Changing the Driving Seat with Colocation

Jul 30, 2018

“But we will lose control” – cries a manager when somebody suggests outsourcing data center operations. And keeping infrastructure in-house certainly does mean that you sit in the driving seat, but colocation doesn’t mean that you get relegated to being a passenger. In fact, it’s like taking using a car pool. You get to go where you want, when you want, but don’t have the hassle of owning the car.

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So, taking the car pool vs. car ownership analogy further let’s look at the whole colocation vs. in-house debate. Of course, each option has pros and cons. You just need to decide what is best for your business.

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Let’s start with one of the biggest concerns of data center operations – cost. If you want to own a car, you pay a big sum to purchase it and then you pay for the day to day running of the car – petrol, road tax, maintenance. And it’s the same with an in-house data center – you have a big capital investment to build your facility and you need to pay for power, real estate costs, maintenance etc. – the operational costs.

Whereas if you use a car pool, you have none of these upfront costs. You simply pay a predetermined cost for your journey. If you choose a colocation data center it’s the same.  There is no capex investment, just a predictable, operational cost that is set out in your service level agreement (SLA).

Moving onto flexibility now. Owning a car means you are stuck with that model of car. Brought a mini and need a seven-seater? Tough luck, you can’t magically make your car bigger. It’s the same with an in-house data center. Once you’ve decided on the size or capacity, it’s hard to change.

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However, if you’re using a car pool it’s easy to change the size of the car. One week you can pick up a sporty two-seater, the next a minibus big enough for a football team and it’s the same with colocation data centers. You can scale up and down as your needs change.

What about reliability? If you own a car you make sure it keeps it running and if it breaks down you can’t travel and need to organise repairs. All of which takes time and money. With an in-house data center, it’s the same. When there’s an interruption to service due to a power outage or connectivity issues for example, you need to fix it, fast.

On the other hand, if you chose a carpool, your contract with the hire company guarantees that you can complete your journey, even if your original booking breaks down. It’s the same with colocation data centers. Your SLA states a guaranteed uptime that they deliver by having multiple redundancy measures, often more than an in-house facility  – several power supplies and connections for example.

We’ve listed just some of the considerations for businesses choosing between colocation and in-house, but hopefully you can see that outsourcing your data center doesn’t have to mean a rough ride. In fact, it can turn out to be like having a chauffeur.