Retail vs Wholesale Colocation: Is there a Difference?

Retail vs Wholesale Colocation: Is there a Difference?


The difference between a retail and wholesale colocation depends on the person you are talking or the company you are looking at. Different colocation providers and professionals in the data centre arena have different views and thresholds. In this quick read you can get an idea about the different thresholds and the services options that come with either retail or wholesale. 

Before we get into the details let’s quickly look into what colocation is in the first place.

What is Colocation?

This concept is sometimes referred to as co-location, collocation or even collocated. In its basic form a colocation is a data centre that is used by multiple tenants, so it is essentially sub-leased of IT infrastructure. IT infrastructure can be storage devices, virtual or physical servers, routers and network switches or any other type of hardware and equipment.

Colocation providers are organizations that lease their data centres as colocation spaces for other enterprise organizations, businesses, government agencies etc. This is perfect for customers who do not want to invest heavily in a data centre because they get a turnkey data centre with everything included. While different providers have different hosting solutions the basic colocation solution comes down to three main features:Space, power and connectivity.

What is Retail Colocation?

Retail colocation is mainly for SMEs or start-ups because they don’t have massive operations like government agencies or large enterprises.


Retail colocation is generally described as anything under 10 racks or cabinets. Now this number can change according to different service providers. The 10 racks can be set side by side or even dispersed throughout the data centre. These racks can be connected by using cross-connects.


Usable power requirements or the power usage is another important threshold when defining retail and wholesale colocation. Usually providers will use rack power densities, usable power and power circuits as a reference to price different solutions. Usually a retail colocation centre will include less than 100kW.


Even though this is an important element when it comes to colocation it doesn’t matter that much when it comes to comparing retails and wholesale.

What is a wholesale colocation?

The first difference between retail and wholesale is that wholesale is geared towards service providers, government agencies and large enterprises.


Naturally a wholesale customer will require much more space. They will require more than just racks. Usually wholesale clients opt for private cages, private suits or even custom build a solution for them where construction of a new building might even be required.


The other main element that goes into running wholesale cloud data centres is the power requirements. Most wholesale clients will look for power usage of over 500kW, but this number can largely vary depending on the client.


While space and power are the two most important factors, connectivity can be either provided by the provider or a telecom carrier of the client’s choosing. It doesn’t affect the price that much.

This is just a very basic definition and differentiation of retail and wholesale colocation. The thresholds can vary depending on the provider so contact a professional to help you decide whether retail or wholesale is the perfect fit for you.

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