Colocation vs. Cloud Computing: Do you know the difference?

Today, there are plenty of remote computing options available for businesses, and sometimes it can get confusing and difficult to decide which makes the most sense. Before making big decisions like this, organizations have to evaluate themselves and define their current IT environment and any needs or goals. This makes it a lot easier to move forward and make sense of the clutter. A couple of the options businesses might face are colocation and cloud computing. These are both useful solutions for different reasons, so it really depends what a business is looking for.

What is colocation?

Colocation is when a business owns, maintains and manages its own equipment and infrastructure – just not in its own facility. Instead, the business rents space in a colocation facility, or data center, and shares the costs of power, cooling, floor space, and more with other tenants.

What are you outsourcing?

  • Storage/physical space
  • Location maintenance
  • Power
  • Cooling

Major Considerations:

  • Colocation requires a business to purchase its own equipment and deal with upgrades and enhancements
  • With colocation, the business’ IT team is responsible for monitoring, maintaining and managing the computing equipment

What is cloud computing?

Cloud computing is similar to colocation only in that businesses are able to achieve cost savings by using a shared facility. However, with cloud computing, the provider owns, supplies and manages the customer’s infrastructure (servers, storage, network elements) and cloud services. The cloud provider even takes on the basic day-to-day tasks, like troubleshooting, routine maintenance, and more. Cloud computing delivers the solutions and infrastructure as a service to organizations. This computing method eliminates capital expenditure for many businesses and greatly reduces operational expenditure.

What are you outsourcing?

  • Storage/physical space
  • Location maintenance
  • Power
  • Cooling
  • Infrastructure/equipment
  • Infrastructure maintenance
  • Management
  • System/location security
  • Upgrades

Major Benefits:

  • Businesses can hand off infrastructure management to the cloud provider and free up their IT team to focus on strategic business projects
  • Cloud computing provides the flexibility to scale resources and capacity up or down based on need/demand
  • The pay-as-you-go model ensures that businesses only pay for exactly what they use

How do you choose?

The two outsourcing options were designed to meet different business needs, so it really depends what you’re looking for.

Go with colocation if…

You have a solid infrastructure in place at the moment, but maybe just lack the space or power on-site to maintain the hardware. Businesses that really want full control of their hardware may opt for colocation too. Colocation can also be used as a backup solution, though cloud addresses this need as well.

Go with cloud if…

You want hardware and software infrastructure supplied and fully managed for you. This means a business accesses resources like servers, software and network elements as a service. Cloud is the way to go if you don’t have infrastructure already in place, or don’t want to spend anymore time maintaining and updating your infrastructure. If you intend to replace your infrastructure anytime soon, you may want to consider cloud so you can access updated resources easily and efficiently, while avoiding expensive refresh cycles.

While both colocation and cloud computing deliver benefits far beyond traditional computing, the cloud may be the smarter option for companies looking to make a big change and improve their business operations overall. To learn more about cloud computing, begin some of our free courses here.

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