Colocation? Or Keep Your Physical Machines Internal?

Datacenter

Of course many businesses are moving to cloud hosting. However, there is another way that businesses are still using third parties for physical systems: colocation.

  • Considerations for Data Center Cost-Cutting
  • Should You Use Colocation?
  • Controlling Your IT Budget Externally

When you put together a spreadsheet with your data center budget, you really want to be skeptical of every component. You can often nix certain aspects to trim costs, and colocation will often make sense.

Considerations for Data Center Cost-Cutting

Cooling is a huge expense in data centers, and it is easier to control than ever before. You can probably raise the temperature a bit. You can also benefit from a free air cooling or adiabatic system long-term. You will have to pay upfront, but your power bill will drop, and often upkeep will be reduced too.

Is your data center getting bigger? Data center growth is questionable as cloud computing continues to be more heavily adopted as a primary system. The idea of a single app on a singer physical server is no longer reasonable. The old model was incredibly inefficient, with hardware grossly underutilized at 10% server and 30% storage capacity in many cases.

Cloud technology works even when you stay physical, explains Clive Longbottom of TechTarget. “Moving to a flexible, elastic multi-workload private cloud platform should drive server utilization rates up to a minimum of 60%,” he says.

Basically, there is no reason to physically expand when you can make much better use of your current machines through virtualization.

Your data center doesn’t need to be bigger. Does it need to exist?

Should You Use Colocation?

A data center is incredibly costly. First, it’s a piece of real estate. It was not just expensive to build but is expensive to maintain, since computing is so fundamental to business and requires built-in redundancies. People with technical backgrounds must be trained to manage the infrastructure. Plus, it isn’t an agile choice. Unlike cloud, a data center cannot be immediately dissolved when transitioning to a more virtualized system.

Consider colocation, argues Longbottom. “You retain full ownership and responsibility for the IT equipment, but the facility owner takes responsibility for all that grunt work,” he says.”[T]hey look after power to your equipment, ensure that there is enough cooling and maintain connectivity to the outside world.”

It’s also easier to handle physical security simply because there are so many customers and the costs of monitoring can be distributed throughout all parties.

While your own data center has set parameters, you should be able to easily adjust your space needs in a colocation environment. Now, that’s partially dependent on your provider. You want a hosting company that will make sure they are prepared for your potential growth.

It’s not necessary for your company to have expertise in data center management. In fact, you don’t even have to be focusing on skills in the maintenance of infrastructural hardware. When you take a “cloud and colocation” perspective, you want to focus more in terms of best completing tasks, integrating various elements, and delivering the strongest possible user experience. That’s the sea change of the third platform.

Controlling Your IT Budget Externally

It’s only the first step to decide if you want to try colocation. You want to be gearing yourself toward a diversified, loosely coupled infrastructure that takes advantage of the ecosystems created by third parties.

Public cloud is becoming a more central part of new development, notes Longbottom.

*Related* The key concern with public cloud is that you use a provider delivering the technology “as it was meant to be.” At Superb, we use distributed rather than centralized storage (the latter wrongly used by many cloud providers), so that even multiple node failures don’t affect performance or data. We also leverage InfiniBand for networking instead of 10 Gigabit Ethernet (10 GigE), because the former has dozens of times lower latency than the theoretical minimum of the latter. Get a Superb cloud VM.

You also want to explore software-as-a-service options. In those cases, you are allowing the outside tech company to handle the entire platform.

Along with using SaaS to handle some basic day-to-day tasks, you can manage the security of your virtual and physical systems through cloud security-as-a-service companies.

You can also used managed platforms for development and testing of your new applications.

Are you wanting to work with your own programs rather than do SaaS? It may still make sense to get a cloud server to run it.

Your budget for 2016 should be geared toward eventual removal of the data center entirely in the years to come. You want to be spending in ways that will allow an easier transition completely away from your own facility and toward environments that embrace agility as a core value, Longbottom remarks. “Invest in IT tools that enable greater workload portability,” he says, “in systems that enable ‘what if?’ scenario planning around end-to-end performance management in real time.”

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