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Five benefits of colocation: Why it should be part of your hybrid cloud strategy

(Image credit: Image Credit: Scanrail1 / Shutterstock)

In a bid to remain competitive, reliance on new on-demand technology services continues to increase, whilst the cost of deploying and operating them skyrockets. In order to manage complex deployments and ensure reliability and uptime, businesses need access to information and data constantly. But running an in-house data centre is challenging; building the infrastructure, purchasing the hardware, securing and maintaining the facility and troubleshooting any issues can all be a drain on time, energy, resources and capital. It can also leave an organisation responsible for developing all future technologies to support transitioning solutions to take advantage of current and future cost savings.

As businesses ramp up their investments in cloud computing solutions, it’s important for IT teams to consider which cloud configuration will best serve their company’s needs. There is no doubt that on-premises private cloud offers unparalleled control within the confines of an organisation. However, public cloud infrastructure gives companies access to scalable storage and compute resources, helping them to manage and reduce IT spending.

While many business look to the cloud to solve cost issues, it’s simply not an option for certain workloads and data. This is driving the increase in colocation adoptions. This web hosting solution enables businesses to maintain their own hardware, but cut back on the costs associated with on-premise datacentres including utility bills and physical space.

Most companies that require colocation, either in a DIY or outsourced model, will require some type of hybrid solution that includes data security, hyperscale connectivity, cloud (private and public), storage, and disaster recovery planning and execution.

The benefits of the cloud and on-premise hosting have become clear over the past decade, and business leaders are more aware of the challenges associated with both which is leading to increased adoption of hybrid approaches, including outsourced colocation. This approach allows companies to access expertise and services in the most cost-effective manner and leverages the knowledge and support of a colocation provider. It also enables organisations to focus on their core business operations while being confident that new technologies can be quickly implemented as they become available.

To better understand why colocation as part of a hybrid-cloud strategy is a better alternative to developing and delivering new technologies and services, let’s look at five key benefits:

1. Bringing focus

For most businesses, managing an on-premise data centre is not a key component to success. As a cost centre, incorporating new technologies and business continuity is a necessary evil required to deliver core services or applications.

Colocation can reduce the overall total cost of ownership (TCO) for an environment through a provider's scale where services are developed to be consumed in increments aligned to a business strategy. Technology and service advancements can also be incorporated into a business's solution quickly and cost effectively. Examples include; business continuity and disaster recovery, colocation, data and physical security, hyperscale connectivity, cloud, storage and other technology expertise.

Working with a provider allows for an organisation to adopt an overall solution, not point solutions that need to be integrated and self-maintained, freeing up time for the IT team to focus on more innovative projects.

2. Lowering TCO

Data centres are expensive to operate and manage. New technologies have a large "up front" commitment in both human and cash capital. A DIY approach to deploying new technologies often has long evaluation, design and implementation runways which hinder an organisation’s ability to keep up and get ahead of competitors.

Costs include the upfront spend on physical infrastructure, and the ongoing cost of full-time employees managing the facility and troubleshooting. There are also energy costs and network connectivity to consider alongside rent, taxes and other expenses that an organisation may be responsible for.

With colocation, capital expenses are turned into operating expenses. By renting the space in a third-party data centre, the building, infrastructure and maintenance is handed to a provider for a predictable – and lower – monthly cost. Best of all, organisations can take advantage of economies of scale to lower costs while delivering more value.

3. Providing a path to growth

Capacity is a legitimate concern for those focused on TCO. Often, homegrown data centres and services must be oversized initially to plan for future growth. Environments typically have a lifecycle of having too much capacity to begin with and then eventually run out of capacity as business grows. Typically, an organisation can pay a massive upfront human and capital expense for assumed future requirements, which are unlikely to be fully utilised for quite some time.

With a colocation provider, an organisation purchases and implements what best suits its current business requirements with the ability to quickly expand as those requirements change and evolve.

4. Ensuring service levels are contractually aligned

Outsourcing makes sense for mission-critical production applications. Service levels can be customised to meet product application needs. Uptime requirements as well as business continuity requirements are backed by service provider contracts. In many cases, service levels are developed for solutions, not the individual components.

This would look at a broad range of factors that impact availability beyond the regularly primary goal of power.  Ultimately, tailoring a contract to meet the individual needs of a client guarantees better levels of availability and uptime for the most important applications.

5. Enhancing business continuity

Making colocation a part of your hybrid strategy can greatly improve disaster recovery capabilities. Whether it is leveraging a geographically diverse colocation facility or incorporating advanced recovery solutions, working with an experienced provider can ensure organisations get the solutions to properly protect business-critical applications, while offering scalability to reduce TCO.

Entering into a relationship with a colocation provider is a big step for any business, but it does present enormous opportunities. By partnering with an outsourced data centre provider, organisations will be provided with services that meet both their immediate needs and future plans, supporting the organisation as it continues to grow.

Chris Huggett, Senior Vice President, EMEA & India, Sungard AS

Chris has 20 years of leadership experience, having worked with leading technology firms including HP, Vodafone and Dell. He leads the European team covering UK, Ireland, France, Belgium, Luxembourg and Poland.