Today’s organizations won’t get very far without a data center business plan that will address their current IT infrastructure needs and lay out a path for future growth. Many of them make the decision to outsource that infrastructure to a colocation facility, but others are not sure if a data center relocation is the best decision for their needs. Here are a few benefits of colocation that companies should think about when considering a data center migration.
One of the biggest reasons companies turn to a colocation provider in the first place is because they’ve outgrown their existing data solution. A few servers in a closet or a dedicated data room might be sufficient for a small start-up, but sooner or later, many organizations face the difficult question of how to scale their infrastructure. That could involve pricing out the cost of building a dedicated, private data center. However, depending upon how quickly the organization’s networking needs grow, it could find itself in the same predicament again just a few years later. Even worse, it could invest in a data center only to suddenly experience a decline in customer demand that forces it to scale back network services, leaving the company paying for space, power, and cooling infrastructure it no longer needs.
With a colocation provider, a company can establish service terms that allow it to scale services as needed. After the data center relocation is completed, a colocation facility can accommodate changing customer needs. If a new application is being launched, a company could provision additional rack space in the data center along with the power and cooling needed to operate them. Should that application not perform as expected, it would be a relatively simple matter to scale services back to previous levels. This flexibility allows colocation customers to make long-term plans without the risk of having to make substantial capital investments.
A carrier-neutral data center provides a broad range of connectivity options for colocation customers. That extensive connectivity is a key benefit of colocation, and it’s one of the main reasons why companies undertake a data center migration rather than building their own private facility. In addition to the sizable cost of building out the physical infrastructure for a private data center, new cabling would need to be laid down and integrated in order to connect the facility to leading service providers. Those connections can be quite expensive, especially if a provider has to expand its infrastructure to meet the facility’s needs. In many cases, the benefit simply isn’t there, which can leave a private facility beholden to a limited number of providers and creating the risk of vendor lock-in.
With multiple internet service providers, network services, and cloud platforms to choose from, colocation customers can easily build the network infrastructure that meets their specific needs. Thanks to cross-connections and hybrid/multi-cloud architecture, companies can fully optimize their workloads for improved speed and functionality. Colocation facilities offer easy connections to leading providers through an exchange marketplace, allowing their customers to consider a variety of options when crafting their data center migration checklist.
On-premises data solutions don’t always have the best track record for uptime reliability due to their lack of efficient power and cooling infrastructure. They also usually lack the sophisticated analytics that make modern data centers so energy efficient. Considering that system downtime is so damaging to an organization’s bottom line and reputation, it’s no wonder that many companies are turning to the more reliable infrastructure of a quality colocation facility.
Uptime reliability can vary from provider to provider, but it can be one of the outstanding benefits of colocation if the facility has a good track record. A colocation data center with a proven record of >99.99999% uptime reliability, for instance, experiences less than 3.15 seconds of downtime throughout the course of a year. Considering that the average business loses about $300,000 per hour of downtime, finding a provider with the best possible reliability history is essential.
Building a private data center is obviously a significant capital expense, but the costs don’t stop once the facility is completed. Running a data center on a day-to-day basis incurs a sizable amount of ongoing operating costs. There’s staff who need to be paid and trained, equipment that needs to be maintained, security systems to enforce, and an assortment of additional infrastructure expenses to consider, to say nothing of the time a company’s IT department must dedicate to keeping everything in good working order.
Many companies would be better-served dedicating those resources to developing innovative new products and services that will allow them to grow their business and customer base. Outsourcing data center infrastructure to a colocation facility frees up valuable IT capacity, allowing an organization to focus more on research and development rather than troubleshooting the ins and outs of their infrastructure on an ongoing basis. Money that might have been spent on maintaining a data center could go into market research or product development, creating new opportunities that allow companies to make the most of their existing resources to further their business goals.
Maintaining data security is one of the most important goals for today’s companies. Apart from the legal and ethical obligations to safeguard customer data, they also have strong business incentives for protecting their proprietary data from competitors. Colocation data centers implement state-of-the-art security precautions that are simply beyond the capability of many private data solutions. These hardened facilities incorporate multiple security checkpoints and sophisticated logical security measures like biometric scanners to ensure that only authorized visitors can physically access critical data assets.
A quality colocation facility also has the policies and controls in place to meet a variety of compliance standards surrounding the handling of different forms of data (such as SSAE 18, SOC 2, ISO 27001, HIPAA, and PCI DSS). Many companies might not even realize their data solution needs to comply with various regulations, but by working with a colocation data center, they can make sure that they aren’t opening themselves up to expensive fines or damaging lawsuits.
Although a data center migration can be a major undertaking for an organization, the benefits of colocation are substantial. By outsourcing the substantial expense of running a data center to a colocation facility, companies can instead focus their resources and efforts on their business without constantly worrying about whether or not their data solution can accommodate their needs. Although not all colocation providers are created equal, by establishing a data center business plan that identifies capable partners, organizations can realize significant benefits from a data center relocation.