How to Choose a Co-Location Services Provider

There is a simple why businesses of all sizes continue to invest more in data storage and computing. Few, if any, modern businesses can operate without information technology.

According to Cisco, data center workloads will more than double from 2014 to 2019, for example.

When large businesses reach about 75 percent of computing and data storage capacity, they begin to evaluate alternatives for adding capability.

Most often, the choices involve most often involve investing in colocation capacity or buying cloud storage, instead of building new owned computing facilities, according to 451 Research.

Why Colocate?

Colocation makes sense when owned hardware is nearing end of useful life. In other cases, decisions to “lease, rather than build” are driven by staff resources inadequate to manage the upgrades.

Also, colocation and outsourcing make sense  when firms want to reduce costs or security and compliance chores.

That is why the colocation market is forecast to grow at more than 12 percent annual rates between 2015 and 2019, according to researchers at Technavio.

That is driving the $23 billion annual revenues colocation business, 45 percent of which is activity in North America.  

Even firms presently using colocation can add incremental resources affordably by using cloud computing in a hybrid mode, as an alternative to buying and managing additional hardware.

Firms can buy computing or storage infrastructure “as a service.” In an IaaS model, a third-party provider hosts hardware, software, servers, storage and other infrastructure components on behalf of its users.

In other cases firms might choose to use public cloud, private cloud or “hypervisors as a service” (use of virtual machines).

In a public cloud scenario, businesses essentially rent computing cycles or storage on servers operated on a shared basis.

In a private cloud environment, businesses buy dedicated use of resources not shared with other customers.

“Hypervisor” is a method of efficiently running any application on “virtual machines” without having physical copies of software loaded to support operating systems.

What Questions Should You Ask, When Buying Colocation Services?

Colocation always involves space and power. Any colocation facility should have room to accommodate not only your present requirements, but future growth. Also, stability and reliability of power systems are essential for your own equipment and the data center overall, to operate servers and keep them cool.

But technical support also is crucial. Look for a provider with a seasoned staff and proven credentials. The staff has to be able to diagnose and fix any potential issues that could compromise the performance and security of your equipment and data, quickly and cost effectively.
Storage-as-a-service

Every business requires a convenient way to store key data. Storage as a service allows businesses to save and retrieve business data reliably and affordably, without manual intervention by company staff.

Using a SaaS service, a customer can specify what data must be stored, how often it should be saved and how fast it can be retrieved in the event of any data loss by primary systems.

Service level agreements can help assure that data is securely backed up and quickly restored if necessary.
Cloud Storage

Cloud storage is a service that maintains, manages and backs up key business data remotely, while available to users over a network  that typically is the Internet.

As with all other cloud services, businesses can buy public, private or hybrid service. Generally, public cloud storage is best for unstructured data. Private cloud arguably is more appropriate when businesses need more customization and control. Hybrid cloud might be best when a business wants access to actively used and structured data in a private cloud, while archival data can be kept in a public cloud.

Disaster Recovery-as-a-Service

DRaaS enables the full replication and backup of all business data and applications. It allows an organization that has experienced major or total failure of primary systems to continue with daily business processes while the primary system undergoes repair.

DRaaS also allows these applications to run on virtual machines (VM) at any time, even without a real disaster. That is useful if a business wants a “sandbox” to prototype or test major new applications without exposing or interfering with  primary systems

Direct connect to cloud service providers

Your data center connections to other partners must be reliable, safe, and fast. Dedicated connections are faster and feature less latency than Internet connections. That is important for important performance-sensitive applications such as video or voice communications and “virtual desktop” apps.

Direction connections minimize your disaster recovery response times, and allow large data transfers.

Backups

Backup as a service provides an automated and managed way to preserve key business data, Cloud backup, also known as online backup, is a service that automatically, on a fixed schedule, collects, compresses, encrypts and transfers data to a remote storage location.

Hypervisors-as-a-Service

A hypervisor, also called a virtual machine manager, is a program that allows multiple operating systems to share a single hardware host. Each operating system appears to have the host's processor, memory, and other resources all to itself.

Hypervisor as a service allows a business to buy that functionality without having to manage the process, maintain and update the virtual machines.

Every colocation service begins with space and power, but companies need to future-proof their decisions.

A colocation provider should have the technical and human ecosystems to provide direct access and cross-connects to a number of managed services providers and potential customers, while
Supporting and monitoring a business information technology environment 24x7x365, all in one facility.
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