Data centers are a lot like cafeterias for most organizations — a necessity, but not something they want to manage. Frankly, most organizations are not in the business of making sandwiches or building and managing data centers. Owning and operating an in-house data center is just not aligned with their core business.
Compared with operating an in-house data center, leveraging colocation services from a data center provider offers numerous benefits that have driven steady adoption of these services over the years. Here are seven reasons why you should consider colocation data center services for your organization.
1. Predictable cost structures and cost savings. A data center built for one company is expensive. A data center built for many organizations brings down the cost for every firm using it. Organizations moving into colocation data centers are leveraging these economies of scale by avoiding expensive capital expenditures for a fixed operating expenditure model.
In-house data centers require huge capital to build, and many organizations still fall short of the higher levels of redundancy found in commercial colocation data centers. Costs mount for in-house support staff, as well as budgets for additional expansion as needed.
Moving to a colocation center is also generally less expensive than a cloud solution for organizations with heavy hardware utilization and longer refresh cycles. It’s the difference between using a taxi each day for a long commute and owning a car – taxis are great for short, infrequent trips, but buying a car generally makes better economic sense for a daily long-distance commute. Organizations want pricing stability, which is something they can’t get in every cloud environment; the variability in these services’ costs from month to month can make it difficult to properly budget for them. In addition, it’s generally cheap to put data into the cloud, but can be surprisingly expensive to get it back when a random disaster strikes.
2. 100 percent uptime. Commercial colocation data centers have near-100 percent uptime because of the redundancies built into their facilities – a benefit most organizations cannot achieve in house. A good colocation data center will be equipped with a fully fault-tolerant network, uninterruptible power supply (UPS), emergency backup generators, and HVAC systems that ensure customers won’t go down during a natural disaster. Redundancies also allow the colocation provider to perform maintenance without taking a single customer offline.
3. Scalability. Colocation facilities allow customers to quickly scale up their footprint based on their company’s growth. Adding racks – one or 100 – is easy and generally more cost effective for growing organizations than expanding an in-house data center.
4. Support. Data centers have support teams ready 24/7/365 to manage customer needs. Additionally, most colocation centers offer general smart hands services, such as replacing hard drives, physical reboots, and cabling of systems. Many data center providers now offer fully managed support services, which can provide monitoring, maintenance, and management of the customers’ OS and application layers. With colocation, organizations no longer need to worry about patch management and other support functions that consume so much time of their IT staff.
This level of support and regular maintenance would prove prohibitively expensive for most organizations to handle internally. Rather than supporting the day-to-day operations of a data center, IT employees can be placed in more strategic roles within their company, and leave the day-to-day to the colocation provider.
5. Compliance. Compliance has become a centerpiece of data planning. In the financial and health care verticals especially, it is exceedingly expensive to maintain compliant in-house data centers. Using a commercial colocation data center facility enables organizations to more easily and cost effectively maintain compliance with ever-changing federal regulations and industry standards. Many colocation facilities adhere to the specific administrative, physical, and technical safeguards set by the HITECH Act and are HIPAA compliant. Many data center providers also offer HIPAA- and PCI-compliant disaster recovery (DR) services. While the public cloud continues to grow in popularity, many financial and health care institutions still aren’t ready to put their most sensitive data into it. Colocation remains a popular, compliant option.
6. Security. Colocation data centers provide 24/7/365 security. With perimeter fences, armed guards, restricted access badge access lists, mantrap doors, biometric security, and CCTV camera systems, commercial colocation data centers are extremely secure facilities. On the network side, many providers now offer intrusion detection, intrusion prevention, and firewall services to reduce attacks. Organizations need secure environments, as no customer wants to make headlines for another data breach.
7. Disaster Recovery. Many customers have a primary data center in use today. But what if it goes down like many in-house data center facilities did in superstorm Sandy? Colocation facilities allow customers to colocate servers for disaster recovery replication or leverage additional disaster-recovery-as-a-service (DRaaS) offerings from the data center provider.
Other benefits to colocation
What other factors do you consider when searching for a colocation center? What additional questions do you have? Let us know in a comment below.