Today doing more with less isn’t enough. Companies are looking to do more even more, with even less. That’s primarily why more businesses are turning to colocation and cloud colocation services. Datacenter colocation and cloud services can help to cut costs, gain efficiencies, and deliver on-demand services, which can give businesses a distinct advantage. While both concepts are similar – including hiring specialists for outsourced data management solutions – they also have different characteristics. Let’s take a look at both to understand critical differences and use cases.
What is colocation and why to use it
In a traditional colocation scenario, organizations own, use, and maintain their own equipment, including servers and other hardware, but they share the cost of power, cooling, storage, bandwidth, and data center floor space with other companies or tenants of the hosting provider. Colocation lets businesses outsource storage and maintenance of physical hardware and servers while retaining ownership of the equipment.
One significant advantage of colocation is that it offers companies complete control over their equipment, which is important for many industries under scrutiny to satisfy regulatory requirements like HIPPA, PCI and more. In these cases, colocation providers provide physical and virtual security measures to secure data and maintain compliance. Security measures might include 24x7x365 security, perimeter fencing, biometrics, and keycard scanners as well as firewall protection to prevent network threats and unauthorized access to sensitive data. Primary uses for colocation services include addressing the limitations of existing data center facilities in cases where organizations are running out of space, power, or cooling capacity.
Colocation is also useful when managing an in-house data center becomes too labor-intensive, or costly. Other customers rely on colocation facilities to augment existing data center space or they rely on colocation data centers as a secondary backup site for disaster recovery purposes. Things to keep in mind:
- Colocation requires organizations to purchase, manage, and maintain their own equipment, including servers, storage, switches, and software.
- Internal IT teams are generally responsible for monitoring, maintaining, and managing the equipment and performing backups to meet business continuity needs and compliance requirements.
- Colocation is often used as a failover site for disaster recovery.
Cloud hosting delivered ‘as-a-service’
When it comes to the cloud, it means virtualization of IT resources using a public cloud or a private cloud which includes containers. A hybrid cloud environment is using some combination of both public and private clouds. A cloud model enables on-demand network access to a shared pool of configurable computing resources, which might include networks, servers, storage, applications, and services. These services can be quickly provisioned and available to meet business requirements. In a cloud hosting scenario, providers administer off-site, cloud-based software, storage, and infrastructure for businesses. Instead of the company’s owning, using, and managing hardware and equipment, like in a colocation model, cloud colocation providers own the equipment and provide system security, maintenance, and upgrades. Most public cloud providers like AWS or Google deliver services, but they don’t necessarily manage workloads or the interface with existing IT functions. With managed cloud services, cloud providers deliver the systems and equipment ‘as a service’. Managed cloud offers the benefits of cloud-like greater agility, scalability, and lower costs with full-service operations management of the workloads hosted by the provider. Cloud hosting is an excellent option for businesses that don’t have IT specialists, to set up a data management infrastructure, or don’t want to maintain or invest in one.
- Managed services mean that a cloud service provider manages the customer’s full hardware infrastructure, including servers, storage and network elements which are delivered as-a-service.
- Companies eliminate capital expenditures and also have help with maintenance, troubleshooting, and problem resolution.
- Cloud services let businesses outsource infrastructure management responsibilities to cloud providers so internal IT teams can focus on strategic activities.
Making a plan
While colocation and cloud services each offer a unique set of benefits, businesses need to understand their current and future goals before committing to either option. An organization’s data management and infrastructure needs can help determine which solution is best suited for the business.