IT infrastructure plays a significant role in improving the performance and productivity of an organization. Businesses have realized the immense benefits and opportunities of realigning their IT operations with the overall priorities and objectives of their businesses. Therefore, since IT operations are important in supporting businesses functions, and improving the operability of business activities, it is essential to ensure that all aspects of the IT infrastructure – – data, networks, important applications, software etc — in a data center have a 100% uptime and are well secured.
However, the capital expenditures that an organization can incur in establishing its own data center can be overwhelming. In addition, the costs of maintaining and updating a large data center facility can also be taxing to the organization. This calls for the need for an organization to outsource these essential services from a remote data center to save costs.
Colocation is a managed and cloud computing data center facility that enables organizations to outsource their IT services and computing needs from a colocation provider. A colocation provider offers remote hosting of computing hardware and equipment in a large data center where several organizations rent space. Clients have the ability to exercise full control and usages of their computing hardware, while the colocation provider oversees the management and control of the data center.
Colocation providers deploy various services that guarantee smooth and efficient running of IT functions for their clients. Not only does a colocation house computing equipment, but it also offers power energy for the computing equipment, cooling of computing hardware, bandwidth and security. This means that organizations can benefit by having their normal IT operations going on as scheduled in their physical location, as core computing operations run remotely in the data center.
Before enlisting the services of a remote data center, it is important for an organization to establish the benefits and value that it is going to derive by leasing a space from a colocation provider. The most vital aspect is to ensure that the business enjoys uninterrupted services from the provider. To establish if a colocation is ideal and benefits an organization, several factors should be considered. They include:
Each individual organization has its own unique computing needs that dictate the amount of control that should be exercised by its respective IT department. Choosing a reliable colocation provider, is therefore a matter of ensuring that the colocation prioritizes the computing needs of the organization. A reliable provider must be flexible, and accommodative to the individual needs of organizations to control their IT operations. Good providers usually customize their services to ensure that they meet individual requirements of their clients, such as allowing easy access for authorized staff members of an organization into the data center, accommodating individual design & installation and access to private data networking just to mention a few.
Security and Compliance
The physical security measures of your provider should be guaranteed. Deployment of technologies such as closed-circuit cameras, biometric scanner, alarm systems, card readers, video monitors and on-site security measures that prevent unauthorized access to the data center should be installed. In addition, a good provider should employ trained security personnel at the data center to complement the automated security systems in place. All these security measures should be up and working 24/7.
Apart from physical security, the provider should implement innovative security technologies for its clients’ computing hardware and equipment. The provider should prioritize the use of advanced innovative security systems such as threat detection technologies, DDoS protection, two-factor authentication protection and data network security.
Additionally, to ensure that security vulnerabilities of clients’ computing equipment are mitigated, the provider should be compliant with the regulatory standards of data centers such as the SSAE 16 service controls. For public traded companies, the colocation provider should ensure that its meets the Sarbanes- Oxley (SOX) compliance requirements and for e-commerce stores the provider should meet the Payment Card Industry Data Security (PCI DSS) standards. Also, it is important to ensure that the provider is able to meet specific compliance standards required for certain industries. For instance, businesses in the financial sector are required to meet the Federal Information Security Management Act of 2002 (FISMA) standards while those in healthcare sector should meet the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPPA) standards for all information security requirements.
The IT infrastructure involves various functions that support normal IT operations such as connectivity options, operating conditions, cooling technologies, structured cabling, load management, network redundancy, operating set points, managed hosting, life-cycle planning and failure analysis assessment just to mention a few. These services can be costly to any organization that decides to operate its own IT closet or data center.
On the other hand, a colocation data center provides several options of network provider and a cloud ecosystem of all these IT operations to its clients at an attractive cost that helps clients to make the huge saving on their computing needs.
For instance, the availability of multiple network providers in a colocation facility encourages competitive pricing by the various network vendors making it possible for a client to choose the most cost-effective vendor. In addition, increased competition attracts improved services and performance from the vendors so that they can remain on the competitive edge. In essence, a wide range of network options helps to ensure that that the bandwidth provided is efficient and allow unlimited access of computing applications and resources by the organization’s staff, customers and other stakeholders
Some reliable providers also offer carrier/network diversity and in other times, they offer access diversity that helps clients to reduce the losses or risk that would be occasioned by network failures or interruptions. Carrier diversity helps in supporting redundant network connectivity.
