The ColoPulse Colocation Glossary

Colocation Glossary

Definitions of the terms surrounding colocation?


Funds used by a datacenter operator to acquire or upgrade physical assets such as property, buildings and mechanical and electrical equipment. This type of outlay is made by companies to maintain or increase the scope of operations. Greenfield and brownfield - Greenfield datacenter builds are 'from the ground up' - newly constructed facilities, purpose-built for datacenter uses. Brownfield builds are usually significant renovations to an existing, non-datacenter structure, such as a shell or warehouse.

Gross square footage

Total area of the building housing a datacenter (wall-to-wall capacity).


Certain select colocation datacenter facilities also offer interconnection services, which were once synonymous with settlement-free Internet peering. Many coloration customers, however, use interconnection services for a variety of tasks, including buying Internet connectivity, connecting voice over IP (VolP) telephone networks, performing Financial exchange and settlement functions or performing business-to-business e-commerce. Interconnection services may be offered by colocation facility operators (typical in North America and Asia) or by member-owned consortia (more common in Europe).

Internet infrastructure

A broad market that includes multi-tenant datacenters, interconnection, dedicated hosting, shared hosting, managed hosting, content delivery and cloud services.

Managed Hosting

Managed hosting services are provided by several firms that also provide datacenter colocation services. In a managed hosting environment, managed server hardware may be owned by either the hosting provider or the customer. Managed hosting services can include a combination of comprehensive systems administration, database administration and sometimes application management services. In practice, this has the effect of the managed hosting provider 'running' the customer's servers, although such administration is frequently shared. The provider may manage operating systems, databases, security and patch management, while the customer often simply manages the applications riding on top of those systems.

The list of potential services offered under the rubric 'managed hosting' is actually quite large and includes remote management, custom applications, helpdesk, messaging, databases, disaster recovery, managed storage, managed virtualization, managed security, managed networks and system monitoring.

Manages hosting services are typically used for:

  • Application hosting by organizations of any size, including large enterprises
  • Hosted or managed messaging, including Microsoft Exchange and other complex messaging applications.
  • Complex or highly scalable Web hosting or e-commerce websites
  • Managed storage services (including large drive arrays or backup robots)
  • Server disaster recovery and business continuity, including clustering and global server load balancing
  • Database servers, applications and services

Multi-tenant datacenter

A datacenter with multiple customers. 451 Research previously used the term 'lnternet datacenter' (IDC) for this type of facility, but we now refer to them as 'multi-tenant datacenters' (MTDC) to avoid any confusion with facilities from lnternet content companies such as Google and Microsoft.

Net square footage

Datacenter space at facility buildout, counting all potential space that can support customer equipment. Does not include space for support equipment, such as uninterruptable power supplies (UPSs), batteries or office space for staff. lt should be noted that net square footage does include traditional computer room air handlers (CRAHs) and power distribution units (PDUs) when located in the datacenter white space.

Operational square footage

Currently built-out datacenter space in a facility- This is the currently available sellable space that can support customer equipment Operational datacenter square footage will be less than or equal to net square footage. Operation square footage is used in this report to size estimated datacenter footprints by market to enable determining market share and also for expansion pipelines. Expansion pipelines in this report show only estimated opetaional space for phases under construction and not net square footage.


Operating expenses, which are ongoing costs for a business

Wholesale Datacenter

Wholesale datacenter providers lease datacenter space that is typically sold in cells or pods (i.e., individual white-space rooms) ranging in size from 5,000 to 20,000 and up to 50,000 square feet. Wholesale datacenter providers sell to both enterprises and to colocation providers. Given that datacenter space is sold in larger 'chunks,' wholesale datacenter providers typically have a much smaller number of customers than colocation datacenter providers.

Wholesale datacenter providers typically do not provide technician, remote hands services or network monitoring (although other tenants might offer such services). Wholesale data-center providers typically provide security guard services, as well as maintenance on fire alarm systems, security systems, generator, HVAC and UPS systems. Several wholesale data-center providers also offer build-to-suit services, providing flexibility to enterprises looking for single-tenant datacenter facilities.

A few wholesale datacenter providers also provide the option of sale-leaseback of data-center facilities. A sale-leaseback option typically involves an enterprise selling its datacenter facility to a datacenter provider, while agreeing to continue to lease space in the facility over a long term. The transaction generates cash for the former enterprise owner (now the tenant). and provides the new owner steady rent from the lease.

The best way to think of wholesale datacenters is 'datacenter space for rent,' It is similar to leasing an office or warehouse where the landlord provides facility maintenance services.

Glossary Credit: 451 Research