business needs to rent space for servers and other computing hardware, there’s an easy solution: colocation. Colocation is the use of a data center facility in which small and large businesses can rent space to store a server and achieve optimal functionality. For years, companies throughout the world have depended on colocation to host and secure large network infrastructures. But what, exactly, prompted the worldwide need for colocation? The answer is simple: the swift rise of the Internet.

Early Days and ARPANET

The Internet began with the development of electronic computers. In the 1950s, government groups in computer science laboratories worked on computers and designed initial concepts of packet networking. Countries like the United States, France, and Great Britain led the way. Once computer programmers understood the digital communications method for transmitting small packets of data, the Advanced Research Projects Agency Network (ARPANET) was born. The ARPANET was one of the world’s first packet-switched networks, growing in popularity among educational institutions and large corporations that relied on instant communication to function. Although there were other packet-switching networks, the ARPANET led to the development of different protocol for internetworking, an umbrella network of multiple separate networks.

Internetworking and ISPs

Internetworking allowed a large network of computer users to quickly exchange information and communicate regardless of their location. In the early 1980s, businesses saw the Internet as a way to connect to international markets located and expand their services. Soon, Internet Service Providers (ISPs) were in business.

Internet Service Providers, organizations that provide services to access, use, and participate in the Internet, are often organized as commercial, private, non-profit, or community-owned entities. As the need for Internet access grew, ISPs used their expertise to commercialize and lower the price of Internet services. As the gatekeeper to online commerce, ISPs have steadily grown more popular in the 21st century. Some of the most popular ISPs today include Comcast, AT&T, Century Link, Time Warner Cable, Frontier, AOL, EarthLink, and NetZero. Many ISPs have an array of services, including the following:

  • Internet access - Connects individual computers, computer networks, computer terminals, and mobile devices to the Internet and enables users to email and browse the World Wide Web.
  • Internet transit - Allows network traffic to cross, or “transit,” a computer network. This connects small ISPs to the larger Internet.
  • Domain name registration - Used in various networking contexts and represents an Internet Protocol (IP) resource when accessing the Internet.
  • Web hosting - Allows individuals and organizations to make their website accessible on the Internet.
  • Colocation - Provides space and security for server storage and networking equipment for telecommunications and network service providers. Of all the services, colocation is the pivotal service that will set your company apart. Data centers offer superior connectivity and power management to ensure continuous availability to functioning servers.

Colocation and Success

Before you understand the historical timelines of colocation, it’s important to understand exactly what it is and does. Colocation provides large businesses and corporations with the necessary amount of secure connectivity. This connectivity is based out of colocation facilities that generally eliminate logistical hassles and provide a company with the opportunity to focus its IT staff on more pressing matters. Colocation comes with a number of benefits, including the following:

  • High reliability
  • 24/7 monitoring and security
  • Qualified experienced staff
  • Higher bandwidth at a lower cost
  • Additional capacity
  • Access to power and space
  • Advanced infrastructure options
  • Disaster recovery plan

Most colocation facilities have key features that ensure maximum safety, security, and efficiency. Data centers should meet the industry standards for PCI, comply with SSAE 16, cool their premises, and subject themselves to third party auditing for financial, procedural, and security purposes. Colocation facilities and data centers sprung up after ISPs transformed the Internet into a commercial and affordable service.

Although many companies saw the need for the Internet, most companies couldn’t afford to host the servers themselves. Colocation continues to offer peace of mind by hosting servers externally in a well-maintained space. The Internet is an ever-evolving system that requires constant innovation-colocation centers are much the same. In the early days of colocation, data centers could not provide all of the benefits and features data centers are now expected to provide. Colocation companies have expanded and continue to expand hosting services to cater to the needs of businesses, companies, and institutions worldwide.

If you believe your company can benefit from colocation, contact Colocation NorthWest to speak with our expert sales consultants. Colocation Northwest will allow you to put your business on the map as you shift your focus away from IT and back to perfecting your business model.