Redundant network connectivity, on the other hand, helps to secure a business from any network failures that may be costly. Redundant networks ensure that operations are not interrupted, or affected by any network failures, hence guaranteeing 100% uptime of all the computing needs of an organization.
The ecosystem of critical IT services provided by a colocation provider is effective in supporting all core services of the IT infrastructure. It is important for businesses to value the underlying benefits of their IT infrastructure and its impact on businesses operations: the wider the context of the IT environment and scope of the IT infrastructure, the more the need for an organization to rent the cloud services and space of a colocation.
As organizations grow and scale up their operations, so does their computing needs. It therefore, can be tedious for an organization to quickly and securely scale up their operations to meet its business needs without a prior plan.
One huge benefit that an organization will realize by outsourcing computing services from a colocation, is the ability to scale its IT operations to suit its immediate needs without incurring expensive costs of doing so. It is important for businesses to choose a provider who can make a swift adjustment to the computing needs that an organization requires.
The cost of establishing and maintaining a data center can be too expensive for most organizations. Moreover, an increase in computing needs of an organization can complicate the equation because the organization has to upgrade its data center to meets its computing requirements.
However, when an organization decides to lease a space from a colocation provider, the capital expenditure and operating expenditure is drastically reduced and can be predetermined each month, thus enabling an organization to have extra capital resources that could be channeled into other areas of business investments. Simply, the organization benefits from additional financing from leasing services from a remote data center than when it builds its own data center.
Economies of Scale
One huge advantage that colocations provide their clients is the economies of scale. Providers are able to pool various clients who share the costs of expenses that the data center incurs, resulting to lower costs for the clients.
Economies of scale help colocation providers to invest in state-of-the-art facilities and equipment, that provide clients with improved services that guarantee efficiency in the computing needs and helps organizations to save costs. Economies of scale also helps providers in reducing costs involved in providing efficient physical security services, enhanced data security, access to new and emergent technologies, reduced power usage, improved connectivity etc.
All these services help organizations to reduce operational risks and lower the costs of running their IT operations, thus allowing clients to focus on more pertinent business functions.
Colocations concentrate majorly on providing efficient data center services to their clients, and thus they have the resources and time to invest in better technologies that can help advance the services that they have available to their clients.
Providers usually deploy services of experienced and professional staff that ensure that the core functions of the data center run uninterrupted. This ensures that clients do not have to worry about any interruptions and can run their IT operations smoothly at any time.
Providers also deploy their services 24/7/365 hence reducing the burden that clients would face if they were to maintain, service, and update their IT infrastructure frequently for continual improvement of IT functions.
Colocations ensure that they have backup power supply systems, carrier diversity & redundant network connectivity, reliable cooling technologies, layered security services and managed & cloud services that ensure non-interruption of IT operations at all times. Additionally, providers usually offer 24/7 customer service that can help clients address any emergency issues such as server reboots in good time. They also help clients in equipment racking, cabling and design of the IT environment, which also ensures that the IT infrastructure is up, and running in good time.
Providers usually employ experts in handling various function of the IT infrastructure such as a cooling experts for handling cooling technologies, a design and installation expert, and an expert in structured cabling among others. These dedicated experts are helpful in hastening the setting up of the IT environment so that a business can commence its operation with ease.
Time to Market
If an organization decides to establish its own data center, it may take several months if not years for the whole project to be completed. On the other hand, leasing the same services from a colocation provider, it can help an organization to begin its operation almost immediately with minimal stress. In addition, remote data center provider’s helps businesses to scale up their IT infrastructure anytime without the need to remodel the data center, hence promoting the improved continuity of IT operations for the organizations.
Organizations should be keen when making a decision about a reliable colocation provider to ensure that they make the best choice of a data center that helps them to improve their business performance. An organization should make a good choice based on their computing needs and the overall value that it will derive from the colocation.