When it comes to hosted IT, businesses are often faced with the dilemma of which route to take - colocation or cloud. As a data centre in Manchester, we’re often asked, “which one is best?” and while the answer to this question is of course driven by business need, it shouldn’t really be a question of which is best, but more a question of “what’s best for my business?”
Understanding the key differences between colocation and cloud computing will help with this decision.
What is colocation?
With colocation you put your own equipment - servers, storage, switches, software - into somebody else’s data centre. You provide the kit, they provide the space, power, rack and connectivity. Upgrades, monitoring and backups will be the responsibility of your IT team. Basically, you rent space in a data centre.
What is cloud computing?
The main difference between cloud and colocation is that with cloud computing you use somebody else’s servers - unlike colo where you maintain ownership of the equipment. You essentially outsource infrastructure management responsibilities to your cloud provider, and pay for what you use.
With colocation you’re dealing with physical assets, and with cloud you’re dealing with virtual assets.
Figuring out which solution suits your business best, will come down to many factors - security, redundancy, disaster recovery, scalability, availability...
In reality, both cloud and colocation make up vital parts of our IT infrastructures, with improvements in security, resilience and availability, in comparison to on-premise solutions.
And of course there are pros and cons to each solution…
What are the pros of colocation?
- Powering and cooling servers is expensive. With colo, you’re using the data centre’s power, at a much lower cost due to economies of scale.
- Access to a wide range of connectivity options through the data centre’s carrier list.
- Adherence to compliance regulations such as ISO, which would be difficult to achieve in-house.
- Total control of your network.
- Increased availability and resilience compared to on-premise.
- Reduced TCO (Total Cost of Ownership) compared to on-premise.
What are the cons of colocation?
- Not all data centres are the same. You are completely dependent on their uptime, and some may not perform as well as others. You need to do your research and shop around.
- Although you are in control of your network, you are not in control of the data centre. Check whether access times would restrict you.
- Capital expenditure required to purchase your equipment.
- Location matters. You will need to visit your data centre regularly, so it needs to be accessible.
What are the pros of cloud computing?
- Capital cost converts to a running cost, meaning little or no upfront investment.
- Pay as you go model.
- Scalable and agile.
- The cloud service provider (CSP) manages the infrastructure, including servers, storage and network elements, reducing the cost of management. This also gives you less control, however, and makes support a critical factor for consideration.
What are the cons of cloud computing?
- Security and privacy are out of your hands. You need to make sure your cloud solution meets your requirements. This is equally true of compliance.
- Dependant on somebody else’s infrastructure and connectivity.
- Loss of control and visibility due to no network ownership.
As a data centre provider offering both cloud and colocation services, Teledata can help you on your digital transformation journey, offering guidance and support on the best options for your business.