Know the Difference Between Colocation and Cloud
Colocation, much like virtualization, is often mistaken for cloud even by IT teams with years of experience. Despite some similarities, the difference between colocation and cloud is vast – the two technologies are worlds apart. While colocation is a data center facility in which a business can rent space for servers and other computing and hardware services, clouds are typically built on commercial off-the-shelf x86 based systems, which both reduces cost while enabling rapid technology. The biggest difference between colocation and the cloud lies within the ways enterprises use servers.
Advantages of the Cloud
Clouds are built to be used by multiple tenants utilizing a vast assortment of applications creating IT agility, allowing more to be done at a lower cost when loading periods are down. It allows for instances, especially useful in the case of big data, which tend to be unavailable in colocation equipment as it’s so rarely done to begin with.
Advantages to Colocation
Despite the ease and agility of cloud, colocation does hold some benefits of its own. In stable or long term situations like web serving or media streaming, it can still be a better choice for some companies.
Colocation also allows users to place shared storage in a colocation facility providing faster links in order to counter the primary challenge of a low bandwidth WAN when moving data between private and public clouds.
While they still rely on a host for housing and network gear, as it evolves, colocation environments will grow to include storage rental deals with options for long term, fixed storage agreements different from the public cloud options.
Moving Towards the Future
The more traction the cloud gains as the primary computing and data storage vehicle, the colocation model will absolutely have to adapt. Colocation providers will have to evolve to include colocation as one piece of a greater service operation. As of now, vendors usually distinguish between cloud and colocation using confusing language. Using terms like “instances” to describe server sharing in cloud but not for colocation leaves plenty of grey area for both buyers and vendors.
For colocation providers, failing to migrate from a control centric view to that of a service provider with value added services will spark a rapid expansion of shadow IT allowing departmental leaders get better deals and faster responses through the public cloud.