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".
Keeping mission-critical businesses processes in-house allows enterprise IT departments to exert control over the decentralized cloud network with far greater effectiveness than would otherwise be available. Should technical issues arise, the department is equipped to handle the issue itself rather than call up a support ticket and hope that their cloud service provider resolves it in time.
Essentially, from a monitoring point of view, colocation allows enterprises clear insight into their network and allows for immediate intervention when issues do arise.
Isolating Workloads to Increase Management Efficiency
While the benefits of running colocation servers should be readily apparent by now, the question of how workloads should be isolated and shared between servers needs to be addressed. An enterprise that fails to effectively isolate its computing needs to separate, abstracted workloads may not achieve optimal efficiency with its colocation cloud management strategy.
Building efficient workloads means isolating business-critical applications into cloud-integrated APIs. Most businesses need to run both batch workloads and real-time workloads.
- Batch workloads can be executed at any time – document processing is an example.
- Real-time workloads need to be executed on the spot – such as for user-exposed business processes.
In most situations, keeping real-time workloads on a local server produces greater business efficiencies than entrusting a public cloud with the task.
Using a hybrid cloud alongside one or more colocation servers is one of the most efficient ways to achieve this. With this kind of system infrastructure, a user in one city can access, input, or extract data from a company database with near-instantaneous results regardless of where the company's datacenter is located.
Because the user is accessing a locally-available colocation server dedicated to processing real-time workloads, actual data processing happens on the spot. The end result of the process – a new customer account, for instance, can be processed in batches at the public cloud level.
Comparing Cloud Providers by Ease of Management
Not every cloud service provider allows for physical colocation – and some will even charge licensing fees for enterprise software used in the cloud even if their client already owns the software. This practice essentially forces enterprises to pay twice for their software.
From a management point of view, this makes services like Amazon AWS and Microsoft Azure challenging options from a cost-efficiency point of view. Enterprises migrating to the cloud who plan on using, to some degree, their own existing assets for a hybrid cloud solution will need to hire a cloud service provider that can meet their needs more effectively.
Technology Integration Group is a cloud service provider that specializes in hybrid cloud implementation. We offer free data egress, predictable monthly rates and colocation services through our EdgeConnect integration platform. Contact us for a quote on your hybrid cloud solution.