A colocation center is a type of facility where equipment space and bandwidth are available for rental to retail customers. Colocation facilities house networking equipment of other firms and connect them to a variety of telecommunications and network service providers with a minimum of cost and complexity.
The amount of cooling equipment installed for a data center contributes to the identification of the center.
Colocation facilities have many special features:
- Fire protection systems, as well as implementation of fire prevention programs in operations.
- Smoke detectors are installed to provide early warning of a fire by detecting development of flame. This allows early detection; measures can be deployed to douse the fire.
- Cabinets and racks are constructed for physical access over the customer’s equipment.
- Air conditioning is used to control the temperature and humidity in the space. The electrical equipment when overworked generates a lot of heat; unless the heat is removed, the ambient temperature will rise, resulting in electronic equipment malfunction. By controlling the space air temperature, the server components at the board level are kept within the manufacturer’s specified temperature/humidity range.
- Air conditioning systems are few in case of the presence of windows, and ventilation.
Most colocation centers have high levels of security. They may even employ CCTV cameras.
Some colocation facilities require that employees escort customers, especially if the cabinets are not individually segregated for each customer. In other facilities, a PINcode or proximity card access system may allow customers access into the building or the cabinets are provided with unique locks and keys are handed over to the clients. Biometric security measures, such as fingerprint and voice recognition are also becoming more common in modern facilities.
Colocation facilities generally have generators that start automatically when power fails, usually running on diesel fuel.
Generators do not start instantaneously, so colocation facilities usually have battery backup systems. The operator of the facility provides large inverters to provide AC power from the batteries. In other cases, the customers may install smaller UPS in their racks.
Colocation facilities are sometimes connected to multiple sections of the power grid for additional reliability.
The operator of a colocation facility generally provides air conditioning for the computer and telecommunications equipment in the building. The cooling system generally includes some degree of redundancy.
Data centers also have to comply with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. Data centers are required to pass through a series of audits to ensure that the facility follows all the required standards.
Some colocation data centers make use of renewable sources of fuel for generators and power systems. Solar lights can be used during the daytime; a measure to harness this form of energy saves a lot of overhead costs. Ultimately colocation centers are beneficial to businesses with a large computing operation database.
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