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Colocation and Cloud Data Center Solutions are Not Mutually Exclusive

Cloud and Data Center Technology Combined

When it comes to data centers, colocation and cloud solutions are not mutually exclusive, and many organizations mix the two into their IT game plans as they migrate away from on-premises infrastructure. 

“Colocation and cloud are not mutually exclusive for businesses. Many companies use both or a combination of one with the other IT infrastructure solutions,” says Interxion. “A mix of colocation and cloud can be very beneficial for balancing requirements including, security, flexible compute resource levels and legacy applications.”

Some companies may opt to pick and choose various tasks to be hosted by cloud platforms or colocation facilities.

“An organization may host most of its daily processing systems on a public cloud server but host its mission-critical databases on its own server. Deploying that server on-site would be expensive and insecure, so the company will look for a colocation facility that can house and maintain its most crucial equipment,” says phoenixNAP.

The choice between colocation, cloud, or a hybrid solution must be weighed carefully by each organization as there is rarely a one-size-fits-all solution.

“Merely migrating everything to a colocation facility or a cloud service provider often means missing out on critical opportunities to implement synergistic solutions,” says phoenixNAP.

The Differences Between Colocation and Cloud

Cloud and colocation data center solutions, or a hybrid combination of both, are popular choices for businesses to keep up with the data storage and management demands.

“The main difference between cloud and colocation is how data is managed and stored. In the cloud, servers are owned by the cloud provider and data is managed virtually. In colocation, servers are not owned by the colocation facility, but instead by the business that is leasing the space,” explains Interxion.

Even though both colocation and cloud solutions allow businesses to run workloads in a remote data center there are major differences.

TechTarget explains it this way:

  • Colocation Centers: Provide businesses with physical data center space. These facilities provide power, cooling, and network connectivity, but it's up to the tenants to provide their own hardware such as servers, storage, and supporting infrastructure.

  • Cloud Providers: Use their own hardware. Tenants run workloads on the cloud provider's hardware, which is in a cloud data center. The cloud provider then bills the tenant for computing, storage, network, and other resources that their workloads have consumed.

“Public clouds are the preferred option for organizations that want consumption-based pricing and that would prefer not to have to purchase or maintain server hardware. Colocation facilities are geared toward organizations that want to run workloads on their own hardware but in a remote data center,” says TechTarget.

The Similarities Between Colocation and Cloud

There are many similarities between colocation and cloud data center solutions including shared resources such as:

  • Cooling systems and redundancies
  • Power systems and redundancies
  • Security systems

“Cloud and Colocation both offer cost savings to businesses (compared to owned on-premises data centers) with cloud providers offering shared public resources virtually. Colocation is shared space within a data center, but the resources within racks and cages are not shared, they are dedicated to the business that owns them,” says Interxion.

More About Cloud Computing Data Centers

Much of the work and play we do in today’s digital-first world is “in the cloud” and made possible by cloud platform providers.

In cloud data center solutions, businesses pay for the use of servers, storage, and networks set up and managed by cloud platform providers. Access is self-service via the internet.

“Cloud computing has a lower entry cost for businesses looking to expand their IT resources beyond servers in their own office. The self-service model allows for flexibility to scale up or down compute resources used depending on the business needs,” says Interxion.

For some, taking advantage of the cloud is a “no-brainer”.

“It offers enhanced security and stability, helps cut costs, and gives companies greater flexibility. The latter comes in handy when you need to navigate the ever-changing terrain of doing business – which most companies appreciate,” says the Web Tribunal.

The cloud’s popularity is evident in these statistics compiled by the Web Tribunal:

  • 94 percent of enterprises already use a cloud service.
  • An estimated 83 percent of enterprise workloads are in the cloud.
  • The public cloud service market is expected to reach $623.3 billion by 2023 worldwide.
  • 30 percent of all IT budgets are allocated to cloud computing.
  • The average organization leverages nearly five different cloud platforms.
  • 66 percent of enterprises already have a central cloud team or cloud center of excellence.
  • 50 percent of enterprises spend more than $1.2 million annually on cloud services.
  • By 2025, cloud data center storage is expected to exceed 100 Zettabytes.

More About Colocation Data Centers

In colocation data centers (often shortened to colo) a business can rent space for servers and other computing hardware.

“Typically, a colo provides the building, cooling, power, bandwidth, and physical security, while the customer provides servers and storage. Space in the facility is often leased by the rack, cabinet, cage, or room. Many colos have extended their offerings to include managed services that support their customers' business initiatives,” says TechTarget.

TechTarget says some of the features typically provided by a colocation provider include:

  • Compliance with various regulations
  • Cross connectivity
  • Guaranteed reliability
  • Physical durability
  • Physical security
  • On-site technical support
  • Redundant internet connectivity
  • Redundant power

Businesses can take advantage of colocation services including:

  • Leasing space in a colocation facility is less expensive than building or expanding an on-premises data center.
  • Unlike the cloud, you can choose your own server and storage hardware.
  • Growth can be accommodated by expanding the data center space used at the colocation facility.
  • Protection against cybercriminal attacks due to enhanced colocation facility security measures.
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