Last Saturday, I colocated my server. This server has been living under the guest room bed for the past year, being used for everything from test labs to providing NAS backup for my devices. It worked really well, letting me spin up VMs at will without paying Amazon or Microsoft for the privilege. However, we just moved to a new apartment which is smaller and doesn’t have FIOS, and now I have no good place for it.
I thought about selling the server, but that doesn’t make sense as I do need something that acts as a testbed. And so I decided to colocate the server. I’ve did consider getting a dedicated server but those cost a LOT of money for the config I have (96 GB RAM, 8TB HDD, 24 cores) - I’d be paying hundreds of dollars a month for a powerful server.
Never having coloed before, I didn’t quite know what to expect. I didn’t want to ship the server, so it would have to be a local colo provider, and I started searching and calling around. After getting some eye-watering quotes, I finally found a provider that understood my homelab-ish needs and gave me what I consider a quite reasonable deal.
I’m paying under $90 for a single 2U server, 2A of redundant power, 1 Gbps unmetered bandwidth, and a /29. There are a few caveats though - I told the provider that I’m running a homelab with minimal bandiwdth needs, so he agreed to give me a high speed connection with no metering. They’ll monitor the connection for three months and if I go past what they consider reasonable (more than 5 Tb, I think he said), they’ll let me know and we can talk about moving to a different plan. The same goes for power - if my server is routinely pulling down more than 3A, I’ll have to pay more.
This really worked out well for me. I know I’m not ever going to hit those bandwidth or power limits, so I can effectively run this however I want. Having public IPs is really nice too, giving me the ability to run some services on my own hardware rather than pay Digital Ocean - I’m saving $15 a month there, so my colo bill comes down to $75.
I have setup an IPSEC tunnel to the server so it feels just like it’s on the local LAN. Latency is around 30ms, and Remote Desktop and SSH work absolutely smoothly. I really should have coloed years ago. I’m saving $20 a month on power, $15 for my DO server which I no longer need, so for a sumtotal of $55 a month, I get a super high-speed connection to the net, my own cloud, and the ability to run it however I want.