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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    San Diego, CA

    Questions from a hosting newbie

    Now, I'll admit, I'm fairly new to hosting. I've done lots of research all over, from the web-sites that get paid to tell you how great a service is to the more accurate and complete places like webhostingtalk and findmyhosting....
    I've figured out mostly how all hosting works..... except for colocation..... I don't know - it seems like colo is a whole different ballgame than all the other forms of hosting.
    There's so much to learn and understand, and yet I can't find anywhere that explains this stuff. So, if someone has a link to somehwere that helpfully explains what colocation really is, and all the details involved that you mgiht need to know, I'd be very grateful.
    Otherwise, if you could answer these questions, I'd probably have a much better idea of how colo works.

    OK, I understand that colo is you own the server and pay for someone to manage it - essentially only paying for bandwidth.

    1) Why does colo measure bandwidth by mbits? Every other form of hosting measures by GB of transfer - so why does colo measure by speed?
    How does the speed of the bandwidth affect how much data transfer you actually get?
    I know that mbits represents the speed of transfer...... but more essentially, what does it really mean?
    2) What is "burst" and what would you need it for?
    3) What is rackspace? I mean, how does it affect your hosting - what does it reflect, etc.
    4) Colo seems to charge much more for bandwidth than dedicated. I understand this is because dedicated servers are generally more confident about overselling then colo's. In this case - if you had high bandwidth needs, would it be wiser to colo?
    5) What do the different levels of colo (level3, etc.) mean?

    What I have the most trouble understanding is how bandwidth measurement works. I just don't understand why colo is the only hosting that measures by speed, and I don't udnerstand how that translates to actual data transfer.

    Answers (and/or helpful links) are greatly appreciated

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Colocation is the act of putting your equipment in a secure building, called a datacenter, and paying that datacenter for space to host your equipment. You should have physical 24/7 access to the building.

    1) People who are colocating servers lease lines, and don't lease a certain amount of transfer per month: they lease the speed of the line, i.e. how much they can transfer at once.

    2) "Burstable to 100mbps" means that if your site was being advertised somewhere and you needed extra bandwidth, the connection your server is sitting on can jump or "burst" to 100mbps during the high-traffic times.

    3) Rackspace is the amount of space your equipment is going to take up. Rackspace is measured in 'units', which are about 1.5 inches thick. Most servers are 1U or 2U (units).

    4) I'd think customers considering colo need to have physical access to their servers. That's a very good thing.

    5) Level3 isn't a level of colo. It's a bandwidth provider, often called an uplink provider. Level3 is one of the many carriers your data can head out from a datacenter. Different datacenters are 'peered' (have contracts with) different uplink providers.

    Hope I helped and welcome to WHT!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    San Diego, CA
    that helps alot!

    OK, so if I understand correctly - how much data transfer per month you use is irrelevant? All that matters is the speed of the transfer....
    which means that at 1mbps (which is 128 KBps if I'm not mistaken?), the maximum data transfer you could have, if you had someone downloading data 24/7, is approx 331 GB?
    Or am I mistaken in saying that your speed determines the maximum data transfer you can have?

    I'm still not sure I understand what an uplink provider is or does, but the rest is alot clearer!

    Also, what does unmetered mean? I thought it meant they don't measure how much bandwidth you use, but that doesn't seem to make much sense in this context anymore....

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2002
    Houston, Texas
    Iíll give a shot at these questions, only because I once was in the same position as you were.

    You are correct in saying that 1Mbps (which is 128KBps) equals out to 330GB of bandwidth per month, if pushed twenty-four-seven the entire month, which is rare but can happen if you are using bandwidth intense services. It is tricky to calculate though because there are many ways different providers determine how to bill you, such as the 95th percentile billing method.

    The speed or size of the pipe determines how much you can push a month, how much bandwidth you want to use is up to you. Think of the speed or connection a pipe, and water represents data; the bigger the pipe or the faster the current, the more water or data you can push. So your statement saying ďthat your speed determines the maximum data transfer you can haveĒ is correct.

    Uplink providers each own a part of the internet. The internet is run over fiber now, well the majority of it, and most uplink providers own their own fiber. You must either get a connection from an uplink provider, or build your own network and get peering if you plan on communicating with others on the internet.

