Over the course of the past few years I have had an increasing number of discussions with customers and prospects, who already have hosting infrastructure but are considering moving to a real IaaS solution based on a monthly subscription fee. In most cases these customers, who are often in the SaaS industry or offer professional IT services, are interested in moving from on premise or colocation to cloud (virtualized cloud solutions), usually a private cloud due to legal, security, or performance restrictions. The intention of this change is to reduce costs and free up time to focus on their core business.
Customers looking to make the move to the cloud usually either still have racks in the basement of their office, or infrastructure hosted in a data center where the customer rents one or more colocation racks. In both cases, it is possible to make a solid business case for the shift, even it means that the infrastructure needs to be moved from the office to a data center, or from one data center to another that offers hosted services.
To make a strategic move from colocation to cloud, it’s important to have a solid business case. What always surprises me is that the first version of the business case, often only accounts for the CAPEX of the hardware, the cost for rack space, and the cost for internet traffic. As I have learned from working with hundreds of companies, this isn’t enough. To draw up a fully developed business case you need to consider the following points:
Customers who are looking for a hosting solution, particularly those who currently have an on premise hosted IT environment and are considering colocation, often face a range of questions with regard to their infrastructure choices. We’ve put together a list of some of the common issues companies face when deciding between colocation and on premise hosting to help make it easier to choose between the two solutions.
In many cases, colocation offers several advantages in terms of IT management and business continuity. A hosted solution provides the benefit of the experience, knowledge and resources of the hosting provider. Additionally, the costs of running a datacenter on premises are usually high, and often will not show a return on investment unless a company can reach the necessary scale. Because of these factors, colocation is often an attractive option for many businesses.
Let’s look at some of the advantages of colocation in more detail:
In a hosted environment, the hosting provider takes the necessary precautions to ensure your data is available at all times. There are emergency services available in case of a power outage, such as power supplies, batteries, and generators (plus fuel, a supplier contract for fuel, and an SLA for refuelling). Fall-back scenarios are tested regularly to make sure these measures do not fail at crucial moments.
Hosting providers also have additional arrangements in place with an energy supplier for redundant energy connections that enter the building at different locations. Redundant Internet connections (that also enter the premise at different locations) and an agreement with the local authorities for possible excavation work (that could damage cables) are also standard.