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Benefits of Combining Cloud and Colocation

Organizations are increasingly looking to get out of the data center management business. The ongoing costs and challenges of managing and maintaining traditional on-premises data centers too often prevent them from focusing resources on initiatives that deliver a more clear-cut business impact.

According to one recent study, nearly 90 percent of organizations with in-house data centers plan to move data center workloads off-premises over the next three years. They’d rather have someone else manage the physical infrastructure. However, the best approach for shifting that responsibility has always been a subject of debate.

For years, organizations have weighed two main options for hosting data center infrastructure — the cloud or colocation. Today, however, the overall trend is toward using both cloud and colo services in a hybrid environment. According to NTT’s 2021 Hybrid Cloud Report, more than 60 percent of organizations globally are already using or piloting a hybrid environment, and more than 90 percent say this approach has become a core enabler of business strategy.

Cloud is No Silver Bullet

It is a departure from the decade-old trend of moving as many workloads as possible to the cloud to reduce costs, increase scalability and improve flexibility. Over time, however, it has become clear that isn’t always the ideal environment.

While providers manage and maintain the cloud infrastructure, customers are still responsible for managing their applications, along with updates and security patches. More than a third of IT executives in one recent poll listed unpredictable costs as a top issue with cloud usage. In addition, the cloud isn’t always suitable for workloads that require special security, compliance, bandwidth or network capacity requirements.  

These are some of the reasons why organizations have begun “repatriating” workloads they had previously moved to the cloud. More than 70 percent of companies say they have moved some workloads from the cloud back to on-premises or colocation data centers. That’s not an indictment of the cloud — cloud migrations continue to accelerate rapidly — it’s just a recognition that different workloads have different requirements.

Cloud and Colocation -Better Together

In the hybrid model, companies increasingly use the cloud to support Software-as-a-Service applications and other workloads built for cloud platforms while opting to run workloads requiring more privacy and support in a colocation facility. In the colo model, customers rent space for their servers, storage and other computing hardware from a third-party provider who assumes responsibility for the bulk of administrative and management functions.

Additionally, companies save up to 60 percent on cloud connectivity by eliminating in-house setup charges, according to an IDG study. Instead, colo customers take advantage of a variety of robust connectivity options offered by providers. In fact, 90 percent of respondents said cloud connectivity is a critical or important consideration when evaluating colocation providers.

Colo facilities also contribute to improved regulatory compliance because they are required to implement a multitude of security and privacy measures to protect customer data. Providers must demonstrate they comply with key standards regarding the use of security controls, processes and procedures.

For these reasons and more, the IDG report claims that colocation has emerged as an “essential pillar” in a successful hybrid IT strategy. The study found that about two-thirds of companies already store at least some of their data in a colocation data center.

Cloud and colocation should no longer be seen as competing infrastructures, but rather as two sides of the same coin. Because they address different workload requirements, they work together to provide an effective alternative to costly and complex in-house data centers. If you’re in the process of evaluating such a transition, give us a call. Our team has extensive experience in designing and implementing hybrid environments, and we can help you select the platforms and processes that best fit your needs.

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