The original reason for companies to consider data center colocation was cost savings. The tradeoff is fairly simple. Instead of your organization building and operating its own data center, you ship your servers, switches, routers and network appliances off to a colo facility. That facility offers cost savings through economy of scale. Instead of each business having to come up with environmentally controlled real estate, fire suppression, backup generator power and high bandwidth connectivity, the larger colocation company provides these facilities for hundreds or thousands of customers.
A colo or “carrier hotel”, as they were originally called when the main customers were competitive local exchange carriers, can provide the 24/7 technical staffing that you may not be able to afford. They’ve expanded their suite of services to rent not just rack and cage space, but servers themselves. You no longer have to buy and ship your own equipment. You can rent what you need and have it all set up for you. Even ongoing maintenance can be outsourced to the colo so that your only responsible for the applications you are running.
There is a blending of missions between colocation data centers and hosting companies. The colocation centers have become hosts with the addition of dedicated servers and even virtual servers.
The latest trend in IT is cloud computing and this is where colocation data centers are headed. One good example is PAETEC, a competitive telecom carrier with a national service footprint. PAETEC is known for it’s voice and data services that include T1 lines, DS3, SIP trunking, MPLS networks, OCx fiber optic bandwidth, and Ethernet over copper and fiber connections. Now PAETEC is on a major building spree to nearly triple its 7 data centers spread across the country.
What’s prompting this expansion? It’s all about the cloud. Corporate America has discovered cloud services as a way to control costs, increase flexibility and avoid sometimes unavailable capital investments in infrastructure. The idea of the cloud is very much like the concept of the colocation center with some capability expansions. Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) allows you to rent all the servers and their related facilities that you need. The difference is that the architecture of the cloud is about making it easy to add and subtract resources rapidly. You can do that when servers are virtual and there are massive amounts of networked disk storage to draw from.
PAETEC is offering cloud-based products in their data centers that include dedicated servers, virtual servers, managed storage on demand and more. Hosted Exchange gives companies a Microsoft Exchange E-Mail server with PAETEC technicians and engineers available for support.
Is it time for your company to consider a move to the cloud or relocation to a colocation center to reduce costs and gain access to more resources as needed? If so, get pricing and availability of Cloud and Colocation Data Center Services near your location.
Note: Photo of clouds and building courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.