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Data center colocation can be an ideal solution when disaster strikes.

Data center colocation a prime option for disaster recovery

Responding to disasters effectively is a mission-critical task, and working with a colocation provider can make the entire process easier. While dealing with disasters is increasingly part of broad corporate awareness in the United States after major, highly publicized storms in recent years, many organizations are still figuring out exactly what to do during an emergency.

A study from TheInfoPro found that one in five Fortune 1000 companies don't have any sort of disaster recovery plan, even though their is generally more awareness of disasters and their implications in the business world, BizTech reported.

While much of the news attention goes to hurricanes, tornadoes and other types of natural cataclysms, human error may be the biggest threat to organizations, industry expert Andrew Klos told the news source. Klos mentioned that a variety of solutions are emerging to help companies more easily establish disaster recovery plans, and data center colocation is among them.

Colocation services can be an ideal solution for disaster recovery because they provide organizations with a cost-efficient way to create a backup data center configuration. At the same time, colocation providers create resilient and redundant facility and network architectures, making their data centers a reliable solution when disaster strikes.

Data center colocation plans can play a key part in helping you reduce IT costs when you manage the service well.

3 ways to keep data center colocation costs under control

Partnering with a colocation provider can be an excellent way to reduce capital and operational costs. However, colocation is not always a price-focused plan. In fact, increasingly competitive industry dynamics have led many vendors to put less emphasis on price and more of a focus on creating value through advanced technologies and services. This can end up benefiting colocation clients in many ways, but many IT leaders still need to think about keeping costs under control even if they are primarily thinking about value with colocation services.

Avoiding excess spending and generating a return on investment is completely viable when implementing colocation strategies, and a few ways to take complete control of costs include:

1. Keep infrastructure TCO in mind
Total cost of ownership is always a key component of any infrastructure purchasing decision. You don't just want a server, storage system or network solution that is cheap, you need infrastructure that operates efficiently over time and is reliable enough to keep repair and replacement costs under control. These TCO issues become a bit more complex when implementing a data center colocation strategies.

On one hand, organizations that leverage colocation can use the service plan to reduce TCO dramatically by having infrastructure hosted in an incredibly efficient facility system. With a reliable, technically advanced facility in place, infrastructure gets hosted in an optimal environment and is more likely to operate at peak efficiency for long. This can mean that infrastructure that is especially reliable or that offers performance advantages can end up becoming more valuable over time as it thrives in the advanced data center configuration. At the same time, some applications and data sets may be cheaper to put on cheap infrastructure that you can phase out and replace easily in the flexible facility configuration.

Having a clear idea of how you plan on managing your IT setup and how the vendor's facility strategies impacts system functionality can play a key part in helping you maximize value by effectively evaluating TCO.

2. Have a clear long-term plan
Data center sprawl is a major challenge for any organization. Between cloud solutions that are readily available to business users, escalating storage demands and a need to host a variety of application instances to support different mobile operating systems, IT teams find themselves in a situation in which the data center setup quickly becomes too big and unwieldy to manage.

The data center without walls movement is simultaneously a cause of this problem and the clearest solution. Cloud computing, solutions like data center colocation and other data center services are giving companies an opportunity to expand their IT functionality beyond the walls of their data center facility. Essentially, the data center walls become meaningless as the IT configuration can be spread across a variety of internal and third-party facilities to create more flexibility and scalability.

The ability to spread data center resources across a variety of locations creates freedom to expand flexibly and make an efficient data center move to support various projects and efforts. All of this is possible with minimal disruption, and the result is an IT ecosystem that is much easier to expand. This can easily lead to data center sprawl if IT teams are not disciplined enough to keep plans under control.

At the same time, eliminating the limitations of the data center walls means you have the flexibility to adapt to changing IT demands and constantly create value. Taking full advantage of colocation without risking data center sprawl hinges on having a long-term plan in place to ensure all of your decisions are not short-sited, reactionary choices and are, instead, fitting within broad technology plans.

