At Global Communication Networks, we have been selling colocation for about 10 years. Our first deployment was a large cage environment in Asia, specifically Tokyo, so when sourcing for Colocation in Tokyo, I would spell the word as Collocation. I continued to use the “double L” for about 6 months until more than one person on the other side of the pond told me that I should spell Collocation with one “L”. I noticed at the time that most of the people in the US used two “L’s” and everyone overseas used the “single L”, or even spelled it as Co-Location. Because I was selling almost all International Colocation at the time, I decided that despite my spell check telling me that “Colocation” should be spelled as “Collocation”, I am going to always use the single L format.
It has been almost ten years since that decision and throughout the years I don’t go a single day without seeing it spelled as either Co-Location, Colocation or Collocation. Being a proud person to sell Colo, I have often told friends and especially my team at GCN that the way we spell it is Colocation, and should never waiver to the other ways that people spell the word.
Last night, I looked up the word in my older edition of Newton’s Telecom Dictionary, and both words are in there with the following definitions:
“Collocation, See Colocation, (which is my preferred way of spelling this term.)” Then Colocation with a very long definition. I guess even the book I’ve used as my telecom bible for many years cannot help in this conundrum. As a result, I decided to send out 25 emails to friends that are in the Colocation business all over the world. Almost all of them immediately responded so I have good information to share on this term.
Stephen Wilcox, Managing Partner of IX Reach, London writes:
“So, how to spell colocation is the same type of question as to whether “Internet” is capitalized and what the definition of a “tier 1 network” is. I’m not sure, and it probably doesn’t matter, but I can tell you what it’s not if that helps. So it’s clearly a derivative of “location”, implying you locate alongside some one else, hence the “co-” prefix. Historically the correct English would have been co-location, like “co-terminus” or “co-worker” but common modern usage in the data center age prefers the simplified version of “colocation.” I’m personally not a fan of unnecessarily hyphenating words so our house style is no hyphen, i.e. “colocation,” but I would be okay with anyone using “co-location” too –although I believe it’s falling out of fashion in much the same way as capitalizing Internet is (although as a pedant, I prefer the capitalized version!). What’s for sure in my opinion though is it’s never been collocation nor coloccation or even colocattion or any other variety where you care to add random letters for no good reason. HTH.”
Amanda Van Riper, Head of Marketing for ColoHouse, writes:
“In my initial research regarding data centers and colocation, I found that “collocation” or co-location” was most often associated with something or someone living/being in two places at once. Which could definitely apply to data center colocation as far as redundancy, multiple data sites, etc. However, I use “colocation” because this spelling (from my findings/opinion) is most often associated specifically with data center colocation.”
Giles Proctor, Vice President, Data Centre Construction & Operations at Pacnet, based in Hong Kong, writes:
“Hi Chris, it is good to see that GCN is not afraid to attack the real industry issues! I am a ‘colocation’ purist. I have never had truck with those who use the hyphen, although I will admit that, in my youth, I flirted with the double-l. ”
Martijn Kooiman, Sales Manager, Telecity Group Amsterdam writes:
“Hi Chris, good idea. At TelecityGroup we refer to it as co-location. Co-location being an area in which multiple customers are located within a single shared environment.”
In 18 hours, I received 23 of 25 responses.
18 people responded that they only spell the term as Colocation.
3 people responded that they spell the term as both Colocation and Co-location.
1 person responded that he spells the term as either Colo, or Collocation.