Cloud computing and colocation are becoming popular go-to solutions for managing data and IT workloads. However, colocation offers a number of tangible benefits that cloud computing is hard-pressed to match. The following explains a few of these benefits, as well as some of the reasons why your business might choose a colocation data center over a cloud computing vendor.

Why Choose Colocation?

Under the cloud environment, system resources are distributed across a number of physical locations that are managed by the vendor and made available as demand dictates. It's a cost-saving measure that reduces resource overhead and eliminates redundancies while providing resource access across a broad spectrum, regardless of location.

However, the very nature of cloud computing may not be ideal for some companies, especially those looking to maintain control of the hardware they already have invested. If your company has its own infrastructure, but is looking to move away from in-house data management, colocation presents a more feasible alternative. In contrast, third-party cloud computing requires your company to rely on another vendor's infrastructure.

Benefits of Colocation vs. Cloud Computing

The ability to use your own infrastructure is one benefit that often separates colocation facilities from their cloud computing counterparts. As mentioned above, this is an ideal choice if you already have an in-house data solution set up, but want to alleviate the cost and space constraints of hosting said equipment on the premises. Many colocation providers offer migration services that help smooth the transition from in-house to off-site management.

Co-location also gives your company greater control over the hardware that supports its applications. End-to-end control of your hardware components is especially important when it comes to mission-critical applications as well as critical and sensitive data.

Unlike most cloud computing vendors, many colocation facilities are carrier-agnostic - meaning that the data center can support multiple telecom service providers under a single structure. This gives you greater flexibility and interoperability when it comes to robust network services.

Security is another tangible benefit that colocation has over cloud computing. Hospitals and financial institutions are among the numerous organizations that must deal with sensitive and confidential data on a regular basis. These organizations must follow strict local and federal regulations that deal with maintaining data security and confidentiality.

Given the spread-out nature of data within the cloud, it's not only difficult to keep track of who has your data, but also whether those in possession are fully HIPAA or PCI DSS compliant. As it stands, very few cloud vendors have the certifications, experience or expertise to remain in compliance with the various data privacy regulations.

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David Mytton of Server Density notes that the costs of colocation may be much lower than what you would normally pay for a cloud computing solution, especially if you run a midsize to large-scale business. The price difference between using your own existing hardware versus relying on dedicated hardware from a cloud provider can run in the tens of thousands of dollars.

Potential Caveats

Despite the advantages that colocation has over cloud computing, IT team must still contend with the maintenance, management and monitoring of their equipment, unless these tasks have been outsourced to a third party. Contrast this with the typical cloud computing arrangement, where the vendor not only supplies the necessary equipment, but is also responsible for its maintenance and upkeep, among other functions.

For companies interested in reducing overhead costs while improving overall efficiencies, leaving data management up to a cloud computing vendor represents the best solution. Those interested first and foremost with reliability and availability, as well as those who want to retain their own hardware will benefit best from colocation.