3. Understand what you control
Working with a colocation provider is an opportunity to give up some elements of control in the data center without sacrificing the things you care about. That said, most colocation vendors will also act as a data center services provider, handling some of the infrastructure management for you if you wish. This can be incredibly beneficial as it frees your IT staff from having to deal with all of the systems and makes it easier to move infrastructure to a remote location. However, you also have to make sure the vendor services are creating value for you, not just creating excess costs.

This is where understanding exactly what you control, and what the vendor handles for you, is incredibly important. Regardless of whether your colocation provider is managing your configuration or not, your service level agreement should define which parties are responsible for various tasks. Understanding exactly which things you control and which issues are handled by the vendor makes it easier to balance priorities and maximize efficiency, keeping costs under control as your colocation plan evolves.

Data center colocation is often a key cost control or expense reducing strategy. However, there are ways that poor management can lead to costs getting out of control. Make sure you are taking a holistic approach to your colocation plan to avoid any problems.

The data center connectivity solutions that come with colocation plans can help organizations deal with IT consumerization.

Consumerization creating new data center connectivity needs

Working with a colocation provider is an excellent way to access robust connectivity resources to interconnect systems across multiple facilities and deliver Web resources effectively. This functionality is becoming extremely important as the consumerization of IT movement rises.

Consumerization is a response to increased smartphone and tablet use among enterprise employees. There is more to consumerization than mobility, but the short version of the story is that new ways to access technology in the enterprise is leaving workers consuming IT services just like they would access personal apps.

This move of taking a consumer approach to IT doesn't just change how technology teams deliver services, it also has a huge impact on where users access technology. Enterprise employees are increasingly working remotely from whichever locations are most convenient to them. This means that companies don't just need to deliver apps and data efficiently, they need to get it to more diverse endpoints in varied locations.

Data center connectivity solutions that come alongside colocation plans can be ideal in this situation because the advanced interconnects and access to operator networks make it easier to securely and quickly send data over the Web without having to sacrifice performance for end users.

Working with a colocation provider can make it easier to protect data.

3 ways data center colocation supports data protection plans

Companies that turn to a colocation provider can find themselves in a position to improve their data protection capabilities. Trying to find a way to secure key information is among the greatest challenges facing organizations, and companies that take advantage of colocation strategies can pay off in this area. Three ways that colocation solutions serve to further data protection plans include:

1. Better physical protection
Data theft doesn't just happen when organizations have their systems hacked. It can also occur when unauthorized personnel get access to physical systems or employees choose to sell data to competitors for a high fee. Finding ways to effectively prevent unauthorized individuals from gaining physical access to data can go a long way toward preventing data breaches. 

Finding success in this area requires multi-layered entry and exit strategies and intelligent locking mechanisms on racks or cabinets to ensure only authorized individuals are able to access systems. Furthermore, housing data in a remote facility makes it even more difficult for unauthorized employees to get to as they don't just need to break through rack security systems, but the entire access control scheme in place at the colocation center.

2. Advanced network protection
Gaining access to the network is increasingly simple for hackers as they can use the ease with which organizations try to support smartphones and tablets to easily slide a device onto the corporate network without notice. Housing data in a colocation facility separates it from all of those easy network access points and segregates data from the Internet as a whole. On top of that, many colocation providers use advanced tools like network monitoring and intelligent firewalls to keep networks secure.

3. Redundancy
Protecting data isn't just about keeping it out of the hands of unauthorized personnel, it also hinges on avoiding data loss and ensuring constant availability. This can be incredibly hard to manage for organizations facing data center limitations and struggling to find fiscal resources to support IT projects. A data center colocation plan will usually feature redundant network and power systems, making it much easier to ensure that information is continually available whether you are using the strategy as a primary configuration or for backup purposes.

