Magazine Button
The future of colocation: Does it have a role in a cloud-led business?

The future of colocation: Does it have a role in a cloud-led business?

CloudData CentresDigital TransformationInsightsNetwork & StorageOperations & SystemsStorageThought LeadershipTop Stories

There are many benefits of colocation – one being how it enables organisations to embrace Digital Transformation without taking on additional data security risk. Liam Taylor, Head of Data Centre Operations at Node4, explores the function of colocation in cloud-led businesses of all maturities and why it is a Digital Transformation alternative to fully public or private cloud architecture.

Colocation is a cloud enabler that is gaining significant traction as a high-performance lower-risk hosting solution.

As such, it is playing a unique and increasingly vital role in helping organisations build or strengthen their cloud-led business credentials. This is especially true in the area of business-critical application deployment.

It’s a trend that is intensifying as businesses prepare for post-pandemic economic recovery and growth and rethink what agility really means. Rather than going ‘all in’ with cloud, they’re viewing colocation as a powerful alternative that offers significant advantages for any enterprise looking to underpin a multi-cloud or hybrid cloud model.

Cost-effective agility and performance – with no loss of control

In a multi-cloud or hybrid cloud model, colocation empowers businesses to deploy critical applications and workloads from a highly available, highly secure data centre. By enabling their workloads to access public and private cloud environments via the data centre, companies are able to benefit from the agility, resiliency and connectivity of the cloud without losing technical control or incurring the costs associated with creating their own data centre.

Indeed, deploying business-critical apps from a colocation facility represents a win-win on a number of fronts. Compared to deploying on-premises, organisations get to benefit from all the availability, power, cooling and networking they’ll need with none of the associated overheads.

Similarly, scaling with a public cloud can prove an expensive proposition. Worse still, these environments can often struggle to cope with the workload demand peaks of core business apps. By utilising colocation, organisations are able to prioritise performance – including availability and latency – for their critical apps while continuing to deploy lower-level functions via a public cloud as needed.

Finally, while private clouds may be an excellent choice for delivering the high customisation and performance organisations need for business critical apps, their made-to-measure approach is notoriously expensive. However, colocation facilities give organisations access to a flexible and highly customisable infrastructure that makes it possible to deploy and retain control over servers without having to invest in bespoke architecture.

Data sovereignty and regulatory management

Recent research reveals that organisations are also switching to colocation to enable cloud performance and scalability, while controlling data integrity. That’s because colocation allows data to be stored and managed much closer to their hosting solution, network and cybersecurity. This means that organisations are able to address data sovereignty concerns without compromising their multi-cloud strategies.

This is important for multiple reasons. Firstly, advancing Digital Transformation often involves the rapid expansion of digital estates and navigating rapidly evolving privacy laws. So technical control and accessibility will be essential to reduce the risk of data loss, silos and non-compliance.

Additionally, many organisations now find themselves subject to post-Brexit regulations that prevent them from processing data outside the country it is generated in, which effectively rules out public cloud. Unlike colocation facilities, which allow for easy location data audits, public cloud or third-party private cloud providers can prove not so forthcoming when it comes to permitting on-site audits.

Finally, as demand grows for rapid business insights and application performance, latency is becoming increasingly critical. To avoid serious latency and network congestion, data should ideally be processed near to where it is generated, which means that remaining on-premises will dramatically impact an organisation’s business improvement and competitive ambitions.

By delivering fast connectivity to public or private cloud environments and providing technical control at proximate facilities, colocation enables organisations to embrace Digital Transformation without taking on additional data security risk.

Hassle-free business scalability

Every IT leader is looking to improve performance and resiliency and reduce risk and expenditure. While public clouds appear to tick all these boxes, scratch the surface and the reality is not so clear-cut.

Easy, CapEx-free, pay-per-usage scalability is one of public cloud’s most appealing benefits, but how much value does pay-as-you-go add for core application usage? It’s a question that IT leaders are now asking as they consider whether it is more cost-effective to deploy apps that are the backbone of the business in a fixed price environment.

With unpredictability and frequent step changes now the norm, IT leaders know that it is highly likely that business critical applications will experience unforeseen and significant workload peaks. This in turn can result in unpredictable pay-per-use costs that will become hard to justify if these become a regular occurrence.

For this reason, deploying the enterprise’s ‘workhorse’ apps in a colocation facility that has direct access to public or private cloud environments makes a lot more sense. Delivering both high performance and predictable costs, together with the flexibility to expand or change deployments in the future.

Finally, while IT leaders want rapid scalability they are rightly cautious about placing core business functions with a single public or private cloud provider. The idea of being bound to a technical infrastructure over which they have no control is proving worrisome, as is being unable to visit sites and having no personal contact to discuss scaling requirements. Colocation, however, addresses all these concerns.

Colocation – a powerful Digital Transformation alternative to a fully public and private cloud architecture

The flexibility of the cloud is key for delivering rapid change that is the baseline for staying competitive in today’s increasingly digitally powered business world. From identifying trends to swiftly scaling a remote workforce or enforcing compliance within a new supply chain, becoming a cloud-led business is increasingly mission critical.

However, it’s clear that IT leaders are recognising how colocation can play a starring role in enabling cloud-led businesses at every level of Digital Transformation maturity. By introducing colocation as part of a hybrid or multi-cloud strategy, they’re able to improve the performance, agility and resiliency of their core business applications in a highly controlled and predictable manner.

Providing a risk averse option that offers fast data connectivity to public and private clouds and keeps spending under control, colocation also makes it possible to enable multi-cloud and hybrid cloud strategies in a way that constructively addresses concerns relating to data sovereignty, security and privacy regulations.

Click below to share this article

Browse our latest issue

Intelligent Data Centres

View Magazine Archive