Affordable colo providers within the US? 1/4 rack or individual servers

Started by diy05, Jun 17, 2022, 05:39 AM

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I was taking a look at the WHT offers section but most providers deals are for a full 42U rack. My needs are much smaller than most.
The IPv4 shortage seems to have affected pricing and my previous provider's pricing is hard to match (sub $200/month 1/4 rack with /26 IP block). Full racks for $400 at or others seem easy to find but that's double my current costs.

There's two providers that seem to do seem to come close to my budget:
- Joe's Datacenter

Any other suggestions to established datacenter providers that may come close to my budget/needs? Location must be USA.


Sadly those are most likely two of the only options I would even suggest for a very low budget, as those two have been around for sometime and should be able to be trusted.

The whole colocation side of things isn't very profitable which is a big reason why it's getting harder and harder to find solid hosting companies who offer colocation for dirt cheap pricing. That along with the price for IP ranges these days has really also gone up a lot.

Most companies will be charging $2+ per IP which eats almost all of that budget up just in IP space alone.
On top of this power and space costs for example HE has a killer deal if you don't require a lot of power. Full rack at $400 is quite insanely cheap. That being said power costs feed into this. I know years ago we used to offer some dirt cheap colocation deals as it was part of a very large expansion we did. However, since then the data center has required triple the amount of power commitment per rack as it was just not profitable for them.

I can't think of any other low cost providers who you should be save with using other than those two you already talked about.

Hopefully you can find some more options, if not you should be good with either of those two.
The other problem and worry with lower costs if there is not much room for profits either rates will go up, or the company might go under. I don't believe this will happen with the two you have talked about for something to be mindful of in regards to some other possible options.


Margins are really tight when all you're providing is commodity space and power. But, colo customers, especially single server colo, requires more work than dedicated server customers.

Single server colo people often send in something half broken they've never bought one of before, that also doesn't match anything your DC normally uses. When something inevitably doesn't work right, they expect you to fix it. When someone is sending in a $200 trashbox server to try to save some money vs a server rental of the same caliber, they sure don't want to pay for your time in fixing it. So as a provider it leaves you between a rock and a hard place.

For dedicated, we learn what to buy and what to do to avoid those problems in the first place. Also, dedicated sells for more money, so any labor costs can be absorbed into the rental margin and recouped over time. So it's just a lose/lose proposition for single server colo, and to a lesser extent, partial rack colo.

Partial rack colo poses some additional logistical challenges. Getting physically partitioned partial racks is not as easy or as cheap as full racks. PDU options are often limited. And the smallest circuit sizes -- 15a or 20a 120v, is more power than many people need in a 1/4 cab. So a colo provider runs the risk someone uses the entire circuit but has to price it for the lesser amount of power someone likely needs.

Example, a full rack with 2x 20a 120v circuits may be $1000/mo give or take. A 1x 20a 120v half cab can reasonably be $500/mo give or take -- but, you could probably also find a 1x20a 120v full cab for around $500 so what's the point going with a half cab?

So now what do you do with the quarter cab? Drop down to 15a maybe -- that's the lowest circuit breaker I've ever seen -- assuming you find an appropriate PDU. Maybe you do 20a to keep things standardized. But now it's tricky. The biggest costs in DCs and power and cooling, so in essence you've got someone who can use all the resources of a $500/mo half cab customer, who expects to pay less for this lower tier product. Possibly they use less power, maybe 8a, or maybe they use the whole amount.

For a colo provider it makes more sense to do full cabs. Set your minimum power a little lower than what a cab full of servers would need, say, allow as little as 20a 120v. This gives the customer room to grow into the cab by adding another circuit as they add servers, without needing to provision more cabinets. Cooling and power density is often limited in datacenters, so having one rack with 20a 120v means you have capacity for the cab next to it to use 40a 208v.


The main reason to do smaller circuits is that in the US, traditionally you have fully committed circuits. I.E. you pay for the circuit size whether you use it or not. Which is a nice billing model. You don't have to measure their usage, and the revenue for you and cost for them, is predictable.

"Burstable" circuits like you described -- give them 30a but they pay for less until they need more -- I'm not a fan. Customers sign up for X, then use 2X, then don't want to pay for what they're actually using. Then after some arguing, you have to shut them off. They get angry at you and make a thread here complaining about you. Etc. Meanwhile who knows how long they went past what they were paying for before you put your foot down. Real mess.

The "actual use" colo model is more common in Europe, probably because a minimum circuit size is more like 24a 240v. So you'd very commonly have customers not need anything close to that. Whereas in the US, smallest circuit being 15 or 20a 120v, it's much easier to simply assume every customer needs at least one circuit, and just charge for whatever power they've got.


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