Security is becoming a priority for businesses as data privacy becomes a point of emphasis in many industries. Data center colocation plans can ease data protection burdens and help organizations access robust tools in a cost-efficient way.

International data laws could create new potential for growth in the data center colocation sector.

Globalization offers potential for data center colocation

Data center colocation services are facing numerous challenges as reactive international data privacy laws are impacting how organizations manage information across national boundaries. While the difficulties associated with legal change are considerable, this new legal climate also creates considerable potential for colocation industry growth.

A recent Data Center Knowledge report explained that the rise of the Internet as a pervasive means for accessing, sharing and consuming information has led to a complex web of interconnected services and systems that are not directly tied to national boundaries. However, the data privacy issues that come into play in the Web are becoming more complicated as different countries adopt new laws as a reaction to Internet privacy challenges.

Dealing with a changing legal climate
The news source explained that new laws that are either ratified, and becoming active soon, or already in place, are starting to have a huge impact on how data is managed across jurisdictional boundaries. There have been plenty of discussions around these challenges when it comes to cloud computing, but new laws are set to have a more sweeping impact. For example, a law in Russia mandates that all information pertaining to Russian citizens needs to be stored within national borders. The report explained that the law is not yet active, but it will be soon.

Similarly, the report explained that Microsoft is facing a legal challenge in which the U.S. government is set to issue a warrant mandating that the company provides data that is currently stored in a data center based in Ireland. These types of issues create new challenges for colocation vendors and other data center services providers, as those entities will need to find ways to manage these different laws and adjust their services accordingly.

While challenges abound, there is also considerable potential.

What new laws could mean in the colocation sector
In many cases, a colocation provider will have multiple facilities spread across multiple locations. In some situations, vendors will have facilities spread across multiple nations. The result is a situation in which colocation clients could more easily manage user data when they serve international customers. For example, if a U.S.-based company needs to host data of U.K. customers in the U.K., they can lease colocation space in a New York and a London data center, with U.S. customer data handled in New York and U.K. customer information stored in London.

Geographic diversity is a major benefit of colocation services, and this could end up paying dividends as companies are tasked with dealing with complex international data laws.

Data center colocation can help organizations develop flexible technology architectures that can fuel innovation.

3 ways working with a colocation provider makes an IT difference

Data center colocation services are all about the facility. Vendors built advanced data centers and robust network systems and open the doors for clients to lease raised floor space and offices at the location. this sounds simple enough, and in a way it is genuinely easy. Companies look at how much data center space they need, they figure out the location where they need that room and they rent out part of the facility. It isn't all that different than renting an apartment. At least, that's how things worked in the past. The colocation industry is changing, and while this shift may lead to more complexity, it also creates opportunities for value creation.

Emerging colocation models are about more than just providing a data center where companies can house servers. They are about providing the kind of sophisticated and well-designed facility resources that businesses need to foster IT innovation. This is incredibly important as a variety of technology trends put pressure on IT leaders to find better ways to get the job done. Three especially noteworthy ways in which the facility-related benefits of colocation can lead to IT gains for clients include:

1. Sustainability
Energy efficiency is a major stumbling block for legacy IT systems, but investing in sustainability can also be too expensive to fit into technology budgets that are focused on minimizing costs and maximizing ROI. On top of all this, companies are facing mounting pressure in the form of regulatory standards and social responsibility concerns from the public that are pushing them to operate more efficiently.

Sustainability problems can be a major roadblock to innovation. You aren't going to be able to buy more servers if your chillers are already pushing power demands beyond fiscally and environmentally sustainable barriers. It can also be difficult to free capital for efficiency-focused benefits when you are constantly spending excessively on operational costs created by high power consumption.

A colocation provider will usually build its facilities to incredibly high standards for sustainability. The degree of emphasis on efficiency will vary from one provider to the next, but their ability to cost-efficiently host equipment has a huge impact on their bottom line. As such, moving infrastructure into a colocation facility can often end up creating the cost savings and efficiency benefits needed to remove barriers to innovation.

