[Solved] Colocation Questions

Discussion in 'Hosting Advice' started by PiggiesGoSqueal, Sep 16, 2020.

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  1. I am considering the possibility or colocating an ATX tower. However, I have some questions that I haven't found answers to online. Also, I would appreciate any general advice for those of you who have colocated.

    I live in Colorado. I'd prefer a data center closer to me in case I ever need to drive to it. However, I'd appreciate ANY links to websites that provide colocating towers in the United States. Also, the cheaper the better.

    1. What are some hosts that offer cheap colocation for towers?
    • I know about Joe's Data Center: https://joesdatacenter.com/ but it is in Kansas City which is fairly common area for natural disasters and I'd like to minimize risk. Plus it is about a 15-16 hour drive from where I live and while I'm open to it, that would be quite a painful drive lol.

    2. How much U space would an ATX take up? And can I rent the U space or do I have to find a place that specifically states it takes ATX towers?

    3. How often does one need to visit a colocation site for hosting Minecraft server(s)?

    If you have any tips / recommendations for colocating I'd appreciate it as well. What I like about the idea of colocating is the ability to have full control over specs & upgrades. What I don't like is the significant cost of buying said parts or computer & the monthly costs. I could probably afford to spend absolute max of $120 / month but it is strongly preferred to be less.

    Any feedback would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!
  2. Not a lot of people here colocate Minecraft servers. Renting dedicated servers is much more common. Hopefully you get some responses, but you might also want to ask on Web Hosting Talk - https://www.webhostingtalk.com/forumdisplay.php?f=44 Someone's even asking about Denver.
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  3. I have colocated a Dell PowerEdge R230 for 6 months in a Datacenter so I can give you easily some advice:

    I wouldn't colocate an ATX tower, just because you'll need like about 2U for it along with corresponding mounting hardware/rack plate just to place it. I would just opt for a 1u RACK server, ship to your home, install the OS, etc, configure the networking part as you won't have to do that by a tech from the datacenter, pack the server back in the box (Don't forget the rack rails and a rack power cord as the EU/US power cord will NEVER work in those racks), ship it with a reference for you & them, let a tech place it, plug a few network cables and let them boot it up.

    Upon purchasing such a rack server, opt-in for a remote management module along with the correct corresponding license because it will make your life way easier as you have to pay the tech a fee (depending on what the datacenter asks) to just pull a darn plug and plug it back in and boot it up (They will just count 15-30 mins for this meanwhile it's a 5 min task). I've had a few times that the OS froze and I had to reset the system so I logged into iDRAC (Dell's remote server management system).

    For powering the server a cable of 1.5m-2m with C13 to C14 connectors are required like earlier mentioned the regular US power cord won't work there as it won't fit, you can opt-in for that type of cable in order to place in the data center and use the regular power cable of your PC in order to install the OS.
    Keep also in mind that the datacenter might charge you for the power that you use and get the right amount of amps you need, purchasing less then you need might cause some issues.

    Setup the networking part at home if you don't have the possibility to remotely manage your server (You can obtain that in the control panel/email/ticket from the datacenter), also purchase the right amount + length of CAT6(a) or even CAT7 network cables

    Amount of visits
    If you've set up everything correctly, there is no need to visit it regularly. I did visit regularly to perform some small maintenance to the server (e.g. updating the firmware as iDRAC became unresponsive once by thus), changing hardware that needed to being upgraded, and just after finishing all the hard work: Getting a free beer! (It's alcohol free/0.0%)
    Most of all the maintenance you require is basically software related

    You can rent more than you need, usually, the datacenter requires that you rent at least 1/4th of the rack so keep that in mind.
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  4. Especially with colocation, make sure you choose a reputable company and not just the cheapest one you can find. Surely you wouldn't want to have stolen a server worth thousands to save $10/month.

    An ATX tower can take anywhere from 4-6U when laid on its side. Each rack U is 1.75" high, so you can do the calculations depending on what case you have. However, keep in mind that a lot of providers won't allow you to colocate an ATX case in a rack because there's no way to properly mount it. It's a huge liability to both parties if it accidentally falls off the shelf.

    A better solution would be to get a cheap 2U, 3U, or 4U case from eBay. These will be a bit more expensive than a cheap ATX case, but will definitely save you costs on colocation and give you a wider range of providers to choose from. Often times these will even have redundant power supplies which reduces the chance of downtime for you (assuming the provider you choose has redundant power circuits in place).

    Something to consider though is the cost of remote hands as well as hardware failures. Providers that offer dedicated servers often have spare parts on-site and bear any costs of remote hands to replace failing hardware. However, when you choose to colocate, you end up being responsible for all of these costs.

    Did your drive(s) just fail? Bad memory? Or worse, a bad motherboard/processor? You can be looking at days of downtime while you wait for a replacement part to ship in. What's worse is that many datacenter remote hands fees range from tens to hundreds of dollars per hour, so an incident like this could cost you several hundreds to resolve.

    Jesse mentioned this earlier but I want to reiterate on the importance of getting a system that has remote management capabilities. Even better, look for a provider who can give you a VPN-protected or firewalled connection for this. This will allow you to manage your server remotely in the case you mess up a network config or need to reboot. Last thing you want to be doing is waiting hours at 2am waiting on a datacenter tech to reboot your server or attach a KVM.

    tl;dr - Doing single-server colocation can be a great experience if you're wanting to start out and work with your own hardware, but be aware of the caveats and potential unexpected expenses that may pop up.
    • Informative Informative x 1
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