Businesses often struggle to balance the cost of hosting services with their actual requirements. Among the more popular solutions is physical hosting of servers.
Most entities making use of such a service require little more than the basics: compliance, security, ease of access, uptime and support. A trend in business owners to escalate these requirements often escalates the expense of the solutions beyond what is feasible. It therefore takes longer to make the final decision on what services are used. This ultimately delays commencement and puts a business at elevated risk with regards to the data or services requiring hosting. Physical hosting thus needs both knowledge and planning.
The various physical hosting options are explained briefly below to guide ICT decision makers and business in general.
Shared Physical Hosting
In a shared hosting environment, your and other server owners shared one or more cabinets. This includes sharing the physical power and network infrastructure within the cabinet.
Shared hosting services are affordable because the cost to implement all the components within a cabinet is shared between you and the other owners. There are, however, a number of downsides, such as physical security concerns and different cabinets locations for additional servers. Power spikes caused by other servers might trip the power breakers for the cabinet, although measures are usually in place to prevent this.
Cabinet Physical Hosting
In a dedicated cabinet hosting environment, you have the entire cabinet to yourself. This allows one to expand services within the cabinet, run network cables as required and have dedicated power circuits, as yours is the only equipment within the cabinet.
Dedicated cabinet hosting services remain affordable because the cost to implement all the components is shared between you and the other owners within the data centre. However, this also means that you will be responsible for the total cost of the cabinet, its power and network connectivity. This is a good choice for business owners that require all their servers within the same cabinet, or need a higher level of security and access that is limited to the provider and the customer.
Cage Physical Hosting
In a dedicated cage hosting scenario, you have the entire hosting cage to yourself. This allows you to expand services within one or multiple cabinets, run network cables as required and have dedicated power circuits limited to your own use, as your equipment is exclusive within the cabinet. If multiple cabinets are required, they will all be build next to each other but caged off to prevent any non-authorised access.
This does mean that you will be responsible for the cost of the complete cage floor space, likely with multiple cabinet spacing to allow for growth. Dedicated Cage hosting services remain feasible for businesses needing all their servers within the same cage, or cabinets to be secured due to compliancy. They also offer a much higher level of access control, with more layers of physical security, and access that is limited to the provider and the customer.
Dedicated Data Centre
In a dedicated Data Centre, you have the entire data centre to yourself. This allows for the provision of services exclusively to you, within any cabinet within the data centre. It permits the running of network cables and dedicated power grids as required, as well as additional infrastructure such as backup power, cooling and generators. However, this also means that you will be responsible for the cost of the complete data centre and management thereof.
While typically prohibitively expensive, this is an ideal model for larger businesses that require all their servers within a private centre, needing the highest level of security with multiple physical access layers, and access limited to the client and service provider. Due to the cost of implementation, colocated data centres can provide better tiered infrastructure if budgets are limited.
The author interviewed Willem van Zyl, Senior Solutions Architect for Adept, in preparation for this article