December 9, 2016 - Alexander Vo
Top 5 Reasons for Colocation
Most companies today are used to having their data centers close to their office. As they grow and begin using the internet more and more, many may realize they need to cut costs just to ensure their data is secured either from a ticking box point of view (industry compliance) or just from a real worry that something could happen to it all. Before you decide if colocation is the right move for you, here are five reasons why you should consider colocating your server equipment.
What do businesses, organizations, and individuals have to gain from colocation? Essentially, if your servers and related IT equipment are located in a data center provided by a third party, you are collocating. Colocation provides an opportunity to store critical equipment in a reliable, scalable, and secure environment. When times of planned or unplanned growth or change happens, it’s generally very difficult to duplicate an ideal IT-friendly environment in a new building or remote office as you would find in a dedicated colocation facility.
Here, at our blog, we try to show our visitors a way to grasp the full picture for what they might be getting into with an off-premise data center service. So without further ado, here are 5 reasons why you should invest in colocation.
1. Scalability and Homogeneity
Scalability being “numero uno” here. Colocation is incrementally scalable; granular at that. It’s a cost-effective model that meets business needs. Incremental scalability doesn’t only mean scaling up but scaling down is equally as important. Having the ability to be able to release capacity when you don’t need it anymore helps to stop excessive IT spending. If you have only built your business so you can only scale it up, then it’s just the same as buying a self-inflating balloon. You keep pumping the volume up and eventually you only end up wasting resources to keep the system taxed. When it comes to infrastructure, being able to scale down on-demand is absolutely critical. Whether through yearly, daily, even hourly cycles, as long as you have a mechanism for increasing and decreasing capacity, you end up better off than most businesses that put all their IT assets in one data center basket.
With the case of homogeneity and you assume that the infrastructure will be homogeneous (each network node having the same capacity, the same memory, the same clock burst speed, the same CPU speed) you are 8 times out of 10, out of luck. The reality is that most data centers are continuously filled with new servers and that every new server that ships in will probably have higher or lower clock speeds of the ones you had before. Do you know the capacity of this new node that you just installed and will you be sure that it can actually handle the appropriate portion of traffic? You can easily end up wasting costly hardware cycles assuming that everything is going to fit perfectly in an ideal agnostic ecosystem.
Tip: Before ordering a server, ask the host who owns and operates their power, network, and cooling infrastructures. You’ll be glad to know if the infrastructure is being taken care of and maintained properly by the very experts you trust. In a power outage situation for example, if your provider isn’t the one operating those conditions, they will have to depend on other companies to fix the problem and that other company? Likely has their own best interests in mind.
2. Sipping The Bandwidth Kool-Aid
When it comes to bandwidth, customers typically pay a rate determined by how much they actually need. Colocation data centers can offer lower bandwidth pricing since they are already purchasing bandwidth in larger quantities in order to service all of their own customers. A built-in redundancy of the power at a colocation facility is also another reason colocation may also make sense for your needs. Providing redundant power supplies and diesel generators that would otherwise be too expensive for many businesses to maintain on-premise.
3. Security and Redundancy
Imagine renting a private security fortress with 24/7 bodyguards, security cameras monitoring every nook and cranny, biometric fingerprint keypads, and most importantly a vault that can provide all the cooling, power, and bandwidth capacity you could ever want or need for all your IT equipment in a convenient location designed to combat power outages and extreme weather conditions. The current gold standard for operating a data center equipped with the highest performing hardware in a secured physical environment includes:
- Redundant fiber optics networks.
- Natural gas backup generators.
- UPS generated power redundant cooling and humidity controls.
- 24/7 surveillance.
- Along with key card and biometric fingerprint access.
Data centers also supply power, but not just any kind of power. Instead, it supplies redundant power with uninterruptible power supplies, backup generators, and so forth. Hosting a data center is a 24/7 job so keeping those servers and networking devices online at all times is an absolute must when it comes to a client’s business applications and critical software appliances.
4. Growth Strategy
The most effective IT teams spend about two-thirds of their time on strategic goals and one-third managing IT infrastructure. For many IT teams, it’s the exact opposite that’s true. Typically, most companies instead spend the majority of their time focused on the routine infrastructure maintenance (system updates, server configurations, database administration, etc.) and more specifically, trying to avoid downtime. This is a concept that many CIOs understand well and are continually looking to find improvements in.
While businesses are experiencing a substantial increase in data and infrastructure needs, they often lack the necessary tools and in-house expertise to capitalize on the newest technology. Some organizations are thus forced at a crossroads where one path leads to a huge increase in capital expenditures or a second path that partners with a hosting provider to manage core IT infrastructure. Colocation affords them the opportunity to finally focus on strategic initiatives instead of worrying about infrastructure maintenance. This also allows them to move their IT organization from a capital expenditure model to an operational expenditure model and help them drive the growth of their business.
5. The Strict Adjudicator (also known as Compliance)
The increase in regulatory compliance is a major driving force across many industries today. In fact, the vast majority of businesses have either direct compliance requirements or some form of trickle-down compliance requirements consisting of audits and certifications. A majority of colocation equipment helps meet a wide variety of compliance requirements such as HIPAA, FDA, NIST, SOX, ISO, FISMA, and much more. Data centers should also be SSAE16 certified and tested thoroughly with adequate penetration testing. Another benefit to colocation is that these factors are common features that usually come at no additional cost. It’s just there.
Baby Steps Towards The Cloud
It’s not about the cost of colocation, but the value of it. As much as statistics show that we’ll all eventually adopt the cloud for every facet of business use, there’s still a roadmap to take before going fully cloud-hosted. Quite often, businesses will have spent thousands of enormous capital on investments on off-site cloud hosting. Cost-savings and reliability will still be driving forces in business continuity so getting the best services and best business continuity at the best price will always be top-of-mind. A colocated environment could be the best place to start because everything is regulated properly and the resources are built specifically for managing IT infrastructure.