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If Colocation is the Answer, What is the Question?

If Colocation is the Answer, What is the Question?

When it comes to resilient, affordable IT, it’s all about colocation, colocation, colocation.

I was talking to a customer recently about the age-old problem of delivering more for less. When I mentioned colocation, they initially dismissed it as a kind of Cloud-lite. Something that is more of a transitional phase for organisations that aren’t quite ready to move to a hosted solution.

I know the customer is always supposed to be right, but on this occasion…

This assumes a very narrow perspective of what colocation is and what it can offer your organisation. Yes, colocation can be used as a part of your cloud migration plan, but it shouldn’t be seen as a temporary fix. For many of our customers that have successfully reduced costs and driven additional value, colocation is an integral part of their hybrid IT strategy; consuming a combination of on-premises, Cloud and data centre services.

Whether you are looking to pro-actively drive greater innovation as a part of a digital transformation strategy, or simply sweat some old assets for a while longer, colocation may be the answer.

It is not my intention in this article to discuss what colocation is, rather than what it does – how it answers a lot of the questions facing IT departments today. For any truly digital organisation, colocation can help demonstrate that IT is still able to deliver value for money, despite the moving goalposts.

We have all become increasingly dependent upon technology, not just for transformative projects, but to simply carry out business as usual tasks. The proliferation of user-owned devices, the arrival of the Internet of Things and an increasingly mobile workforce means big data is a way of life. The volume and variety of data produced by everyday workflows far exceeds expectations from as little as 3-5 years ago. Any infrastructure older than this must be stretched to the limit.

In its 2016 report, the Uptime Institute revealed that 65% of enterprise applications are still run in private data centre facilities, 22% are collocated and 12% run exclusively in the cloud. The trouble is, on-premises facilities are typically constrained, either by budget or capacity. As the demands of big data become greater, organisations need to look elsewhere for long-term support.

The physical and virtual resources available to most businesses on-premises are not infinite. Adding flexibility, capacity or agility cannot come at the expense of availability or security. This is where colocation comes into its own; allowing you to drive new projects and innovations in a controlled environment; move new services to the cloud and reduce the strain on internal resources. It is these drivers/factors that are contributing to the expected adoption of colocation which according to TechNavio will grow at a compound annual growing rate of 14.43% through to 2018.

A recent IDC report (April 2017) suggests it’s going to be a big year for hyper-scale data centres; but that this growth will not come at the expense of colocation. The growth in colocation adoption over the past five years is set to continue, as customers continue to enjoy the benefits of flexibility and scalability that typify a colocation model.

Another way in which colocation can add value is in the alleviation of pressure on internal resources. As hard as they work, you cannot expect an internal IT department to provide 24/7 technical support. In addition to the usual tasks associated with “keeping the lights on” there is an increasing emphasis on data management within the workplace – storage, back-up, disaster recovery, replication – it all takes time and resource.

If your IT department is spending all its time fighting fires, it doesn’t have time to dedicate to transformation and innovation. It becomes associated with things that don’t work, rather than making things work better, faster and smarter.

Colocation is also a great way to accelerate the implementation of new projects. Setting up development environments outside the legacy estate to introduce unified communications, back-up and disaster recovery services.

The title of this piece is “if colocation is the answer, what is the question?” So here are some of the questions.

How can I overcome budget constraints and cost effectively introduce new services?

My current back-up and DR service is not very flexible. How can I quickly and cost-effectively add more capacity?

I’m looking to switch to a UK data centre to mitigate any risks associated with data sovereignty and Brexit. What’s my best option?

I’m locked in to a DR contract that is difficult to manage. How can I simplify my data management?

I need to add storage and computing power quickly but don’t have any on-site capacity. What do I do?

When it comes to choosing a partner, it is worth remembering that not all colocation providers are the same. DC specifications and performance can vary widely and not all service providers are committed to adding value.

To see how colocation can play a vital part in your IT strategy, check out our Best Practice Guide. In this convenient guide, we explore the business and technology imperatives driving colocation; along with the key benefits and a 10-point guide to choosing your colocation partner.

Whether you are looking to deploy colocation for the first time, or looking to change your current service provider. Now is the ideal time to talk to Thrive.