Not long ago, when a company needed to expand its storage capacity and IT power, building a secondary data center was almost inevitable. It was also costly and riddled with operational speedbumps – but it was the course of action most organizations chose. Few had other options in sight.
Today, the era of private data center building is over. There are no longer any viable circumstances under which companies should build new facilities. Colocation and cloud services have changed the game. And according to Gartner, they’re “natural allies, not competitors.”
If building a new site is still under your team’s consideration, there’s almost definitely an efficient, low-cost option that better suits your organization. Below are three reasons to use colocation and cloud services for your data:
Colo providers are optimized for connectivity and cloud access.
Most data center operators have a fetish for electric power. Certainly, these buildings are prodigious consumers of power, but cheap juice is no longer sufficient to meet the requirements of the cloud era. As the rules of the data center game have changed, connectivity has emerged as new requirement. Today’s highly connected data centers have emerged to deliver the best connectivity, carrier access and cloud services – offering enterprises the greatest flexibility.
Remote areas of the country, which were once seen as an ideal home for new data centers due to their cheap utilities and real estate, are often limited by the number of carriers equipped to serve them. As a result, users of such sites get locked into agreements with the only carrier present in the area – and those agreements can last for years, while cutting participating enterprises off from competitive service options.
ROI comes from ecosystems.
In metro-based colocation environments, the economics of connectivity are unmatched. Telecom carriers have a high incentive to join colocation sites, as they can offer competitive deals on their services to the site’s wide breadth of customers. Meanwhile, customers have the benefit of choosing services from the variety of carriers present in every colocation site’s ecosystem.
According to Forrester, the cost to build the shell of a data center is approximately $200 per square foot, though the price has surged in recent years. In addition, organizations need to consider fire suppression systems, building permits, taxes, IT infrastructure, network connections, power, staff and maintenance. The monthly operating expenses can easily drown out any perceived cost advantage of a private buildout.
Cloud and colocation services help bypass these costs, while freeing IT managers from the need to keep up with rapid data growth by adding capacity to their data centers. Enterprises can also gain performance benefits from working with the diverse range of services available in colocation ecosystems. If teams ever need to recover from physical disasters or hardware failures, working with cloud and colocation services can add the data center diversity needed to withstand the elements.
CIOs must decrease IT footprints while data is growing exponentially.
CIOs are struggling with the demands to manage and reduce data center footprints (even in colocation sites). However, they’re also dealing with the reality of rapidly growing enterprise data and apps.
Gartner recommends using colo sites to bridge this gap – centering their IT strategies around them, rather than leveraging them for one-off projects. With metro-based colocation services available across the country, and many primary IT functions now available as a service; the more economic, scalable choice is clear.
The cloud is also a major initiative among today’s enterprises, although many haven’t yet found the most valuable way to leverage it. Some have moved a few workloads to the cloud, only to uncover roadblocks while attempting to migrate others. Working with the cloud forces enterprises to manage remote IT resources, which are most successful when they have access to networks with high amounts of resiliency and bandwidth. Leading colocation providers deliver the cloud access that enterprises demand.
A true hybrid strategy for today’s enterprise requires an optimized on-premises footprint that can scale through unified colocation services, managed services and cloud.
As your organization assesses colocation partners, consider the location of each site, available service providers and your company’s future plans. Find a partner that will support your business as it grows – rather than one that wears out and requires replacement in a few years, like a piece of hardware would.
Lazarus Vekiarides is the chief technology officer and co-founder of ClearSky Data, the global storage network that simplifies the entire data lifecycle and delivers enterprise storage as a fully managed service. Previously, Vekiarides was a member of the core leadership team at EqualLogic and an executive at Dell. He is an expert in data storage, virtualization and networking technologies.
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