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Colocation For E-commerce: Meeting Industry Needs

Colocation For E-commerce: Meeting Industry Needs

Colocation is a popular solution for the e-commerce sector and is well designed to suit its requirements. Here is a quick guide to what you need to know about how colocation meets the needs of e-commerce businesses.

Performance requirements

Here are five of the main ways using colocation helps to meet the specific performance needs of e-commerce businesses.


E-commerce businesses typically have fluctuating workloads. Typically, these fluctuations will be a combination of waves and spikes. The waves are predictable business patterns (e.g. increased activity as the holidays approach). The spikes are sudden increases in traffic which may or may not be predictable. Using colocation makes it easy for businesses to leverage horizontal and vertical scaling to accommodate these.

Support for customized environments

Although there are many e-commerce retailers that operate exclusively online, there are many more that combine e-commerce with real-world sales. Many of these were established long before the internet and therefore have mature IT systems with specific requirements. Using colocation allows businesses to create niche environments where necessary without having to tie up funds in on-premises infrastructure.

Enhanced bandwidth and connectivity

e-commerce is a highly competitive area. One of the areas in which e-commerce businesses compete is the quality of the user experience. This depends on bandwidth and connectivity. There are multiple ways in which using colocation helps e-commerce businesses to deliver a better customer experience. Here are five of them.

High-speed internet access: By tapping into advanced networking technologies, including fiber-optic connections and high-capacity routers, small businesses benefit from accelerated data transmission.

Robust networking infrastructure: Colocation facilities boast a robust networking infrastructure, equipped with state-of-the-art hardware such as switches and routers. This provides small businesses with a solid foundation for managing and optimizing data flow.

Diverse connectivity options: Colocation services offer small businesses diverse connectivity options, allowing them to engage with multiple carriers. This diversity enhances redundancy, providing a safety net in case of network disruptions.

Proximity to internet exchange points (IXPs): E-commerce businesses hosted within these facilities benefit from direct connections to various Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and Content Delivery Networks (CDNs). This proximity minimizes network hops, reducing latency and enhancing overall connectivity.

Geographic distribution: Colocation enabled businesses to host their equipment near their key user bases. Keeping services, applications, and/or data close to users reduces latency and increases security.

Security and compliance support

Most, if not all, e-commerce stores accept card payments. This means they need to comply with PCI/DSS. They will often need to comply with other compliance programs as well from GDPR to CCPA. Using colocation helps smooth the path to compliance. It also guarantees a high level of physical and digital security without any management overheads.

High resilience

If an e-commerce store goes offline, then it is highly likely that people who would have purchased from them will just go to another store. Moreover, the lost sale may never be recouped as the other store may become their preferred choice. This means that the high resilience of reputable colocation facilities is vital for e-commerce businesses.

Redundancy for reliability

Here are five ways colocation facilities improve redundancy and hence reliability for e-commerce operations.

Fault-tolerant hardware architectures: Colocation providers rely on IT equipment to manage their operations. To ensure continuity of service, the configuration of their equipment allows for a high level of redundancy in key components such as processors, memory, and storage. This minimizes the risk of hardware failure leading to disruption.

Multiple power sources: Colocation facilities are expected to have uninterruptible power supplies (UPSs) and backup generators. UPSs will see them through brief outages. If necessary, they can also smooth over the transition to the backup generators. These generally run on diesel (or gas). They can therefore operate for as long as the colocation vendor can replenish the fuel.

Redundant network connections: By deploying multiple, geographically diverse network routes, enhance reliability and minimize the risk of service disruptions. In the event of a network failure or outage, traffic seamlessly redirects through alternative paths, maintaining uninterrupted data transfer and accessibility.

Backup cooling systems: These systems typically include redundant cooling units, backup generators, and environmental monitoring tools. They automatically activate in the event of a primary cooling system failure or during periods of high heat load. By providing a redundant cooling infrastructure, colocation facilities mitigate the risk of downtime caused by temperature-related issues.

Failover mechanisms: In colocation, failover mechanisms are protocols that facilitate seamless transitions between primary and backup systems in the event of a service disruption. This involves automatically redirecting traffic or workloads from a failed system to a functional one. Failover mechanisms are crucial for maintaining uninterrupted operations, especially during hardware failures or unexpected outages.


Related Resources:

What is Colocation? Ultimate Colocation FAQ Guide

How to Choose the Right Colocation Provider

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