2. Reliability
Data center availability is absolutely critical for businesses and having to spending heavily on redundant power, network and system architectures can take key funds away from innovation-focused projects. Furthermore, businesses in areas that are exposed to frequent natural disasters need especially resilient systems to protect technology assets.

Any lapse in data center availability can lead to significant losses in terms of productivity and reputation damages (if the outage impacts customers). Furthermore, it is easy to incur technical debt when responding to an outage. Technical debt is IT maintenance or management tasks that will need to be performed later because organizations took shortcuts when dealing with an immediate issue. For example, quickly getting a server up with a key application can help restore stability during an outage, but in that rush, it is easy to skip key secondary configuration processes that will need to be handled later. This type of technical debt can become crippling as IT teams can get busy fast.

All of these problems can be avoided with the help of colocation facilities. The core business model behind colocation mandates that service providers maintain as close to constant availability as possible, and all of the companies leasing space in the third-party data center share the costs of redundancy and resiliency. The end result is a situation in which IT teams can spend less time and fewer resources creating a reliable environment and devote that energy to innovative projects.

3. Scalability
Sometimes, the biggest problem an IT team will face is a lack of space on the data center floor. Running into the walls of the data center can be a major limiting factor as finding the resources to consolidate legacy infrastructure can be tricky and, in some cases, the architecture is as efficient as is reasonable, it just keeps expanding. These issues, whether they are created by a problem like data center sprawl or just rising IT demands, can be dealt with by leasing space in a colocation facility.

Organizations that implement a colocation plan can either move stable configurations into the facility or use it to house new projects. Furthermore, colocation providers are often able to adjust lease agreements over time to offer more capacity to clients as their demands change. This scalability can prove invaluable as technology teams face pressure to adapt to a variety of industry trends.

Many businesses are facing major barriers to technological innovation, but need to upgrade systems to meet customer requirements. Data center colocation services can give IT teams the flexibility and adaptability they need to respond to these demands and get ahead of competitors.

Data center connectivity solutions can be invaluable as organizations face a number of major networking challenges.

3 reasons to use data center colocation to support the network

Data center connectivity is becoming a problem for many organizations. The networking sector is already facing major changes as a move toward increased fiber deployment in the place of legacy copper networks becomes more common in data centers, but there is also growing momentum for increased Wi-Fi use, a need to support mobile device functionality – even in data centers – and growing demand for high-bandwidth architectures.

With all of these demands in place, the added uncertainty created by ongoing developments in segments like cloud computing, big data, enterprise video use and the Internet of Things creates a difficult strategic environment. Working with a colocation provider can be an excellent way to help organizations defer long-term network upgrades without taking on excess costs or limiting present capabilities. A few reasons to make such a move include:

1. Network changes are unpredictable
For a long time, an organization overhauling its network expected the new cabling and switching systems to last approximately 10 years, with a worst-case scenario of five years to ensure the infrastructure delivered value. Now, networking demands are changing so rapidly and flexibility is becoming so important that it is difficult to make the kind of future-proof upgrades that are needed to ensure a system will be relevant five or 10 years down the line.

Data center colocation enables IT teams to leverage state-of-the-art network systems without having to make the capital investments on new internal infrastructure. This can defer upgrades until the current network landscape takes a clearer shape and future proofing becomes easier.

2. Data center architectures are changing
Many organizations are working toward hybridized data center setups that are built around the idea of unifying private and public cloud systems alongside non-cloud infrastructure and legacy solutions. The process of adapting the data center to this hybridized architecture can be a long and complex task, and the new infrastructure environment will create dramatically different network demands than what most IT teams are facing. Being able to wait on overhauling the network can be a huge asset in ensuring a smooth transition to hybrid IT.

3. Colocation is a natural fit for contemporary demands
Many of the challenges being faced by IT departments – moving data between a variety of sources, supporting cloud plans, providing an ideal Web experience for customers, etc. – are easily met by colocation providers that can offer robust internal network systems and high-performance interconnects.

