Deciding between on-premises datacenter vs. colocation?

By Lori McConvilleBlog

Most businesses don’t know where to begin when it comes to comparing the benefits of moving to a colocation datacenter vs. keeping an on-premises datacenter.

When IT departments¬¬ are faced with shrinking budgets, and demands for greater availability, it’s time to review the organization’s data center strategy, including where it’s housed and who is managing it.

For Brett Taylor, the Executive Director of Technology at UnityPoint Health, his own datacenter is a source of pride, it’s personal, and giving the on-premises datacenter up was no easy decision. However, at the same time, he recognized some short-comings by having the datacenter onsite.

Taylor, himself, has built three datacenters and led four major datacenter moves. He understands both on-premises and colocation benefits, but also understood the need to face reality of protecting the data within our site as well as improving uptime all without increasing the cost to UnityPoint Health.

“Having the datacenter on-site and managed by our own staff caused its own set of challenges,” Taylor said. “In the beginning, when the datacenter was right there in the same building, everybody seemed to think they needed access and would walk through the datacenter just because they could. In reality very few roles actually required that you physically touch the hardware. Having it on-site was almost too convenient to make a change whereas now, while only 15 minutes away, it still makes you think before you make a change and that has led to better planning.”

To address the problem, Taylor began researching the criteria needed to house his equipment. He knew it had to be between five and 10 miles from the technology team, must be accessible at any hour day or night, and proper certification to meet security standards was a must. Additionally, he stressed that he had to have a clean, secure facility. And, because it was an off-site location, his staff would still need 24/7 access.

Once he found Enseva, he knew he found the company that could meet all his criteria. At that point, he partnered with them to begin plans on a new site and move his datacenter to their state-of-the-art facility.

Many of today’s growing companies are now faced with the same decision Taylor had to make for UnityPoint Health.

Going with an experienced IT company such as Enseva has plenty of advantages, which includes:

  • Peace of mind – IT teams have valuable expert experience and are constantly faced with a variety of scenarios. They are also up-to-date with the latest certifications and know how fast the industry evolves, understanding the need to stay ahead of it.
  • Value added, but no replacement – Colocation datacenters are not about replacing jobs. With UnityPoint Health, Taylor’s team still has 24-hour access to their equipment. Outsourcing the facility infrastructure to a third-party company frees resources that can be directed to other areas of business that need attention, therefore increasing productivity.
  • Risk mitigation – By having the company’s datacenter separate from headquarters means one catastrophic incident will not wipe out everything.
  • Reduced power costs – Power is a big cost to maintain a data center. Datacenter operators are able to negotiate lower costs that can be 40 to 60 percent less than regular on-premises costs.


While many businesses that think they need on-site datacenter services, the fact that a colocation datacenter managed by a third-party can decrease costs, improve service, offer faster, reliable performance and innovation and, most of all, increased security – they might just change their mind.