In today's IT market place, decision makers are often burdened with finding the right hosting mix. The challenge is often determining where the business services would best fit: into Colocation, Managed Hosting, or Cloud? Or is it possible that a Hybrid IT model is most effective? The answers to those questions are not always clear. This blog focuses on Colocation Services; and how to determine when Colocation Services may be the right choice for you. While Cloud Services seem to demand a majority of the market attention, Colocation offers the value of owners economics. Colocation allows for more control and predictable traffic patterns, as it provides monthly OpEx. We aim to provide a comprehensive definition of the Colocation space while focusing on some of the more prominent benefits of Colocation. In addition, this post will distinguish when Colocation may make more sense versus other IT spaces.

What is Colocation?

At its core, Colocation is pretty simple. Retail Colocation providers offer space, physical security, power, and cooling for the server, storage, and networking equipment of other firms. Colocation providers further offer the ability to connect to an ecosystem of cloud, platform, ISV, telecommunications and network service providers - with minimum cost and complexity.

Why Go There?

There are several considerations to be made when determining whether or not Colocation services are right for your business. To begin, review your business model, technologies, and global expansion aspirations. Here's a quick look at some of the benefits of Colocation:

  • Colocation offers a predictable and operational expenditure model.
  • Additional power and network capacity can be added quickly when needed.
  • Colocation providers employ experienced professionals dedicated to managing the day-to-day needs of the facility, ensuring SLAs are met and allowing your IT staff to focus on core business competencies rather than focusing on the infrastructure used to get the work done.
  • Retail Colocation providers offer remote support services which can augment your own IT staff, reducing time and expenses related to traveling to a data center.
  • Many Colocation providers offer an ecosystem of partners that are readably accessible through network connections. Providing the ability to integrate IT strategies across platform providers, ISVs, and vertical specific ecosystems.
  • Several Colocation Providers offer Managed Hosting Services along with Cloud Services, allowing you to diversify your portfolio and emphasizing a more economical mix of Hybrid-IT.
  • Choosing Colocation services results in lower network latency, higher bandwidth at lower cost, and increased capabilities for monitoring.

Colocation provides high reliability and performance, coupled with most Colocation providers having an expansive global presence in most metropolitan cities around the world. This enables businesses to reach their customers with minimal latency, regardless of where those customers are positioned on the globe.

Should I Stay or Should I Go (Colo that is)?

It's not a simple question to answer; but now that we reviewed some of the core benefits Colocation offers, let's take a look at some benefits gained when directly comparing to other IT spaces.

On-premise vs. Colocation

Trying to determine whether to manage your own on-site data center versus consuming services via a Colocation provider requires careful thought. Below are some of the benefits to consider when deciding to outsource your facility needs to a Colocation provider:

  • Expenses. Colocation allows for expenses to be recognized as Operational expenditures rather than Capital expenditures
  • Regional and Global Expansion is made easier with a Colocation provider's data center distribution footprint
  • Improved Security
  • Network SLAs
  • Reduced Bandwidth Costs
  • Carrier & Internet diversity
  • Off-load IT staff responsibilities
  • High Availability and increased disaster recovery offerings
  • Low impact backups
  • 3rd party, industry-recognized certifications (potentially not achieved independently)
  • Easy access management with Eco-system opportunities

Use our ROI calculator to help view the cost difference for your business of owning vs. leasing.

Managed Hosting Vs. Colocation

Many, if not all, of the same benefits are realized regardless of whether you choose Colocation or Managed Hosting once the decision to move off-premise is made. In some cases Colocation is more economical than moving directly into Managed Hosting. For instance:

  • You already own equipment assets that can be deployed inside a Colocation provider's facility
  • You require advanced compute needs and wish to have greater control of equipment purchases and deployments

Hybrid IT

  • Ability to provide end-to-end IT solutions from assessment and planning to delivery and ongoing management and optimization
  • Scalability and expertise at every stage of the outsourcing and application lifecycles
  • Flexibility and agility to move IT workloads to the optimal platform throughout their lifecycles
  • Strong multi-level security technology, policies and procedures
  • Scalability and global reach to accelerate business expansion into new markets

It may make more sense, economically, to deploy your own infrastructure so you can maintain a greater level of control. Cloud Services may be more beneficial if you only use the resources sparingly, however, when utilizing resources on a consistent basis, Colocation may provide greater economical value.

So Really, Why Go There?

All in all, the needs will vary from business to business. Where Colocation services may be of benefit to one customer, they might not serve the same purposes for another. We define Colocation here, along with sharing the high-level benefits Colocation customers see. This is to help guide those that are wondering if Colocation is right for their IT needs-either independently or as part of their Hybrid IT mix.

Still have questions? Here are some resources that you may find helpful on this topic:

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