Choosing Between Colocation and Dedicated Server Hosting

Posted by Jim Hawk on Nov 21, 2018 5:03:27 PM
Jim Hawk

Many organizations struggle to build a cloud environment that fits perfectly with their operations and allows them to scale. Today, there are more options than ever for building the ideal cloud environment, including hybrid models. Cloud buying is also evolving, giving organizations more control over how they allocate their cloud spend and utilize available resources.

Nonetheless, many organizations still prefer to use their own servers for their IT needs. Colocation is attractive for organizations who wish to maintain control of their servers but need to offset some of the costs of managing them. Instead of keeping servers in-house, they simply pay a third party to keep them in their data center.

However, some organizations prefer to lease a dedicated, or bare metal, server to access more capacity and bandwidth. There are pros and cons to each approach, and which you choose will depend entirely on your computing needs and your organization’s internal IT resources.

The Pros and Cons of Colocation

If your organization owns its own machines and you wish to maintain control over them, colocation may be a great way to offset some of your costs while staying in control. You won’t have to lease an entire server and you’ll have more bandwidth than if you shared space on a virtual server.

Here are some of the benefits and pitfalls of colocation:


  • Better security on a budget
  • Tech support at the data center
  • Reliable temperature control
  • Scalability (although you must purchase and ship new hardware to the data center)
  • Improved uptime
  • Maintain control of your own hardware


  • Colocation can be labor-intensive
  • Costly setup
  • Less control than maintaining your own data center
  • Lack of physical access to servers
  • You’re still responsible for server maintenance

Colocation is often the optimal choice for organizations that own their own machines and have the staffing and IT strategy to design and maintain their own environments.

The Pros and Cons of Using a Dedicated Server

When you lease a dedicated server, you have complete control over it and you don’t need to provide your own hardware. You are not sharing space with others on a virtual machine. There are numerous benefits to using a dedicated server, but it isn’t the best fit for every organization.

Here are the pros and cons:


  • Nearly unlimited bandwidth and space
  • Access to all system resources
  • Won’t slow down because of traffic
  • More security than a shared server (can only be accessed by the user)
  • 24/7 technical support
  • You don’t need to provide your own hardware


  • More expensive than colocation or leasing space on a virtual server
  • You are required to set up, repair, and maintain your dedicated server
  • Requires extensive IT skills to establish and manage

For organizations that receive extensive amounts of traffic on their website or otherwise need a great deal of computing power, relying on a dedicated server is often the best option. They’re typically used by large corporations who have high-demand systems.

Do You Need a Scalable Virtual Server?

When referring to “cloud computing,” we are usually referring to virtual servers. Colocation and dedicated server hosting are still prevalent, but many burgeoning organizations lack the staff or the budget to maintain their own servers.

With a virtual server, you sacrifice some of your control and must share system resources with others, but it’s also the most cost-effective solution. A virtual server may be your best option if you need to create a hybrid cloud environment or you wish to start small and scale up as your organization grows. Virtual servers are part of the public cloud. They’re an important part of the on-demand cloud computing market.

Most reports show that the world is trending toward public cloud, rather than private cloud environments hosted in data centers. According to Cisco, 73% of cloud workloads and compute instances will be in public cloud data centers by 2021, up from 58% in 2016.

Looking for a custom environment? Start designing it with our request for quote tool. If you’re unsure of where to start, contact us today to learn about our cloud marketplace.

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