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February 22, 2024
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Choosing Colocation Instead of Cloud
Why you should consider moving your in-house data center to a colo facility.

By: John Shepler

You’ve run your own in-house data center for years, but business is growing and you’ve hit the limit on what your server room can support. Now you’ve got a choice to make. Lease new space for the additional servers, storage and other appliances you need or consider moving everything to the cloud. It’s a big decision and one that needs careful consideration before funds are committed.

Choose colocation instead of cloud hosting.Isn’t Everyone in the Cloud?
If you read the tech headlines and articles, it looks like everyone is clearing out the old server room and simply leasing cloud services. That does have a lot of attraction. With your data and applications deep within the cloud, you no longer have any capital investment, no power bills, no physical security worries, no HVAC worries, and perhaps less IT support staffing. If you need more bandwidth, server processing or storage, you simply ask the cloud to increase your allowance, perhaps even automaticlly. 

Why Wouldn’t You Join the Stampede to the Cloud? 
Perhaps you’re feeling a little uncomfortable. You’ve heard that joke: “There is no cloud. It’s just somebody else’s computer.” What it really amounts to is somebody else’s thousands of computers, all nicely divvied-up to share among thousands or millions of clients. The promise of the cloud is that it looks to you like you have your own computing resources all by themselves.

Does that sound exciting or does it give you a bit of a twinge? After all, you’re really happy with how responsive your IT staff is and the control you have over all the equipment and software. There are no other companies sharing your facilities. Security involves keeping bad actors out of the building and on the far side of the firewall. So, is your only choice to bite the bullet and lease a new building for expansion?

Consider the Colo Option
Perhaps a third option is best. Lease space in someone else’s specialized building but keep your computing resources to yourself. This is the idea behind Colo or colocation hosting. These facilities were once called carrier hotels when their tenants were primarily telecom carriers. Now colo is popular with businesses of all sizes.

A colocation facility provides the physical building with controlled access and security personnel. It is staffed 24/7, which may even be more than you are able to provide now. Massive redundant power lines feed the facility so there is never a question of having enough amps to power new equipment. Moreover, that power is backed up by emergency generators and often batteries to keep things running no matter what. 

With all that power, you are also going to need to get rid of the heat generated by the electronics. That is handled by redundant HVAC equipment to provide cooling air to the servers and other equipment. Air filters keep the facility dust-free.

What about connectivity? That’s one reason why companies move out of their own facilities and to a colocation center. With so many clients wanting so much bandwidth, major carriers have a presence in the colo. Often you have multiple carriers to choose from and they each have multiple fiber links for dedicated access and Internet service. Not every business is served with high bandwidth fiber yet, but the colocation centers are. They’ll get you as many Gbps as you need along with IP addresses. 

Moving to a Colo Facility
When you move to a colo, you lease racks with power and cooling plus connections for bandwidth. Want more security? You can have those racks installed within a locked cage that keeps everybody but your staff out. Your people can come and install their own equipment, do maintenance, and make upgrades as needed. 

Many colo facilities also offer additional services if you want them. You can have the colo tech staff monitor, troubleshoot and repair your equipment. You can even lease servers and storage from the colo instead of buying them yourself. 

Are you outgrowing your tech facilities but want to explore options other than simply relocating to a cloud? Consider colocation data center facilities as an option that gives you more control but saves money compared to leasing your own dedicated buildings.

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