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.
2. Business continuity
In a datacenter owned by a hosting provider, your data is protected against disasters such as fire, flooding, et cetera. Precautions are also taken to ensure that the hardware does not overheat. Air-conditioning centrally controls the temperature in the datacenter and cooling systems prevent the temperature from rising to dangerous levels.You can also choose to have your data stored in two datacenters (at two different locations, possibly far apart) to ensure redundancy.
If your servers are colocated in a remote datacenter, it’s also be easier to create a fall-back scenario for emergency situations. This enables your employees to continue working from a temporary location in case of a disaster.
Datacenters have a number of different, yet equally important, types of security to limit access, protect against physical attacks, and keep the servers safe from intruders. These measure may include include 24/7 video surveillance and alarm monitoring, ingress/egress keycard access, cabinets equipped with tumbler locks, perimeter electric fencing, and more.
Colocation provides additional advantages when bandwidth is concerned. It is easier to scale in a hosted datacenter than on premise, and the costs per Mbit are lower with colocation since you can benefit from the hosting provider’s scale.
5. Costs of datacenter operations
Setting up and maintaining availability, continuity, security, and scalability on premise can be quite expensive. In a datacenter, the services and costs are shared between all customers helping to make it a more affordable option.
6. IT management
Generally, colocation lowers the TCO compared to on premise hosting. This includes lower costs for IT management. Your IT staff will have more time to concentrate on company specific tasks, innovation, and achieving business goals.
7. Service and support
Most companies that choose colocation use their own technicians, sending them to the datacenter for maintenance or emergencies. Because of this many companies choose to have a certain degree of redundancy built into the infrastructure, so the technicians don’t have to drive to the datacenter for every hardware component failure. It is also usually possible to hire remote hands at the datacenter to replace a defective part, on a pay per use contract.
In general, if your business has relatively stable needs, colocation is often a better option than on premise hosting both in terms of cost and resource allocation.
If you do need additional space and power for projects that are variable or require ongoing changes, another option is to rent additional space from a hosting provider that also offers hybrid cloud services. Owning your own hardware is really only viable if you are certain you can use it for three to five years, whereas hosted services can be used and paid for per month. As monthly revenues increasingly replace one-off license fees (CAPEX vs. OPEX) in the IT industry, hosted services become an attractive way to adjust your expenses to your revenue. Another advantage of using hybrid cloud services is that they come with an array of automated services, such as a customer portal, that allow for a significant amount of control, even remotely.