Chicago colocation seems simple. Power. Space. Cooling. Connectivity. Support. You pay for each one based on your needs, and in turn, Chicago colocation providers deliver everything you need to run your critical IT infrastructure. When you start to dig into the each of these core Chicago colocation services, however, complexity and confusion arise — and what you don’t know will cost you.

Approach Chicago colocation and data centers as a savvy shopper. With an eye on the right questions to ask — and the hidden fees to watch out for, you can find a partner that’s affordable, and that powers your business better than any other.


 

What’s included in Chicago colocation pricing — and why it might seem high

Chicago colocation sites have access to some of highest quality connections in the country, and they can charge a premium to access them. There’s a lot of reasons why top-quality colocation hosting is in Chicago. One is that much of the country’s fiber cable is laid along railroad tracks, meaning many of the lines that connect our country pass through the city. That hub identity has led to the colocation services market size in Chicago to grow enormously, as everyone seeks to take advantage of that access. All of those services end up being easily available to the companies with a Chicago colocation center, who can get whatever they need, usually at a better price.

Then there are the benefits that have everything to do with luck — Chicago is in between the two coasts, allowing it to reach both in just tens of milliseconds. And while the weather might not seem postcard-perfect in February, the low risk of flooding, hurricanes, tornadoes and earthquakes offer a well-founded confidence in Chicago data centers’ ability to keep servers running.

We’ve written before about what these advantages mean for Chicago colocation providers , but it’s worth noting that all of these benefits are tied up in Chicago colocation costs. Then there are the hidden fees, the ones that offer you nothing in return.

Digging into colocation prices in Chicago — an example of the hidden fees

Here’s a pretty standard colocation services pricing configuration that’s being heavily promoted in the Chicagoland market today:

Colocation Hosting Prices in Chicago — Base Configuration
208V / 30A Primary and Redundant Power Cabinet
Colocation Components Market Avg. Price
(1) Cabinet with 48U of Rack Space
4.99kW of 208V/30A Primary and Redundant Power
25 Mbps Internet Bandwidth
(1) Infrastructure Cross-Connect
$1,300 / Month

This looks like a really good deal — the cheapest colocation in Chicago — just $1,300 a month for a 4.99kW cabinet, bandwidth and a cross connect. It looks even better when you compare it to our pricing at ServerCentral: $1,750 per month for a 4.99kW cabinet, bandwidth and cross connects. In fact, it looks like ServerCentral is 35.6 percent more than all the cheap colocation in Chicago.

These providers are using colocation pricing models that hide the true cost of doing business in their facility.

A colocation pricing comparison that shows how quickly hidden fees add up

To show how these hidden costs play out, let’s take a deeper look at this pricing for these “average” colocation services in Chicago, and extend them out to to represent a configuration that will truly meet the needs of a Chicago business that’s servicing customers throughout the Great Lakes and across the United States.

Colocation Hosting Prices in Chicago — Production Configuration
2x 208V / 30A Primary and Redundant Power Cabinets
Colocation Components ServerCentral Chicago Market Avg.
2 x 4.99 kW 48U Cabinets $3,500 $2,600
100 Mbps Premium Internet Bandwidth $0.00 $700
3 x Infrastructure Cross-Connects $0.00 $750
2 x Carrier Cross-Connects $400 $500
4 x Switched PDUs $0 $200
1 Hour Remote Hands $0 $250
Total / Month $3,900 $4,800

As you can see, when a company’s colocation requirements are met, the real colocation pricing creeps out — with a big shock to those who bought based on a base price.

This is why it’s worth pushing to get a full colocation price list. Once you account for the costs of premium bandwidth, infrastructure cross-connects, carrier cross-connects, switched PDUs and remote hands to keep things running, the so-called cheap Chicago colocation is actually $900, or 23 percent, more expensive than ServerCentral. And, not to toot our own horn too much, but we’re guessing that cost doesn’t include investment protection that lets you shift your colocation spend to the cloud when your business needs change.

When it comes to Chicago colocation hosting, don’t rely on the sticker price

These aren’t just casual omissions. Unscrupulous Chicago colocation sites and facilities purposefully keep the costs of seemingly little things like PDUs, carrier cross-connects, additional infrastructure cross-connects and remote hands hidden, because they’re a profit-making machine once someone is already locked into your colocation.

If you take the time to understand all the elements involved in your colocation hosting — and what they cost — you can avoid this trap. Trustworthy colocation hosting providers will sit down with you before you ever sign a contract to figure out exactly what you need and to quote you for those services, not a configuration that won’t meet your business and technology needs.

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