Colocation Services Improve Speed and Reliability
One of the main obstacles to using major cloud provider services is that most do not offer colocation services. Colocation is the ability to integrate client-owned assets and data with the existing cloud infrastructure – essentially keeping the most business-critical data elements at arm's reach.
Neither Amazon nor Microsoft allow for colocation services, so data uploaded on their cloud networks may end up residing in servers very far from the workstation handling the data. As physical distance increases, so does loading time and connection unreliability. The inability to have client-owned (or third-party) assets reside on their cloud networks is a serious disadvantage in terms of speed and cloud dependability. For enterprises that already own and operate their own data centers, colocation is the heart of the hybrid cloud strategy. For businesses just entering the field, local third-party colocation service providers can make space for clients on their infrastructure, ensuring that the most often-used data is available locally.
Enterprises are moving their mission-critical deployments to colocation servers for two primary reasons:
- Data Center Design Improvements: New advances in data center design have made outsourced colocation more cost-effective than building a dedicated data center. Colocation providers can offer power, space, and cooling at prices that individual companies cannot match.
- Increased Computing Demands: Virtualization and the continuing drive to handle ever-greater workloads puts a strain on purpose-built data centers. Retrofitting an older facility is far more expensive from a Total Cost of Ownership perspective than using colocation services – even in the long-term.
This is an enormous advantage for companies that need to make large amounts of data immediately accessible in different physical locations – large enterprises and government institutions, for example. The only other alternative would be building and staffing several distributed data centers in different geographical regions at great expense.
How Colocation Ties into Cloud Management
John Hall, Head of Portfolio at Atos UK/Ireland, asserts that most organizations fail to effectively manage their cloud deployments. He says that the combination of re-positioning existing IT departments to use cloud services and the fact direct executive-level communication occurs exclusively with cloud service providers creates loss of visibility. C-suite decision-makers effectively, "don't know what they don't know".