    An unmetered connection is a capped connection. You pay for a capped line, and are not allowed to burst over the cap. An unmeterd connection can be good or bad, depending on what you are using the bandwidth for, and the size of the cap. Since you are not allowed to go over the cap, the provider doesnít measure how much you use, because there is no way you can go over what they have included.

    I hope this makes sense to you.

    Thank you,
    Kyle Leissner

  5. #5
    The thing is that every second when the connection isn't totally saturated(such as at 3AM when the server is less busy) counts against your 331GB/mbps total.

    A good rule of thumb is that if your traffic patterns are somewhat "normal", every mbps translates into about 100-150 GB/month.

    As to "unmetered", I have a 10mbps metered connection. That is, my provider limits my transfer to 100 GB/month. In theory, the 10mbps connection could give me at least 1000 GB transfer. I could, in theory, have a 1 mbps connection for my 100 GB/month transfer, but it's easier for me to let my provider worry about my connection and let me worry about the transfer.
    Last edited by HostMidwest; 04-03-2004 at 09:47 PM.
    If the bigger hosts are fancy French restaurants, consider my service the friendly small-town diner. you deserve honest, helpful, and reliable service!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2002
    London, United Kingdom

    Re: Questions from a hosting newbie

    >Why does colo measure bandwidth by mbits?

    because thats how *bandwidth* is actually sold, the other term that clueless providers mix up with bandwidth is *transfer*

    >How does the speed of the bandwidth affect how much data transfer you actually get?

    it affects how much you get and how quickly.
    bandwidth is a "width" measurement, transfer is a "ength" measurement - imageine the internet is a motorway/freeway

    bandwidth is the number of lanes, transfer is the count of the cars using the road in a month. if you pay for 3 "lanes" 3Mb/s if you like, even if no cars (traffic) use it you still pay.

    dedicated servers are sold often with *transfer* amounts as th target market for them is different to colo.

    >What is "burst" and what would you need it for?

    the max bandwidth you are permitted to "burst" upto - you can be on "capped" where you only get what you need or "burstable" where you get what you pay for andt he ability to use moer (subject to extra fees) often on 95th%ile ...

    > What is rackspace?

    the amount of space in a rack for fitting your serevrs, usually measured in "u" - telecoms units

    >I mean, how does it affect your hosting - what does it reflect,

    if you have 2u of rackspace then the most you can fit is a 2u high server ! or 2*1u high ...

    >Colo seems to charge much more for bandwidth than dedicated.

    colo tends to charge *realistic* prices as peopel who go for colo generally actually use what they pay for as opposed to people with a dedicated who go for the biggest numbers as a d!ck waving exericise.

    >In this case - if you had high bandwidth needs, would it be wiser to colo?

    if you want control of the hardware, a custom setup, *probably* guaranteed bandwidth , etc then go for colo

    >What do the different levels of colo (level3, etc.) mean?

    level3 is a transit supplier, not a colo "type"

    >I don't udnerstand how that translates to actual data transfer.

    simply put it doesn't - the two are *NOT* related in a direct method.

    my car can go 120Mph (speed)
    the number of miles I do a month varies from 0-2500
    the two are *only* related if all i dd for 30 dayswasdrive at tope speed ...

    *if* you max out 1Mb/s constantly you *might* get as much as 320Gb transferred.

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  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    San Diego, CA
    Wow, thanks for all the replies, really cleared things up

    My last thing is..... how much knowledge/experience with servers do you need (or at least recommend) before you even consider colo? I guess I don't really know what you would need to maintain the server aside from some reboots, replacing parts when necessary, and etc. Will colo hosts do any basic managing for you?
    And, how much of it can be done by root access? Do you have to rush to your colo center every time the server has a problem or what?

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2002
    Houston, Texas

    Basic rule of thumb is if you donít know how to do it, you arenít ready for it in this industry.

    Most collocation providers do not provider any type of management besides the regular reboots, hardware replacements, and other services minor services. If you need advanced management many providers will charge you, usually know as remote hands, which technicians either fix things physically at the datacenter for you, or do it remotely for you.

    I would recommend if you donít know how to manage a server, you either get a dedicated server from a managed provider, or collocate a dedicated server, and hire someone to take care of it.

    If you would like my recommendations on who to use, you may PM or email me.

    Thank you,
    Kyle Leissner

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