02 Feb

When Your Colo Needs To Grow

The following excerpt is from Datacate’s Colocation Survival Guide – get the full Guide here.

If your colocation needs grow as time passes, congratulations on your success! Here are the aspects to consider when expanding your colocation.

Adding Bandwidth

How to go about adding more bandwidth to a you colo plan depends in part upon how your plan is currently set up. If you are in a fractional commit situation and need more bandwidth, you can just allow your usage to burst over your commit and pay any overages that result, or you can increase your commit (which will usually give you better pricing on the additional bandwidth).

On the other hand, If you are instead in a flat-rate usage situation, you’ll need to raise the upper limit or “cap” on your usage. If you had previously requested a logical cap on your bandwidth (i.e. 20Mbps capped on a 100Mbps connection), raising the limit is a simple matter of requesting a network config change from your provider. On the other hand, if your usage is approaching the physical limits of you uplink port (i.e. you are doing 90+Mbps on a 100Mbps port), you will need to order an upgraded connection size from your provider, and you can expect a physical connection change will need to be coordinated at some point. Also, there may be fees associated with provisioning the new port, especially if new media needs to be run, which may be the case if the new port uses different media than your current port (such as fiber instead of copper). In that case you may also have expenses on your side to upgrade your equipment so that it can receive the new media.

Adding Colocation Space

If you start adding more equipment to your colocation, you will need more space – and you’ll need it right away if you current equipment set fills every U that you have. If you have a private space, such as a private ½ cabinet or full cabinet, and you have used every available U, you will have a couple of options, depending upon what your provider allows:

  • Order additional space while keeping your existing space, i.e. a 2nd private space, or if it’s available and you are OK with it, a few U’s in a shared cabinet, or
  • Order a larger space and migrate to it, i.e. go from a private ½ cabinet to a private full cabinet and move your existing and new equipment into the new space, vacating the old space completely.

If you are renting part of a shared cabinet that contains other clients, your options are similar to those above, with a few additional considerations. Providers may set a limit on how much space and/or power they will rent out to any one client in a shared cabinet situation, placing those with needs in excess of those limits in private space. In that case, a move to a different (private) cabinet may be your only option for growth – and having your own private space is not without its benefits. In cases where your additional space needs are still within the limits of shared space allocations, be aware that you cannot count on the new space being adjacent to your existing space – or even being in the same cabinet as your current space, for that matter. Where shared cabinet space is available, it is filled on a first-come, first-served basis.

Adding Power

Colocation space and power needs are directly related in most cases, so if you need more space you will most likely need more power and vice versa (usually). How you can get additional power may be dependent in part on how you will get the additional space that will go along with the additional power, assuming that is the case. Rather than go through all the permutations, we’ll just touch on the general guidelines:

If you have a full power circuit with your existing service, your choices will usually be to upgrade to a circuit that delivers more power, or keep your existing circuit and add a second circuit for the additional power. Be aware that, in the overwhelming majority of cases, an upgrade to a circuit will be achieved by running a new circuit of greater wattage to your cabinet, then taking away the old circuit once you’ve moved all of your power connections to the new circuit. This is because of the difference in wiring requirements for circuits of different power ratings.

If you have a power allocation on a circuit that is shared with other clients, there may be additional power available on that circuit, or on another circuit in your cabinet, that can be assigned for your use by your provider. If there is not additional power available in your shared situation, the provider may need you to get the additional power in a different cabinet, which may require moving some or all of your existing or new equipment. Another consideration: providers will typically limit the amount of shared circuit power they will sell to any one client. If you cross that limit with your increased power demands, your provider will require that you migrate to a full dedicated circuit.