Data center colocation impacted by infrastructure hosting’s rise

Data center colocation can be ideal for companies working to implement third-party IT infrastructure hosting.

Many businesses are working to outsource elements of their IT infrastructure and data center colocation providers are among the organizations that will benefit from these plans. Companies are becoming more dependent on IT all the time and find themselves needing to find ways to host their infrastructure more efficiently. This is contributing to increased demand for infrastructure hosting services including colocation, virtual private server use, managed hosting and hybrid hosting. According to a recent TechNavio report, these four verticals are set to combine to create revenue expansion at a compound annual growth rate of 8.68 percent for IT infrastructure hosting during the period of 2013 to 2018.

According to the news source, improving IT efficiency is a primary motivating point of moving to infrastructure hosting. Many companies are facing mounting challenges in areas like data storage and networking, but cannot easily adopt cutting-edge solutions internally. Infrastructure hosting models are rising because more organizations are realizing that they can reduce their operational costs and focus on their core competencies if they have third-party providers handle some of their IT systems.

Working with a colocation provider is an excellent way to eliminate IT overhead by taking advantage of sophisticated facility resources and potentially alleviating the management burden facing IT teams.

Benefits of using colocation for infrastructure hosting
Many colocation vendors also operate as a data center services provider, meaning that they will help you manage and maintain the IT systems you host in their facilities. With this service option in mind, a few of the key benefits that go hand in hand with colocation hosting include:

Better network systems: Data center connectivity is a priority in colocation environments. Vendors offer a combination of internal network systems, high-performance interconnects and access to diverse operator systems to ensure customers can get the best network solution possible. Furthermore, many colocation providers are vendor neutral, making it much easier to establish the best solution possible based on a company's location, telecom service provider and customer base. Connectivity services may have been a secondary consideration in the past, but increased demand for solutions like video and Web apps are putting pressure on businesses to improve their networks, and colocation makes that possible in a cost-efficient way.

Scalability: Contemporary businesses need to be able to adjust their IT configurations more flexibly than they had to in the past. This is particularly true in the storage segment of the data center, but is also evident in server and network configurations. The need to scale infrastructure quickly means that businesses need access to high-capacity power and cooling systems as well as enough facility space to add new systems. This flexibility is often cost prohibitive in an internal data center, but entirely feasible when leveraging a colocation service.

Security: Colocation facilities feature robust access control systems, workers who are trained to follow regulatory guidelines based on client requirements and advanced monitoring and management tools that offer data protection that many companies cannot match internally. finding ways to protect data in line with regulatory laws is critical in a variety of industries, and colocation providers are often uniquely equipped to put advanced security practices in place.

Efficiency: Many of the best tools for building, maintaining and managing a data center are so expensive that only a few major organizations can actually afford them. Colocation providers, however, build their entire business model around having the best data centers possible. As such, their facilities often offer major efficiency gains when compared to most corporate data centers, ensuring that customers leasing space in a colocation facility are using their money well.

Implementing a colocation plan can be about more than just infrastructure hosting. The benefits of the service model can be so substantial that colocation ends up serving as a key innovation enabler for organizations.

Security integral to compliance plans in data center colocation

Security gains are common when organizations implement data center colocation plans.

Businesses that work with a colocation provider often gain access to facility capabilities that are difficult to leverage in a private data center. A recent SC Magazine report explained that organizations that want to comply with regulatory standards while leveraging colocation need to make sure multi-layered security strategies are in place.

The report explained that security is critical for data center colocation vendors because effective data protection has a significant impact on service level agreements. Many colocation clients need vendors to comply with regulatory standards and protect sensitive strategic data. This means taking security beyond logical protection methods like network monitoring and anti-malware programs and also incorporate multiple tiers of physical security.

The news source noted that security plans in colocation facilities will often feature multiple layers, with the actual server racks serving as the last line of defense against physical intrusion. Specialized locks on racks and cabinets can ensure that data is kept safe even when other forms of access control fail.

