Article by Dr Stuart Nielsen-Marsh, Pulsant
Rather like a landlord, a colocation centre typically provides the space, power, cooling and physical security for a company’s IT Infrastructure. The space provided may be shared with other tenants and like an unfurnished flat, the tenants provide the furniture – or IT equipment in this case.
Colocation gives many customer benefits, including high bandwidth access at low cost, disaster recovery in the event of a power loss, increased security in the form of CCTV and lockable rack-cabinets, as well as lower network latency; all resulting in a high level of resilience.
Cloud-based computing is here to stay but some organisations may be hesitant to abandon their existing infrastructures to virtualised platforms.
The good news is that colocation provides a step towards cloud migration. Businesses cite that the scalability of the cloud, as well as the ability to reduce costs in terms of staff and equipment as reasons for moving from colocation to cloud services. But it doesn’t have to be either one or the other.
While it is common for companies to have an internal data centre and cloud computing services, it is easy to become overwhelmed by the choice of solutions available. Organisations should step back and adopt a more holistic approach to their cloud journey, and use it to inspire a re-engineering of their business.
What are your cloud options?
If you’re wary of relying on the public cloud for reasons of security and compliance, but you want to offer high-quality application performance to customers, a hybrid cloud solution could be the answer.
First of all, three questions need to be answered.
•What are your business reasons for moving to the cloud? — This involves taking a step back and defining why your journey is necessary in the first place. For example, an ISV may want to start using SaaS offerings.
•What issues do you need to overcome? — To continue with the example above, you need to deliver the new cloud and SaaS offerings to your organisation while maintaining compliance with new regulations, including the GDPR and PSD2.
•What solution will help to solve this? — You may choose a hybrid solution that is suitable for cloud consumption and maintains compliance. This would give you more control over your data.
The private side of a hybrid cloud solution allows you to continue using your existing infrastructure more effectively. It can be configured and reconfigured at will while maintaining data security and complying with governance and regulations. It also ensures the predictability and reliability of critical applications.
Move specific workloads to the public clouds, and you can enjoy cost-effective analytics and disaster recovery services. Public clouds also allow for surges in traffic by giving you extra capacity when needed.
How do colocation and cloud services fit together?
The question most companies have is how to effectively connect their existing infrastructure to these private cloud access services. This is where colocation providers, and specifically the new breed of managed service providers come in. Companies who have a heritage of colocation, hybrid and communication infrastructure are far better placed to help companies on this journey than many ‘born in the cloud’ services providers.
Whether colocation in the traditional sense or colocation as a private cloud, adopting a colocation to cloud strategy provides you with a strategic advantage and improves the agility of your business. You get to benefit from immediate access to secure cloud storage as well as the ability to replicate your own private cloud off-site.