Colocation plans offer significant immediate and future benefits, and this is particularly clear when it comes to responding to ongoing network trends.

Data center colocation can be an ideal option when organizations want to focus on the future.

4 ways data center colocation supports forward-thinking IT plans

It is easy to envision working with a colocation provider as something that suited enterprise IT demands a few years ago, but now is the time for the cloud. There are valid reasons to have this perception. However, a variety of trends are coming together to show that services like colocation are incredibly valuable. In fact, the move toward hybridized IT, consolidated data centers and high-density infrastructure setups are all making colocation important.

With so much change happening across the IT industry, many CIOs find themselves needing to take a forward-thinking approach to developing IT plans. Being reactionary or focusing on the short term is not viable with so much change happening, as a misguided strategy can not only limit functionality immediately, but also hamper an organization's ability to invest in new technologies that could provide a competitive advantage. With all of this in mind, here are four reasons why data center colocation services can be so valuable at meeting current needs while also putting companies in a good place for the future.

1. Integrate with the cloud
Colocation solutions also come with data center connectivity services that make it much easier to move data between various destinations. The result is a system in which it is much easier to integrate various cloud services and enable effective data sharing between systems in public and private cloud configurations. Furthermore, organizations can host private clouds in a colocation center or use colocation to house their various legacy systems while the rest of the IT configuration is adjusted to focus on the cloud.

2. Get the power capacity you need
Changing IT requirements are leading to significant power demands and a need for energy efficiency across the entire industry. This creates two key problems – businesses often find power capacity limitations impacting their data center strategies, and companies frequently find themselves paying heavily for energy and needing to find ways to reduce costs. Data center colocation can help organizations resolve both of these issues as colocation facilities are designed to offer clients flexible power capabilities that are designed with sustainable delivery architectures.

3. Gain flexibility
One of the greatest challenges facing IT leaders is the uncertainty in the future of the technology industry. So many disruptive trends are beginning to emerge on the market that it can be difficult to get a clear vision of what data center needs will look like five or 10 years from now. This makes the idea of building or renovating a corporate data center an incredibly daunting task because such a project locks an organization into its existing vision of the future.

Colocation facilities exist, in large part, to provide a flexible data center environment in which organizations can lease space. On top of this inherent design, many providers are implementing advanced modular design concepts that make their facilities even more scalable and adaptable to client needs.

4. Control costs
Colocation isn't always a cheap service option. However, it can be used strategically to either reduce capital costs or ease utility expenses if that is your goal. Regardless of how you are using colocation, the service model creates predictable and controllable data center costs that can prove incredibly important when it comes to preparing for innovation. Understanding what data center expenses will look like moving forward can make it much easier to plan for innovation as you can use the predictable expenses to plan innovation without as much financial risk.

Data center colocation is sometimes looked at as a legacy service model, but next-generation colocation services are emerging as a prime option for organizations that are looking to prepare for the future and create a technology environment focused on innovation.

Some data center colocation plans create value through sophistication and high-performance functionality, not cost-cutting measures.

3 reasons you should want to pay more for data center colocation

It is common to discuss the possibility of working with a colocation provider as a way to reduce costs. This is a completely viable way to approach colocation plans. However, there are times when establishing a colocation plan will cost more than building or renovating a data center. Expenses are a tricky issue in colocation, however, as the high-priced colocation models often deliver value in extremely important ways.

With value creation in mind, let's look at a few reasons why you would want to consider paying more for colocation:

1. You get what you pay for
The data center colocation sector isn't one of those industries where you're paying for a brand. One company's services aren't usually going to cost more just because that organizations has a brand identity that makes them attractive. Instead, the service providers that are offering high-priced services are doing so because they have customers that need access to extremely sophisticated features. 