Data center colocation often ends up eliminating risk because vendors are forced to specialize in data protection. The shared nature of facilities and the industry's foundation in the competitive automated trading sector has left many colocation vendors experts in asset protection, making the service model ideal in industries that handle large amounts of sensitive data.

3 location issues to ponder with data center colocation plans

Location is a key issue when considering data center colocation plans.

Choosing the right colocation provider is about more than just looking around your geographic region and selecting the vendor with the cheapest price. There is so much diversity in the colocation sector that value becomes more important than cost and location issues go beyond proximity. For some businesses, staying close to home makes the most sense, for others – such as companies using colocation for backup and recovery – having a facility a few hours away from internal data centers is the best bet.

Location issues can have a huge impact in colocation plans, and there are three issues that should be kept in mind when considering the location of the colocation services you are evaluating.

1. How is geographic location impacting value?
Real estate costs vary substantially from one location to another. Space in a New York data center may cost much less than space in a Cincinnati data center, for example, because of differences in the real estate market. However, cost is the not the primary issue here, value is.

Sometimes a colocation service is more expensive because the facility features such advanced technologies that the service cost is high compared to a data center offering basic functionality. In other cases, a colocation service plan may be less expensive in one area solely because utility providers are able to offer low-cost power. The location of operator networks, and expense of establishing interconnects based on geographical proximity can also come into play.

When it comes time to choose a colocation service it is vital that you assess the way location affects value and make sure you get the best solution possible for your needs. 

2. Management
Managing IT assets in a remote facility can be a headache depending on the location of the data center. It is widely believed that many organizations will choose a colocation provider that is located in close proximity to their primary operations so they can easily get IT workers out to the facility, but this methodology isn't always best. A data center services provider can manage the configuration for you if you don't want to be sending workers out to the location. At the same time, you could also hire IT workers in the region where the colocation facility is located and have them manage your configuration as their full-time role. These options allow organizations to use more remote facilities and potentially create more value.

There are times when staying close to home is important, but there is more to think about than just proximity in these situations. Organizations should also consider traffic patterns that may make it difficult for IT workers to get to the colocation facility, possible toll costs and similar issues before settling on a colocation plan.

3. Business strategy
Keeping short- and long-term business goals in mind is also critical when trying to choose the right location for a colocation plan. Establishing a colocation presence in a geographic region can be the first step to expanding services to customers in the area. As such, businesses that expect to expand in the near future benefit from keeping these strategies in mind when choosing a colocation plan. In many cases, a good data center colocation partnership can serve as a stabilizing force in any effort to get new business started in a region. The service ensure good website and application performance for both customers and employees in the area and lets companies get started without having to commit to building a new data center.

Location comes into play in a variety of ways when choosing a colocation provider, and it is important to keep geographical issues in mind if you want to maximize the value of the hosting service.

Data center colocation ideal as hybridized IT strategies rise

Data center colocation can be ideal for organizations pursuing hybrid IT strategies.

Working with a colocation provider gives businesses access to a blend of services that makes it easier to deal with diverse technology challenges. This could prove integral for businesses moving forward as more companies embrace hybrid technological models. The idea of hybridizing IT is fairly simple – it involves unifying on-premise, public cloud, private cloud and hosted infrastructure into a common configuration. This doesn't mean that all of the systems can are run from the same source, but it does mean that IT has integrated all of these solutions to work well with one another and be easier to manage as a complete unit.

Adopting hybrid technology models is becoming more common as organizations develop more mature cloud strategies. Early in the cloud's life cycle, the thought was that businesses may get on a path to go all-in on the cloud, but companies are beginning to recognize that the cloud is just another tool that they can leverage, it doesn't need to replace their existing IT systems. As such, many organizations are working to effectively integrate cloud, data center colocation, managed hosting and internal IT strategies.

