Why would anyone want to colocate a server instead of just buying a dedicated one? Seems these days you will pay twice as much for the same server to be colocated as you would pay for a dedicated one. So what is your opinion?
I have completely switched. My experience has been that it's just too much of a headache to colocate, when you factor in the things that could go wrong. Of course, there was a time when it was very beneficial, before all of these $99 hosts showed up and you'd pay $600+ for a halfway decent server with little bandwidth
colo instead of dedicated gives you control over the hardware, which means you can pick exactly what you want, down to the drive/controller/NIC specs/manufacturer .. you can install the OS you want, the way you want it installed, and be more confident that there aren't hidden problems (like backdoors, or bad people with the root password). it's easy to get a dedicated NT/Linux/FreeBSD box, somewhat harder to find OpenBSD or NetBSD, if those are your preference. you can install extra drives and RAM for the retail price, not someone's marked-up per-month cost. if you want high-end stuff like SSL/PKI accelerators, that's easier if you can just drop the card in yourself.
also, if things get ugly, the hardware belongs to you, so it's less likely that your entire net presence will be wiped clean - they may pull your power & net connections, but the box & the data on it remains yours, vs. dedicated servers, where there's no duty (unless you negotiate for it) to back up that stuff before that box goes to somebody else, or to make sure it's wiped securely (or even at all).
Yes, I am working on building some myself. The hardest part of building them is finding a case that doesn't put a huge hole in your wallet. Do you have any websites you would recemend for buying 1u's and 2u's?
If it would cost you twice as much for you to co-locate, then maybe you're not looking hard enough. The initial investment may be large, but just think of it as a huge setup fee. Co-location is cheaper for me in the long run than even RackShack, and I get the peace of mind of owning the hardware.
Other than the rock-bottom, generic machines offered by the cogent-fed mass-market dedicated servers, you will find that dedicated servers with brand-name hardware and brand-name providers (bandwidth and facilities) are much more expensive than buying your own.
Just check out companies like Verio/NTT or other large, reputable providers that offer dedicated servers.
As mentioned by other posts, it really is the difference between renting a "black-box" ready-to-go system and customizing/fully crafting a machine exactly the way you like that you own and control and can move anywhere.
One of issues raised, hd crashes, is actually more of a problem with cheap dedicated servers. A colo customer almost always uses at least RAID 1 mirrors with dual drives or for an extra $100 puts a hardware RAID card into their server so disk crashes/data reliability are actually much LESS of a problem than a stock dedicated server with a single hd drive and no redundancy.
For us, renting a dedicated server versus colo is purely a financial, not technical decision. If our client really, really wants to rent the machine from us, we pop over to the online configurator at Dell, whip up a quote with exactly what they want, and then take the total cost cost and divide by X to provide a monthly rental/lease amount.
It's not rocket science - dedicated means you want your vendor to be your banker. Since we are in the colo/hosting business, not the banking business, we will charge a hefty premium to offer "banking services" (leasing) to make it worth our effort.
FWIW - the only clients that want to rent servers are corporate/larger customers where the IT manager can easily expense the lease, but cannot easily push all the paperwork to buy the machine (capital equipment) and is willing to pay more for making his job easier.
With colo, you can be assured you have the hardware you want and think is best. Example: Many people don't want to use Rackshack (I'm not trying to pick on RS) servers because the hardware they use is rather cheap. I think in the long-run, colocating would be just as expensive (or inexpensive, which ever way you prefer to look at it) as buying a good dedicated server. Like look at www.rackspace.com. Their managed servers cost a bundle. But I'm sure they use state-of-the-art hardware and equipment. Hey, it all just runs down to what you think is the best for you.
One, thing my father taught me a LONG time ago . Was to be ALWAYS in control of your business. Ever since he told me that and a few failing try's at different things when i was 13-16. I have realized he was right, and by colocating close to where you live, or at least somewhere where you have access to your servers, you can stay in control.
Conclusion: Never, ever, in your life get to greasy of hands, that you can't hold on to the rackmount . That is just my $00.02.