In this technology-driven age, when businesses are generating a colossal amount of data through various means, they seek ways to migrate their data and applications from their premises to a third-party solution provider. Of the various options available to us, colocation and cloud services stand out. Both the models involve the hosting of data and applications in an offsite data center, although there are significant differences between the two.
In this blog, we will discuss how colocation and cloud services differ from each other and which one you can choose for your business needs. So, let’s get started.
What is Cloud Computing?
In a cloud model, remote computing services are delivered directly to users by means of the internet. The user is billed on the basis of the computing resources he uses, akin to how you pay your monthly bills for the electricity you consume.
In a cloud model, your service provider assumes responsibility for developing, deploying, and maintaining the network architecture.
What is Colocation?
Colocation is a hosting model where you house your servers in a data center owned by a third party for a fee. The colocation provider offers not just the space for keeping your servers, but also power, cooling, and bandwidth for running them in a hassle-free manner.
The primary difference, in this case, is that you retain the ownership of your servers. You can use colocation service in India just to access the superior infrastructure, network, and security available in their facility.
In colocation, the maintenance of the servers is usually taken care of by the client. In case the client cannot afford to send technicians to the facility to maintain or upgrade their servers, they opt for a remote hands service wherein the colocation provider does these tasks in return for a fee.
How does colocation compare with the cloud?
First of all, colocation and cloud services do not need to be mutually exclusive choices. You can easily pick and choose different solutions to meet the different needs of your business.
For instance, you can host a large portion of your regular data on a public cloud server and keep critical data on your own servers. As you cannot deploy that server on your own premises owing to what it may cost you, you may decide to keep it in a colocation facility.
So, long story short, organizations have a choice to mix and match different hosting services and create an optimal solution for their needs. Moving everything to just a colocation facility or a cloud hosting provider can make you miss out on critical opportunities offered by these solutions. Of course, you need a lot of clarity in order to determine where you keep a specific IT asset (data, application, website).
Now that you have a fair idea of what colocation or cloud services are, let us compare both on some key parameters.
Both cloud services and colocation are more secure than an on-premises solution. While entrusting your data to a third party may seem a poor move at first glance, most of these service providers have procedures and tools that pertain specifically to security, which means they can identify and mitigate risks in a more comprehensive fashion when compared to your in-house IT specialists.
Talking of the cloud, the security benefits you get are only as good as the protocols your service provider has put in place. All renowned cloud providers usually have robust security frameworks to safeguard your data.
Colocation in India can be even better than the cloud in terms of security. But this is possible only when you have the technological know-how to implement a foolproof security framework remotely. In this case, the physical and infrastructural elements of your security framework are handled by your colocation provider.
Cloud services make compliance manageable for businesses that have a hard time keeping up with the demands of regulators. Renowned cloud service providers offer features that help you meet these demands on the fly.
The same holds true in the case of colocation also. In most cases, your colocation provider in India handles the physical and hardware-related aspects of compliance while you have to take care of software-related aspects.
If your organization operates in a highly regulated industry such as finance or healthcare, you will be subject to stringent compliance requirements. Under such a scenario, you may need to establish clear service level agreements with your provider (colocation or cloud) that clearly specify the responsibilities of both parties.
One of the key benefits of shifting computing processes to a data center is the network connectivity you get to enjoy. Most of the reputed data centers invest heavily in infrastructure to offer their clients world-class bandwidth and network speed. In contrast, on-premises solutions usually lack the infrastructure to support your process.
Managed cloud plans often have clauses that state that the provider will update their hardware and software in response to the technological advancements in their field. As many businesses switch to the cloud mainly to access high-quality connectivity, cloud providers always have the incentive to keep their hardware and connectivity devices up-to-date.
Similarly, a colocation facility also allows users to have continual access to their robust network connection.
Additionally, both colocation and cloud providers offer specialized services to businesses in specific geographies eg. CDN solutions help businesses bring down the page load time by reducing the physical distance between the end-users and the servers hosting the web pages.
4. Backup and Disaster Recovery
A reliable backup and disaster recovery solution is the key to ensuring the continuity of any business. Most of the colocation and cloud service providers that offer comprehensive solutions include DR as a part of their package.
That said, not all DR solutions offer the same level of resilience. If your cloud or colocation provider has not invested in top-notch infrastructure, they may not be able to provide you with the kind of resilience you are looking for.
Colocation or Cloud: The Final Verdict
So, you see, both colocation and cloud fare almost equally well on the different parameters. When choosing between colocation and cloud, analyze your technology environment in order to determine what kind of solution is likely to offer the most value to your data and applications.
If you already own servers that are expected to perform reasonably well for many years to come, colocation in India can be your best bet. If, on the other hand, you have limited hardware on your premises and don’t aim to buy any in near future, you will be better off with the cloud.
And, of course, make sure to consult experienced colocation and cloud specialists before signing up for any of these solutions. The inputs of qualified data center professionals can go a long way in optimizing your IT infrastructure.
Still, have queries on colocation or cloud? If so, type them in the comment section. We will be glad to help you.