Colocation as a centralized platform for hybrid IT
The problem with hybrid It is that data needs to move in a variety of directions between different internal and external assets. This makes data center connectivity planning incredibly important, and colocation providers are in a good position to make this possible. Organizations that take advantage of a colocation plan gain access to interconnect and operator networks that make it easy to efficiently move data over large geographical areas. At the same time, colocation facilities can house systems that don't fit well in the cloud or the internal data center, making them an ideal hub for hybrid IT strategies.

Data center services also pay dividends when getting into a hybrid IT setup. Generally speaking, the effort of managing the strategic aspects of operations in hybrid IT are so great that technology workers have less time to deal with day-to-day hardware management. Many colocation vendors also function as a data center services provider, creating a situation in which they can manage the systems hosted in their facility to make it easier for organizations to house infrastructure remotely.

Hybrid IT strategies are leading to major changes in how enterprise technology configurations function, and colocation services are uniquely suited to meeting new demands.

Diversity a key benefit of data center colocation

Data center colocation provides service diversity that is ideal for IT teams trying to adapt to frequent business changes.

A colocation provider is capable of meeting a diverse range of operational needs, making the service a uniquely beneficial option for many businesses. For most IT managers, finding a solution to a specific problem isn't that difficult. What is challenging is balancing the diverse needs of all of the various solutions in place and making them work within an well-integrated, efficient technology configuration. Colocation offers diversity that makes this process much easier.

Data center colocation can be effective when trying to solve a specific IT problem. For example, companies turn to colocation for everything from data backup to improving energy efficiency. However, colocation is unique because it is well suited to meeting such a wide range of needs. This means that when IT requirements shift you won't find yourself with a service plan that can't get the job done. Instead, working with a good vendor will leave you with plenty of opportunities to change and adapt, leading to a much more efficient transition to new technologies.

The ability to meet a diverse range of technical requirements puts colocation in a position to be scalable, flexible and adaptable in a way that few other technological services can match. As such, IT leaders that establish good colocation partnerships can position themselves for both short- and long-term success.

3 good surprises to expect when turning to data center colocation

Don't be surprised if a data center colocation plan delivers some unexpected benefits.

Businesses that are considering a partnership with a colocation provider know that they will get access to robust data center resources. Leasing facility space is only part of what you get when you turn to colocation, and there may be a few good surprises in store for you. Not everybody loves surprises, of course, but the kind of unexpected benefits of working with colocation providers can leave IT teams and business users delighted at the opportunities that come with the service plans.

If you are working with a data center services provider that also offers colocation, you know you are getting some management help. Similarly, if you work with a security-focused vendor, you know you can expect quality access control systems. But what kind of surprises will be headed your way regardless of what your vendor of choice specializes in? Three noteworthy and unexpected benefits of data center colocation include:

1. Staffing benefits
Colocation providers know that you will need to have IT workers at their facility to manage your configuration. They understand that those workers will often spend hours there trying to solve problems, perform maintenance or work on special projects. Many vendors provide comfortable office and lounge spaces as part of their leasing plans, making it easier for your employees to get the job done in a comfortable environment.

2. Details
Colocation providers have a combination of expertise and resources that allows them to pay attention to even the tiniest of details within the data center. Everything from creating clear movement pathways between parts of the facility to wire management techniques and the location of emergency response equipment is well thought out and strategically handled in most colocation facilities.

3. Facility excellence
The data center is often an afterthought for businesses. Most facilities leave organizations to cram their systems into a closet or back room and there is little to be done to make the space function as efficiently as possible. The attention to detail already discussed can work alongside sophisticated technologies, intelligent architectural design and effective sustainability measures to create an impression of excellence in colocation facilities, leaving you pleasantly surprised by the area where your systems will be hosted.

All colocation providers are not created equally, and there is plenty of variance in the industry even in areas of emphasis, not just quality. However, businesses planning to move to colocation can expect to be surprised in a good way as they get deeper into the transition process.