Colocation providers are well known as companies that can help you reduce costs. As such, they need to be able to justify every expense if you are going to pay heavily for a service. This means that you are getting what you pay for when you turn to colocation plans, and organization's with demanding IT requirements would do well to consider paying for a more sophisticated plan instead of trying to get a bargain.

2. Colocation providers can deliver services that are difficult to match internally
Try sticking an air-cooled supercomputer in your data center to support big data initiatives – it probably won't go well. Try to build out a redundant network founded on high-performance interconnects and capable of withstanding extreme circumstances – chances are you'll run into major technical barriers. Colocation providers have unique expertise in building and managing data centers with flexibility, scalability and connectivity in mind.

Colocation providers don't just build state-of-the-art facilities, they build data centers that are adaptable enough to respond to future demands. As such, they can offer solutions that are extremely difficult to match in a corporate data center and help you leverage technologies that you may not even think to include in your facility design.

3. You can generate ROI
Sometimes, putting more money into something is the best way to get more money out. That is often the case in IT, as investing heavily in state-of-the-art resources leaves you with considerable gains that deliver value throughout an organization. Colocation is a prime example of this situation as a good partnership can lead to reliability, resiliency, sustainability, operational efficiency and regulatory benefits. Furthermore, once you have lease space in a colocation facility, you have the freedom to refine your configuration based on whatever needs arise within the organization.

All of these factors come together to create a unique ROI generation situation in which organizations can continually create value out of the data center setup. Furthermore, colocation creates the flexibility needed to adjust the IT setup based on changing demands, making it much easier to directly align IT and business requirements to maximize value.

Focus on value creation
It can be difficult to make a choice that involves spending heavily on a technology service. However, being able to demonstrate an ROI can be more powerful than simply cutting costs. Organizations facing significant and frequently changing IT demands may want to seriously consider spending more for a high-performance, high-density colocation service that features next-generation hosting capabilities that position them for short- and long-term success. Such a strategy may be expensive now, but it can serve as a catalyst for value creation for years come.

Data center colocation can give IT departments freedom to innovate.

Data center colocation can fuel IT freedom

Working with a colocation provider enables IT teams to eliminate many of the operational shackles that get in the way of operational efficiency. A recent Automated Trading report explained that many IT departments are spending approximately three quarters of their budget on day-to-day infrastructure maintenance. The result is an environment in which only a small portion of funding is left available for projects that drive innovation.

If freedom is looked at as the ability to strive for excellence and boldly seek after opportunities, IT teams are not free, the news source said. Instead, they are spending too much on maintenance and, therefore, severely limited. Citing research from IDC, the report explained that companies that outsource IT through solutions like data center colocation can cut their maintenance costs to one-third their size. With this in mind, let's look at three ways that colocation creates IT freedom:

1. Reduce capital costs
Data center colocation isn't always cheap – it can be used to access high-performance computing resources and other advanced IT solutions – but it does usually reduce capital expenses compared to building out data center space. This shift away from capital spending can free money for special projects and other solutions that free IT teams to strive for innovation.

2. Alleviate management burdens
Finding a way to reduce the amount of time IT teams are spending on management and maintenance plays a critical role in making space for innovation. Working with a data center services provider ensures that the vendor manages the configuration in the colocation facility, leaving your internal teams with fewer systems to deal with. Furthermore, many colocation providers that offer data center services are capable of doing so within the framework of different regulatory laws, making it a simple way to ensure secure operations.

3. Improve flexibility
Colocation facilities are designed with efficiency and scalability in mind. Moving systems into a third-party data center often unlocks more flexible configuration options both at the colocation facility and internally. The result is a situation in which facility, power and network limitations are much less likely to get in the way of innovation. The actual data center space can have a huge impact on IT freedom, and implementing colocation plans plays a key role in making sure the facility doesn't get in the way.

Freedom can be hard to achieve, but data center colocation services give IT teams the ability to create plenty of room for innovation and upgrades in IT.

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