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What Time is the Right Time for Colocation?

When does a small company decide to outsource data storage?

If you’re in charge of IT infrastructure for a small business, finding the right solutions can be a complicated puzzle that comes along with a major headache. Between branch office expansions and external web application growth, finding a future-proof solution is mandatory to keep afloat. This has sparked many to move servers out of an office closet and to the cloud, or to colocation.

Both options offer benefits to small businesses. Cloud platforms provide scalability and reduced upfront costs. However, they come with their fair share of fees – which can be unpredictable and often grow exponentially once your business starts to take off. Also, cloud solutions don’t make sense for every workload. Application storage must be addressed strategically if you want to reap the benefits of an optimized IT infrastructure.

This is where colocation comes into play.

What is colocation?

Colocation refers to data center real estate. With the proper power, cooling and security to host businesses’ computer hardware and servers. You are able to access your equipment at your convenience, but the provider does not manage your workloads and has zero visibility into your programs. Capacity can include anything from partial cabinets, full cabinets and cages, to private suites and even entire data centers. Often, colocation providers lease space to various tenants looking for colocation services – including network providers, cloud providers and enterprises. These tenants can then interconnect with one another within the data center and do business together.

Benefits of data center colocation

1. Shared Cost
Colocation allows companies to take advantage of economies of scale. When the cost of power, space, and redundant infrastructure is shared by multiple tenants, it is much more cost-effective than maintaining separate facilities. With this setup, small companies can take advantage of better infrastructure and prime geographical locations.

2. Uptime Reliability
In 2016, the average cost of an hour of downtime was $8,600 for small businesses. Availability is an important IT factor, no matter the size of the business. When you outsource servers to colocation, the provider takes on the burden of power, network and cooling infrastructure and often offers service level agreements for uptime.

3. Increased Security
When opting for colocation, small businesses gain new levels of physical security that they may not have been able to afford on their own. Security officers, restricted access, security cameras and other measures have been taken by the provider to protect your equipment.

4. Scalability
Colocation provides the ability to scale quickly and easily, especially compared to on-site servers. While cloud is the most flexible option for start-ups, it may not be cost-effective long term. Whether you start small and need to expand or move into a new market, data centers can usually quickly meet your requirements (though this ability does vary per provider).

5. Connectivity
Connectivity is where colocation truly shines. Carrier-neutral data centers contain a marketplace of networks and cloud providers competing for your business. The amount of these providers within a facility is marked as a competitive differentiator for data centers. Within a centralized environment, you are able to directly connect to network, cloud and IT service providers.

6. Expert Support
For companies that may have limited experience in IT infrastructure, the ability to consult and get advice from experts is a huge advantage. Many providers also offer remote hands services and can complete troubleshooting, cabling, replacements and other projects so that company personnel don’t have to come to the physical data center location.

For small or medium sized businesses, the decision to outsource your data storage is a huge undertaking. Colocation and cloud providers offer excellent services to make your transition simple and as pain-free as possible.

The CoreSite Team
Combining expertise, research and thought leadership to inform and advance hybrid IT.