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The case for colocation – a host of benefits

The case for colocation – a host of benefits

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Lex Boost, Chief Executive Officer of Leaseweb USA, tells us that colocation can offer an ideal solution for organizations that want to balance the availability of agile, high performance IT infrastructure with a manageable OPEX cost model. He says: “The result can be a win-win for digital businesses focused on meeting the needs of their staff and customers alike.”

Colocation hosting is a tried and trusted approach to technology infrastructure strategy that allows organizations to locate their server, network equipment and storage in a specialist third-party data center.

Lex Boost, CEO of Leaseweb USA

In doing so, they can connect their privately-owned servers to a variety of telecommunications and network service providers, reducing their own technology overheads in the process.

As such, it has become a compelling option for organizations that value its inherent flexibility, ability to scale, security options and reliability. The result is that it has become a popular and rapidly growing segment of the data center industry.

According to one recent piece of market analysis, for instance, the global data center colocation market size was valued at US$49.21 billion this year and is predicted to grow to US$117.82 billion by 2028.

But what particular advantages can colocation offer over an on-premises strategy and what should organizations have on their shopping list when comparing one colocation supplier against another?

1. Cost control

One of the main reasons organizations move from an on-premises to a colocation strategy is cost control. In particular, building and maintaining in-house infrastructure is not just a matter of physical space, but cost planning must also include availability, continuity, security and scalability – a long list where budgets can easily escalate. In a colocation data center, however, the services and costs are shared between all customers, who benefit from economies of scale.

2. Availability and Business Continuity

In a modern colocation setting, the hosting provider is responsible for ensuring that system and data availability remains unaffected by issues such as power outages. For instance, backup power supplies, batteries and generators should form part of the standard approach for any well-designed data center.

Providers should also be able to demonstrate that they regularly test these capabilities so users can have full confidence their infrastructure will remain available at all times.

Hosting providers should also have further service redundancy built into their facilities. Priorities include energy connections that enter the building at different locations, additional Internet connections and effective communication channels with local authorities in case of possible disruptive excavation work.

Business Continuity should also extend to protection from fire, flooding or other natural disasters. In addition, organizations should assess the quality and effectiveness of cooling systems so that ambient temperatures do not rise to levels that may damage their expensive and mission critical hardware.

3. Security

In this context, data center security is focused on preventing physical access to hosted technology so that it’s kept safe from intruders. Minimum requirements should include 24/7/365 video surveillance, robust access restrictions and strong perimeter fencing.

4. Scale

When an organization needs to scale-up its server infrastructure or connectivity, a good colocation venue should have options in place to seamlessly add capacity and/or performance. With high performance connectivity already in place, this is another situation where users can benefit from economies of scale.

5. IT management

IT teams everywhere use Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) calculations to assess the value and impact of their technology spend. In most circumstances, colocation offers a better TCO over on-premises hosting, particularly around IT management where the colo provider is assuming some of the major responsibilities. As a result, in-house IT staff are also freed up to focus on more strategic tasks and objectives as they no longer have to focus on ‘keeping the lights on.’

6. Service and support

While most companies still rely on their own IT staff to maintain their equipment in the colocation setting, it’s increasingly common to also build redundancy into the colocation infrastructure so technicians don’t have to travel to the data center for each and every component malfunction or failure. Some data centers also offer the option of on-site support to ease the maintenance, service and support burden on busy IT staff.

For organizations that want to balance the availability of agile, high performance IT infrastructure with a manageable OPEX cost model, colocation can offer an ideal solution. In today’s mature data center market, providers are differentiating themselves by offering better services that are competitively priced and geared towards the needs of IT-centric businesses. The result can be a win-win for digital businesses focused on meeting the needs of their staff and customers alike.

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