The discussion about IT infrastructure is very often dominated by in-house support or cloud computing. But just like the companies they support, IT Infrastructure set-ups vary drastically in a countless number of ways. These differences make it difficult for all IT decision makers to have a black or white decision making process when it comes to choosing how to best support their technologies.
However, there is one neutralizing factor that applies to businesses of every size and industry: the technology world is changing FAST. The Internet of things alone has unprecedented abilities increase your traffic growth and blow well past your networks native performance capabilities.
So, how should you handle this growth? Many organizations are already turning to a number of solutions that involve outside maintenance of infrastructure. In fact, one study by Savvis that InformationWeek reported on stated that the typical enterprise will outsource nearly 70% of its infrastructure by 2018. However, a number of sources have recently stated that colocation is the best way to increase your reliability and resources without having to drastically overhaul your in-house data center or server room.
Given the massive investment required to create and maintain a traditional data center, fewer and fewer organizations are deciding to go about it on their own. Still, the decision becomes whether or not to look for a colocation partner, or consider full cloud computing alternatives and rid yourself of the hardware concerns altogether.
Quick Background – What is Colocation?
According to Techopedia, the definition of colocation is:
“A Colocation facility is a physical data center hosting facility that allows customers to deploy their own servers, networks, and storage hardware powered by Internet bandwidth, electricity, backup power, and other services generally required in a data center.”
What does this mean in laymen terms?
This means that you provide the equipment that houses all of your data, and your colocation provider provides the data center, power, security, and reliability needed to keep your equipment running.
How to Decide if Colocation is the Right Choice for You
Regardless of whether you decide to take the colocation approach to infrastructure hosting, migrate your systems to the cloud, or continue to maintain your systems in house, it is absolutely essential to do your homework.
Traditionally these are done with a buy vs. build analysis. Look at the numbers of what all it would take in both capital expenditures and operating expenditures to build out another data center. Then decide if it would be worth making that commitment.
Admittedly, this is often a decision that is best done by a third party who is neutral to your decision and has the technical understanding to make a qualified recommendation.
Signs that Colocation is Right for You and Your Business
You Already Own the Hardware that You Wish to Continue Using
Do you already own all the hardware that is supporting your network? Like the old saying goes “why fix what isn’t broken.” If your current set-up is working fine, there is really no need to migrate to new hardware. But placing these resources in a colocation facility can often be more economical than paying to support the power and cooling needs of a in-house server room.
Your Offices or Employees are Located in Multiple Locations
Maintaining quality Internet speed and reliability is easy when all your employees are in one location. However, maintaining speed across multiple offices or cities is a much different ball game. This can pose serious problems to companies who need to expedite files or information between multiple locations. A great example of this would be an organization that supports field workers who are entering in various data points while they are in the field. Maintaining speed across large distances requires moving the data through the most geographically efficient operator networks, which would not be available to a sole-network supported in-house solution. Outsourcing your infrastructure to a colocation provider will give you access to increased speeds at a fraction of what it would cost to do so in-house.
Your Company is too Small to Justify the Cost of an in-house Data Center
Having the expertise to maintain all the technical components of a data center is expensive enough. But adding on the cost of operating those servers can be way too much for a small business to effectively work it into their budget. This is something that a very large percentage of companies are considering, as one report stated that “data center total cost of ownership” returns more than 11.5 million results when entered into Google’s search engine. Outsourcing your servers can get you the expertise you need to support your systems without having to pay the cost of an in-house technician. Not only that, when you place your servers in a data center that is already established, you are splitting the utilities with all the other companies utilizing that space. Often times this leads to a much lower cost of ownership than would be experienced otherwise.
Your Disaster Recovery Plan is more Hypothetical than something than could actually be Executed
Disaster recovery is essential in today’s society. As we all know, technical malfunctions are anything but 100% preventable. All that can reasonably be done is proactively maintain technical assets, and to be prepared when something does go wrong. Data centers have multiple levels of redundancies already built in to the building. From multiple power contracts to cabling, professional data centers have every reasonable precaution in place to make sure that your systems will remain available.
You Don’t have the Security Professionals or Protocols in place to Protect your Systems 24/7
The modern business never sleeps. While you need to be able to access your content and information around the clock, this availability means that your systems are able to be hacked around the clock as well. If your organization is too small to be able to justify the cost of 24/7 security and protection of your servers, colocation is a great alternative. Data centers have multiple security standards in place already, including two-factor or biometric identification, access logs, strict facility access, background checks on all who enter the building, video surveillance throughout the facility, and many other considerations. This level of security would not be affordable to a smaller organization that only maintains a handful of servers.
You are Facing Various Limitations within Your Current Data Center
Whether you are talking about space, power, or cooling capacity, many organizations are finding that colocation is a much more affordable way to increase the scalability of their datacenter. Reports about how much it takes to build a data center vary widely, though certainly no argument can be made that it is a cheap venture. One report written by Forrester estimates that a conservative data center would cost roughly $200/ Square foot to build. And, in our experience, that is an extremely conservative estimate. Not to mention that if you need to have fiber installed to support your data center, it costs roughly $10,000 per mile to just get it to the building. If you are looking to make any of these upgrades because you are running out of space in your current location, you are about to drop some major dough. Colocation offers an alternative to this through allowing you to rent the space you need, and increase when you need to.
Are you interested in learning more about our colocation services? Contact Orion today for more information.