[svlug] colocation: advice needed

William R Ward bill at wards.net
Tue Mar 11 16:10:16 PST 2003

I've not had direct relations with a colo, but have had several
instances of indirect involvement...

N. Thomas writes:
>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?

Depends on the type of arrangement with the colo.  It may also depend
on whether you need it NOW or can schedule it in advance.

>    - 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
>      this?

I think they usually can do this for you.

>    - 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)?

Exorbitant rates.  You should run tools to set your own bandwidth
caps.  I haven't done this myself but know people who have.

>    - 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?

That's pretty cheap.

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

I think there's usually a long term commitment required.

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

I would think so.

>    - 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
>      provider's?

More than one IP?  That's up to the colo to decide if they want to
allow it.  I think it's more likely you will get just one.
Hostname-based virtual hosting is mature; the days of needing multiple
IP's for virtual hosting on a single box are over.

A reverse lookup for a given IP will return whatever hostname the
network's reverse DNS is configured for.  Probably they will configure
it to your own name, but they might not.  Ask nicely.

>    - 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?

You'll have a new IP address so it shouldn't be an issue.  Dialup and
broadband IP ranges are usually blacklisted because spammers use
disposable dialup accounts and script kiddies hack into home boxes on
DSL and use them to send spam.

>    - 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
>      possible?

You'll probably be behind a firewall no matter what, but you should
still run your own as a secondary filter.

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

It refers to size.  1U is about 1" tall.  2U is twice that.  The
amount of rack space you get is measured in U.  Modern rack mount PC's
are usually 1U.  (About 1" tall, 19" wide, and about 24" deep.)


William R Ward            bill at wards.net          http://www.wards.net/~bill/
"A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by
 little statesmen and philosophers and divines."        - Emerson

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