The Business Benefits of Colocation
A tale as old as time….host technology internally, or put it off-site in a colocation facility / data center?
Both options have merits, and it seems there is a cycle whereby companies will pull everything in-house; then 5 years later, move everything back to a colo facility – then pull it all back in house about 5 years after that! There are more factors in play in these types of decisions than I will be able to cover, so I am going to stick with the benefits of moving to a colocation or data center facility vs keeping all of your infrastructure in-house.
1. Real Estate
Office space often comes at a premium, and many companies prefer not to pay that premium for power sucking boxes with ‘blinky‘ lights. People space often usurps IT space, and while companies are growing, many labs and even production data centers get the boot in favor of more offices or cubicles – even conference rooms! When there is limited square footage, justifying the amount of space needed for a dedicated technical space is nearly impossible.
2. Power & Cooling Requirements
IT equipment keeps getting smaller, faster, denser and more power hungry. While the smaller footprint makes it seem like an easy choice to keep it in house (after all, more dense should equal less square footage, right?), it really doesn’t. You see, as things get smaller and denser, their power requirements go up. Over the last 15 years the amount of power per rack has gone up exponentially! Add that to the cooling requirements for all that power, and you have a complex math problem that is far harder to solve than the square footage problem!
3. Disaster Recovery
Even if companies are able to find the space, power and cooling in-house, that doesn’t solve the “all of the eggs in one basket” issue that haunts companies of all sizes. Redundancy at every level doesn’t help much when the building is on fire. By moving some of the workload, and therefore equipment, to a colocation facility, you inherently develop a disaster recovery option you don’t have by keeping everything in a single in-house facility.*
*Note: This is less true if there are multiple redundant in-house facilities.
4. Managed Services
What happens when a server needs a reboot at 2am? Does someone from IT or Operations have to get up and drive to the office to push a button? When in a colocation facility, there are often trained NOC engineers available 24×7 to take care of these types of activities. Couple that with the ability to supplement staff for large projects using a vendor vs. “borrowing” resources internally and your teams morale improves dramatically.
TL;DR: If you don’t have the space, power or cooling for your infrastructure, you have a single threaded environment, or a small IT/Ops staff – Colocation can help in many ways!