What Is Colocation and How Does It Compare to the Public Cloud?

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Click to learn more about author Ashok Sharma.

Most IT companies are under constant pressure to innovate with new data center technologies, which is why many are turning to colocation and the public cloud. Both technologies help to cut costs and improve the efficiency of the system. In addition, they help in delivering on-demand services and provide businesses with an added advantage. 

If you are considering colocation, there are some facts you need to know. First, there is a difference if you compare it with cloud technology. Colocation is high-tech real estate or outsourced data center space – something like TRG Datacenters – whereas cloud computing is the name for hardware or software available via the internet. 

What Is Colocation?

Many people believe that colocation is just a data center where you get access to floor space, internet connection, and electrical power. But in reality, colocation is more than the data center facility. Some of the most prominent colocation data centers offer a host of services that you can use. 

It includes managed IT to hybrid cloud and greater power density, which can help you in scaling and supporting new technology. In addition, some data center colocation offers a connection to public cloud providers such as Amazon Web Services and Google Cloud Platform. 

In colocation, power redundancy, physical security, and access to telecommunication carriers are a part of real estate. Therefore, colocation may be preferable over the private cloud if you want to use specific hardware. 

What Is the Public Cloud?

The public cloud provides IT services, and infra off-site offers a network that is open to the public. It is an excellent solution for all the big organizations that are looking to reduce expenditures. Public cloud environments provide complete scalability without compromising the security of the network

For some people, the cloud means private or public, and for some, it means hybrid cloud. In the public cloud setup, customer-hosted applications share computing resources and storage with other people on a single hosting platform. The resources are hosted in a multi-tenant architecture, while for public cloud, it refers to on-demand resources. 

Pros and Cons of Colocation

Pros:

  • If you prefer to use your hardware, colocation is an ideal option for you. 
  • It is ideal for bigger businesses that are always concerned about public cloud security. 
  • Colocation lets you maintain self-ownership of business-critical applications and sensitive data. Organizations that have huge investments in technologies can move their resources in colocation. 
  • It provides modern facilities, which help you gain an upper advantage over data recovery and redundancy over compliance. 
  • Colocation arrangement is flexible and allows businesses to grow without sacrificing control, and can be the first step to building a proper hybrid cloud. 
  • Colocation is a shared facility where companies share the costs of communication, power, cooling, and data center floor space. 
  • It helps address all the limitations of the existing data center; you can augment the current data center by using the space. 
  • It provides access to a higher-level bandwidth as compared to an office server.
  • Data centers in the colocation facilities are more reliable, and they offer better protection from power outages as numerous data backups are in place.
  • It provides a higher level of physical protection as colocation centers apply more measures for securing the data center systems.

Cons:

  • The only disadvantage of colocation is that it comes with extra cost. It requires effort to manage and monitor the tools. 

Pros and Cons of the Public Cloud

Pros:

  • Public cloud solutions allow you to grow at an incredible speed. This feature is impossible in the local data center. 
  • The division of resources between different customers is done dynamically, which can help to double the amount of storage to meet the peak demand. Moreover, it happens without increasing the cost of the system or your workload. 
  • A majority of IT firms see the implementation of the disaster recovery plan as complex and hard to deploy. 
  • Service providers such as Microsoft Azure provide disaster recovery for all the major IT systems without expenditures of secondary infrastructures. In addition, it has minimal risk of losing data, as cloud providers offer multiple backups. 
  • All the costs associated with bandwidth, applications, and hardware are the responsibility of the service provider. The payment of the services is monthly or annually. 
  • Public cloud hosting makes it easy to adapt peak loads. The client can add or delete the resources based on needs. As a result, it reduces the complexity and implementation time required for testing. 

Cons:

  • The privacy of the data hosted on a public cloud network remains a concern. The provider may offer many security features, but the owner should adopt practices of cybersecurity. Misuse of infrastructure by another company in a public network can cause harm to your system.
  • The pay-as-you-use model in cloud computing is flexible, but it can be expensive. Left to self-services without any cost control can burn a hole in the pocket. 
  • There is a lack of close support in the cloud network as some applications do not support virtualization and need dedicated physical servers. In addition, some licenses may not be reusable, so the company will have to buy new licenses. 
  • It lacks customization as the cloud has a complex architecture and network. 

Comparing Colocation with the Public Cloud

The main difference between the public cloud and colocation is the way all the data is stored and managed. It refers to the difference between physical assets and virtual assets in a network. Like colocation, even public cloud infrastructure offers cost-saving features because it uses shared facilities. 

In cloud services, the cloud provider manages your server, all the network elements, and storage. The provider is responsible for setting up all the elements in your system and operating the expenditure costs. Colocation requires the business to set up their servers, storage, and network elements, which incurs added costs in making a move. 

Many businesses prefer public cloud networks because they prefer to use the data centers for productive tasks or expansion. Others use the public cloud because it offers flexibility to rapidly scale the data capacity based on fluctuating business needs. 

Here, the provider controls the cloud environment and manages infra resources without being physically present. Cloud providers offer the advantage of managing the data, but the actual conflict lies when the data needs an expansion. 

More data means added storage and costs in the cloud network. That’s why some companies prefer colocation, as it is less costly to build a physical data center using data. In addition, it is more flexible, as businesses rent space for only the assets that are limited based on subscription. 

Concluding Thoughts

Colocation and the public cloud offer business alternatives to housing data. Based on the service requirements, each one has its pros and cons. Before you choose a colocation provider, look at the most significant problems of each and the data center requirements. 

Consider all your cloud requirements and data center locations. Also, consider the colocation providers’ pricing model. Both colocation and public cloud cost-effectively offer secure networks. 

However, colocation falls into the private cloud family, where the firms need to purchase their servers, networking, rack space, and software. Therefore, knowing a colocation service that will fit your business needs will help to scale your business.

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