What is Colocation?
While the terms data center and colocation are often used somewhat interchangeably, they are not the same thing. Colocation is a service that is provided, whereas a data center is a place or location. Colocation is just one type of service that can be provided by a technology company or data center. It is often provided as part of a larger strategy for technology equipment, data management and/or backup and recovery.
Colocation, sometimes referred to as “colo” is when space is rented, typically at a data center, for your business’ technology hardware and equipment. This hardware may include your servers, racks, cabinets, and cable trays. These services generally provide the “home” for the equipment including power, backup generators, physical security, connectivity, and cooling services. In addition, this equipment may be managed, maintained, and updated by your team or the colocation provider, depending upon your circumstances. Additional services such as network monitoring, backup, end point security and other outsourced IT management services are often provided as part of a holistic solution to technology.
Service providers, like Conscious Networks, have operations centers and help desks to provide quick response times and troubleshoot issues, often with a much faster response than your internal staff. This is one reason that many businesses start with colocation services and migrate some tasks over time to an outsourced IT model in a data center environment. In addition, the network engineers at Conscious Networks have an average of twenty years experience with access to more technology resources, training, and best practices to ensure that your data and network are maintained at the highest level. The best news is that Conscious Networks is able to customize a solution based on your business goals and growth initiatives. This type of flexibility is invaluable and allows you to scale easily.
Would you like to explore colocation services?
What are the Benefits of Colocation?
First and foremost, colocation provides you with tremendous flexibility for your IT infrastructure. If your business is experiencing fast or steady growth, the ability to grow your infrastructure quickly can be extremely valuable. If your business is cyclical or has dramatic spikes seasonally, these services can result in savings on IT infrastructure, costs, and resources.
What is the Difference Between a Data Center & Colocation?
A data center is a place or physical location whereas colocation is a service provided to host your information technology hardware offsite. Many businesses will evaluate the costs, resources, and elasticity required to determine which options are best for their business. An IT Technology Partner, like Conscious Networks, can be a valuable resource in this evaluation process and help ensure that all factors are weighed and considered.
Should I Use a Data Center or the Cloud?
While many people envision the cloud as being ‘somewhere out there’ it, too, is hosted inside a data center. The biggest challenge with cloud systems is variable and/or surprise pricing structures that significantly vary based on volume.
In addition, you are almost always virtualized in the cloud whereas, in a data center or colocation environment, your business’ data can be stored on dedicated hardware. This can be beneficial with intense workloads like IOPS. This is why when you have a technology partner, like Conscious Networks, you can evaluate the pros and cons of virtualized vs. physical vs. a hybrid environment. The biggest cloud providers typically do not even have a physical or hybrid offering.
In addition, it is important to consider the ownership of your data. Many cloud providers are ambiguous or require clarification on service agreements with items like:
- Who ultimately owns your data?
- What happens if the data center loses power or temperature control systems?
- What type of backup and recovery systems are provided in the event of a crisis?
- Where exactly is my data being stored and what measures are in place for any security or compliance requirements?
7 Questions About Colocation & Data Centers
Conscious Networks offers strategies that allow organizations to consider the pros/cons of data centers vs. colocation services along with cost-reduction benefits. Be sure to discuss the following with your provider of choice:
- How redundant is your data center?
- How secure is your data center?
- What certifications and audits does your data center have?
- What level of support does your colocation provider have?
- What compliance issues must be considered?
- What level of support is provided for disaster recovery and business continuity?
- Does your colocation provider also provide managed hosting, managed servers, or other ancillary services that may benefit your business?
How a Technology Partner Can Help
Many organizations prefer a hybrid approach, storing less sensitive or critical information in the cloud and more mission critical information at a secure data center of their choosing. Some organizations have operations that must be performed daily and may require high IOPS. This, again, is where a technology partner can help you evaluate the best options and structure a plan that will provide the most efficiency.
An IT advisor or technology partner can also serve as the primary point of contact for your business, eliminating back and forth between multiple vendors. After all, most vendors want to fit you into the products and services they sell.
Conversely, Conscious Networks works with your leadership team to understand your business initiatives and operations. Our holistic approach to technology allows us to recommend the options that make the most sense for your business, not our business. If your organization would benefit from a cloud structure, data center, or colocation services, we can provide any or all.
Contact Conscious Networks today to schedule a technology assessment.