Colocation: Still Relevant. Still Beneficial.

August 16, 2017

Without a doubt, change is rapid when it comes to your business's IT needs. Can colocation still meet those needs today?

New products and services are rolling out constantly, particularly those that are cloud-based. There's the evolution of the data center and mission-critical applications, such as disaster-recovery-as-a-service. Over 2,000 new mobile apps are added every day. The Internet of Things (IoT) and connected devices are becoming ubiquitous. With all this, data growth is increasing at unprecedented rates.

Where will all the data go? Is colocation an option?

Advantages of Colocation

One of the biggest benefits of colocation is trading out capital expenses for operating expenses. This is a great enough reason why one should integrate it into your overall IT strategy — even as the IT space undergoes drastic change. Colocation provides a predictable op-ex model that doesn’t require you to keep up with the escalating capital expenses of building, securing, and maintaining your own data center.

Outsourcing selected workloads to a colocation facility can help you become comfortable in letting go of some of the day-to-day control of your IT assets.  You maintain ownership of them but don’t have to invest in the facilities and manpower to keep them in-house. Depending on the colocation provider, you may also have the option of maintaining your own equipment or leaving it to the provider.

Colocation facilities also typically offer multiple high-quality networking options, so you have the flexibility to choose the ideal solution for your needs in a carrier-neutral setting.  In addition, many offer multiple layers of security that are hard to come by in private data centers. You’ll find colocation facilities often provide access to a more robust power-per-square foot ratio than is commonly available in on-premise data centers. This allows you to better leverage innovations in virtualization and high-density computing.  

Plus, some colocation providers also offer cloud services, making it easier to transition from one environment to another without changing providers. And, if the cloud is your ultimate destination, there’s still an important place for colocation in your IT strategy. After all, colocation offers a solution for accommodating existing hardware, which you may need to keep for hosting legacy images or applications that can’t move to the cloud, or simply because of the investment already made in them.

Colocation and Hybrid IT

Your goal shouldn’t be to move everything into the cloud anyway. It should be to optimize your IT assets. A hybrid IT strategy, which encompasses any combination of on-premise, colocation, private cloud and public cloud, may be the optimal solution. To implement a hybrid IT strategy, you’ll need to determine the best environment for each of your workloads. The blog, “The Workload Factor of Hybrid IT,” shares a checklist of questions to ask when assessing your current workload requirements.

Based on your answers to those questions, colocation may be the appropriate environment for certain workloads. There could also be regulatory requirements that make colocation a better option than the cloud — at least for now as regulatory bodies become more familiar with the security the cloud can provide. 

The Provider Makes a Difference

One of the issues with a hybrid IT strategy is that it requires advanced networking capabilities to move data between internal and external resources. Colocation providers that also offer cloud services typically have those capabilities in place. Because they enable you to put your non-cloud infrastructure in the same facility as your cloud systems, you take advantage of fast, reliable data movement between the two environments.

Access to their operator and interconnect networks makes it easier and more cost efficient to quickly move data over large geographical areas and between these assets. These private interconnects and specialized network systems get data to corporate WAN and LAN systems, adding a layer of security in how information is delivered.

Keep Colocation in the Mix

Despite the massive growth of data and all the changes taking place in the IT space, colocation is more relevant than ever. It offers many of the same benefits as the cloud and provides an easy way to connect to it, all while helping you meet changing business needs without throwing away your investment in existing IT assets.

To learn how to integrate colocation into your IT strategy, talk to US Signal. Our solution architects will be happy to review your existing IT service portfolio and make recommendations for helping your optimize your assets—including colocation. Call 866.2. SIGNAL or email [email protected]