Data center colocation vendors making move to data virtualization

Data virtualization is rising in sectors like data center colocation because it helps organizations deal with demands related to big data.

A colocation provider can offer customers the high-density power and cooling architectures needed to support system virtualization. However, many colocation vendors are also beginning to explore data virtualization as a way to drive efficiency benefits to another level, IT Business Edge reported.

According to the news source, data virtualization offers to create immense storage savings by allowing organizations to functionally move data between users without having to physically replicate the data onto external sources. The end result is a situation in which users can tap into the same source data, regardless of their location, minimizing the burden on storage systems.

The report explained that cloud and colocation providers are among the organizations that are heralding in the data virtualization movement, and they are using the technology to deliver significant benefits to clients. In many cases, data virtualization proves ideal in cloud and colocation settings because it enables organizations to manage data separately from the infrastructure, making it much easier to maximize efficiency in both areas.

Virtualization is, on a conceptual level, about making data and hardware resources more accessible by eliminating the restrictive limitations of location. Virtual machines or databases can be moved between locations, creating flexibility. Colocation adds to these advantages by creating a more flexible facility architecture for organizations to operate their IT systems in, leading to major operational benefits.

Data center colocation makes the Internet tick

Data center colocation is critical in making the complex machinations of the Internet work properly.

It may not seem this way at first glance, but each colocation provider is a vital gear in the complex array of systems that make the Internet work. Imagine a clock. On the inside their are gears, cogs and other precision devices that, when working together, form a machine that keeps time with precision to ensure people can figure out what time it is with relative accuracy based on the quality of the device. Similar, the Internet is made up of a variety of service providers and physical infrastructure systems that must be aligned effectively to ensure end users have access to what they need, when they need it. Data center colocation facilities play a critical role in delivering this functionality.

According to a recent TechRepublic report, the carrier-neutral nature of most colocation facilities ensures that they are able to provide the data center connectivity functionality that clients need to build their Web functionality effectively.

Looking at why colocation is so important to the Internet
The news source illustrates the way colocation impacts Internet services by considering a hypothetical situation in which two telecoms end up sharing infrastructure. In this case, one service provider has built the vast majority of the cabling infrastructure that reaches customers, but another vendor is offering services to customers in the region. This is an incredibly common situation as telecoms are frequently building fiber lines and leasing them to other vendors to maximize revenues while focusing on their specific customer demographics. 

In this situation, a telecom that wants to lease space in another provider's cabling and service delivery infrastructure will often use the interconnects in colocation facilities to bridge the gap between the two telecoms and ensure information can flow freely, the report explained.

The world is crisscrossed with operator networks that move data long distances between metropolitan hubs and other strategic locations. From there, a combination of telecoms, government organizations and specialized organizations will build middle-mile networks that go between operator networks and connect more localized geographic regions.

Middle-mile networks were popular projects when the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act was initially put into action. Once a middle-mile network is in place, telecoms will often build fiber-to-the-home systems or other infrastructure directly to customers to provide services. In this situation, a telecom could be leasing space on on the operator network and the middle-mile system to move data to customers using its FTTH services. This issue can be further complicated if a telecom wants to serve customers in a region without owning any of the infrastructure, but it is possible. Data center colocation plays a critical role in providing the interconnects between different service providers, operator and middle-mile networks needed to make contemporary connectivity architectures work.

Applying colocation's network services to individual businesses
Colocation is critical in helping businesses maximize the value of the telecom services and Web hosting functionality. A carrier-neutral colocation facility can help organizations access robust telecom services that they may be unable to access without the interconnects available from the hosting vendor. At the same time, the high-performance interconnects provided through colocation ensures that businesses get the best performance possible when moving data over long distances, whether it be supporting collaboration between branch offices, working with partners or getting services out to customers.

Colocation's role as a key enabler of contemporary network service models makes the hosting solution much more than just a way to lease some data center space. The connectivity advantages of colocation can impact every phase of a business' operations, leading to considerable gains that can be leveraged to improve revenues.

