colo center vs cloud

Moving to Colocation

The daily maintenance of running a data center can become overwhelming. As data centers age, the physical infrastructure can become obsolete for housing the server rooms. Eventually data centers can run out of floor space, or have insufficient cooling needed for increased capacity IT equipment. Instead of building a second data center, one solution may be to begin moving to a colocation.  IT Leaders may move to colocation when a data center’s physical infrastructure becomes obsolete.

The question arises, which is the better option: moving data to a colocation, or moving data to the cloud?

The choice is based on the needs of the individual, but there are many reasons why moving a data center to a colocation is a much better option.

The Cloud is Often Misunderstood

When people conceptualize the cloud in their head, the image that they picture is not congruent with the cloud in reality. A cloud user uploads data and might not grasp where that data is stored. The cloud is actually stored in a data center. The difference is that as a cloud user, you are buying space in the cloud service provider’s data center to use their servers.

Cloud data is also fluid data in that the cloud service provider can house the data in any of their data centers around the world. Essentially a cloud user has purchased space within the cloud, but is not guaranteed a specific location—and thus the data moves to where storage is available within the cloud owned data centers.

The cloud provider has to maintain that data center daily, which is seemingly a benefit for a potential cloud user. However, a cloud user is also at the mercy of the cloud service provider to maintain the servers and the physical infrastructure for uptime. In addition, the cloud provider also is the provider of data security.

Moving to a Colocation Protects Capital Investments

Moving to a colocation protects a data center’s initial investment capital. By moving to the cloud, a data center forsakes its initial capital investment in servers, server equipment and network connections, leaving them stranded and unused. Conversely, by moving viable equipment to a colocation with more contemporary physical infrastructure, a data center manager is able to retain that invested capital and maintain personal ownership of the data. Data can be fully accessible within the colocation as opposed to having it flow between the data centers of a cloud provider.

Moving to a Colocation: Aging Building Infrastructure

By moving servers into a colocation, a data center can maintain its data tangibly, but gain the amenities that a more modernly built data center can offer. Housing a server room within a colocation allows access to better cooling and better network bandwidth. In addition to physical amenities, powering and cooling costs are shared among the tenants within the colocation, which will cost less than maintaining the same utilities in an autonomously owned data center, and are competitive with the costs of cloud storageUsing a colocation may be a better option even if new server equipment has to be purchased to gain access to a better physical infrastructure with shared maintenance costs.

Moving to a Colocation Allows More Control Over Security

Cloud service providers protect data by encrypting it and requiring authentication to access information. With cloud services, the data may move within many different data centers, all with differing physical security measures. These same security provisions can be taken with data in a colocation, but the individual can use firewalls and additional physical security measures on the cages and suite doors to further protect data.

Using a Colocation as a Secondary Location

Even if a current data center is fully modern in its IT equipment and infrastructure, there are reasons for using a colocation as a secondary location. When floor space becomes scarce in an existing data center, one benefit is using a colocation to supplement floor space to house additional data. Another practical use is providing geographic redundancy for data in a secondary location. By using a colocation, the data is still tangible to the owner, and protected in the event of losing uptime.

Essentially, when considering all of the benefits, using a colocation offers autonomous data center access to data, and server equipment. A colocation can provide more personalized security, and the retention of initial investments. Using a colocation alleviates the maintenance of cooling, powering, and maintaining the physical infrastructure of an individually owned data center while allowing for personal data control.