[svlug] colocation: advice needed

N. Thomas nthomas at cise.ufl.edu
Tue Mar 11 15:31:40 PST 2003

In a month or so, I might have to set up a machine to be colocated.
Having never done this before (colocation that is, not setting up a
machine), I'd like to ask for some advice here.

I've looked through the mailing list archives, and googled through the
Web and Usenet. The web and news searches in particular weren't too
helpful since most of the hits were for companies that provided colo
services rather than consumer oriented information.

Here are the requirements:

    - we will have a single machine (most likely a PC) running some
      flavor of Unix (Debian or FreeBSD)

    - we need to host an smtp and http server

    - will provide SSH/shell access for a small number of users (less
      than 10)

    - it will have a firewall

    - we would like to do all the system administration ourselves, i.e.
      we don't want anyone at the colo facility to get into the box

    - our bandwidth needs are minimal, I'm thinking 200KiB/s up and down
      should be more than enough

    - price is more of an issue than uptime, so we are more than willing
      to sacrifice five 9's for an ultra-cheap rate

    - we don't need the colo people to back anything up

So here are the questions I have:

    - machine upgrades: in general, am I allowed physical access to my
      machine in case I need to upgrade a kernel or add hardware?

    - power cycling: if the machine needs an occasional reboot, do I
      have to go there in person or will they have someone on site to do

    - bandwidth: if I go over the set bandwidth cap, is my network
      connection shut off (ala prepaid phone card), or am I charged
      exorbitant rates (ala cell phone)?

    - burstable bandwidth: I see it in a bunch of places, what exactly
      does it mean?

    - price: Since our bandwidth needs are so low, does less than
      $80/month sound unreasonable?

    - price contracts: Do most places require you to sign up for 12
      months or are monthly service contracts available?

    - ip addresses: I'm assuming that I'll be given a static IP?

    - DNS: can I point more than one ip address to the assigned machine?
      Will reverse lookups resolve to my own domain name or the service

    - spam: I want to run my own smtp server. We have had some issues
      with our DSL provider's (dynamics) IP address being blacklisted on
      many occasions, so a lot of our mail would be rejected. Will this
      be an issues?

    - firewall: We want to run our own firewall on the box and don't
      want to be behind the colo's firewall, I'm assuming this is

    - terminology: when referring to 1U/2U, I assume this means "units",
      i.e. machines/servers?

Any other issues that I need to be aware of?


N. Thomas
nthomas at cise.ufl.edu
Etiamsi occiderit me, in ipso sperabo

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