3 ways data center colocation works for customer-facing content

Data center colocation can be ideal for customer facing content.

Maximizing the value of customer-facing content is a key revenue strategy, and working with a colocation provider can ensure that such tactics get results. Any organization aiming to get the most out of their customer-facing solutions need to focus on three primary metrics – performance, availability and security. Data center colocation can enable companies to more easily achieve quality results in each of these areas, making the service model a perfect match when looking for the best way to host robust Web applications and services for customers.

A few ways in which colocation is especially noteworthy in supporting customer-facing solutions include:

1. Improving load times and app performance
Optimizing website load times and ensuring Web apps get the information they need to perform well plays an integral role in keeping customers engaged. Performance problems will often cause users to flock away from a website, so having a good experience is key, but the latency created by network limitations and geographic distance can be considerable.

A colocation strategy can make it much easier to reach new markets. An East Coast company that wants expand its data center footprint to the west could build a Houston data center to eliminate latency created by data having to move across the entire country. Splitting the nation in half allows data to flow to users based on the optimal operator network path at the moment, ensuring website load times are maintained at a high level when reaching a geographically diverse base of users.

Proximity can help with Web apps, but if getting data closer to users isn't enough, data center connectivity plans that come with colocation often feature high-performance interconnect options that get information into operator networks with incredible efficiency, ensuring Web apps work effectively for end users.

2. Keeping data safe
A data center colocation plan will feature a combination of physical and logical security methods that can be difficult to match internally. The combination of firewalls and network protection methods in place in colocation facilities can be an incredible safeguard against intrusion. However, these attacks aren't the only threat facing businesses. Industries that feature corporate espionage or are targeted by hacktivists – any company that has a large public presence – also must worry about physical security.

Access control methods are an incredibly important component of any data center protection plan and colocation providers can deliver the expertise and functional capabilities needed to keep your systems safe from outside access.

3. Ensuring constant availability
Few things will frustrate a consumer more than trying to complete a purchase or interact with an organization only to have the site go down at some point during the transaction. Downtime means lost money both in terms of immediate damages caused by consumers being unable to complete purchases or use apps and when it comes to reputation-related damages that cause customers to stay away.

Redundancy plays a key role in avoiding availability problems. Having multiple sources of power, uninterruptable power supplies that ensure smooth change-over to backup systems during an outage and backup network solutions plays an integral role in ensuring available. Colocation providers build their business around ensuring consistent performance for clients, so they need to devote a large chunk of their budget to availability or risk falling behind the competition.

Availability is critical for all organizations, but the core business models that fuel colocation ensure that vendors will put more resources into ensuring uptime than most organizations can afford on their own.

Customer facing content can be the lifeblood of a company's Web presence, but having the data center systems needed to maximize value from this source can be difficult. Colocation gives organizations access to the facility resources they need in a cost-efficient way.

Data center colocation and energy efficiency a natural match

Solutions like data center colocation can help companies improve energy efficiency.

Organizations that work with a colocation provider can access sustainability features that would otherwise be unavailable to them. Companies supporting a few small data centers in various branch offices often experience considerable waste as each of those server rooms or closets lack the power and cooling infrastructure needed to maximize efficiency. Colocation facilities, on the other hand, are purpose built to support sustainability goals.

Scale matters in the data center space. Organizations that plan to operate a large facility have an edge because they will inevitably end up with more resources to devote to efficiency than a company putting a couple dozen servers in a dedicated space within the office. This is why many of the industry leaders in data center innovation are companies like Facebook and Google – their business model mandates that they strive for energy efficiency or face startling energy costs because of the scale of their IT setup.

The data center colocation industry has a similar advantage. Providers are able to build incredibly efficient facilities because the cost-benefit ratio of sustainability tilts in the direction of benefits when supporting a large-scale setup. The end result is a data center facility configuration that can help clients achieve their efficiency goals.