Five Ways Colocation Will Drive Enterprise Transformation

By: Séamus Dunne

Enterprise transformation is a challenging reality for many businesses, but did you know that colocation can deliver significant business and technical benefits while reducing complexity?

Global trends and an expanding digital economy are forcing enterprises in every sector to think differently about how they do business and deliver value. It’s all about reaching new customers, embracing new technologies and delivering new services. These changing business requirements inevitably lead to changes for IT, and most of the time, this means increasing the use of cloud through the implementation of hybrid and multi-cloud IT environments.

Enterprise transformation is the fundamental change to the way an organisation operates, whether that be moving into a new market or operating in a new way. It aims to align an organisation's activities relating to people, process and technology more closely with its business strategy and vision.

Minimising complexity

However, the challenge is that most of today’s enterprise networks and on-premise data centres are not designed to support these new environments. They are not optimised to accommodate interactive workloads, third-party infrastructure, soaring network traffic or data generated far away from where it is collected and used. Each new addition causes added complexity, with multiple layers resulting in issues with latency, governance and cost. 

Colocation allows Enterprises to manage the complex connectivity challenges that this transformation brings. Using colocation will enable organisations to utilise secure, scalable multi and hybrid cloud architectures and processes to address unique business requirements due to large scale transformation.

Five factors that will help enterprises transform successfully

When thinking about enterprise transformation, there’s no magic bullet or one size fits all. Each organisation has its own unique challenges in reaching the goal of efficient, transparent, reliable multicloud management and operations, and it’s generally a long, multi-step process that requires a lot of planning and care, below are some things to consider when making this decision:

  • Transformation: Change in any organisation can be difficult, particularly when it comes to IT. Colocation is a well-established approach to transform an IT organisation. With direct and secure access to all public clouds and an array of network carriers, enterprises can reduce the complexity of realising its business objectives. Colocation removes almost every aspect of physical plant operation from operations: construction and building maintenance, physical security, power, cooling, emergency failover systems, etc. IT is therefore only responsible for installing and maintaining its compute and storage hardware; many facilities also have various service and installation packages for common use cases such as backup and disaster recovery.
  • Cost: The move to colocation will likely require a thorough restructuring of IT costs. Long-accepted buying and planning cycles will likely need to change, and many well-practiced workflows and purchase orders may go by the wayside. Organisations need a realistic assessment of how much business process change the move will entail along with the associated costs. They should approach the move to colocation in a rational way and at a controlled pace.
  • Flexibility: Colocation services provide flexibility on service levels. Services can start and end with facilities operations and maintenance or extend to higher levels of managed services and hosted IT infrastructure, or some mix thereof. This can make it possible to consolidate and streamline the enterprise data centre while maintaining legacy systems. Another aspect of flexibility is the ability to gain direct and secure access to multiple public cloud providers and carriers. This just isn’t a possibility with enterprise on-premise data centres.
  • Flow of information: Many providers have become de facto hubs of enterprise information flow. They support interconnection between public clouds – direct, secure connections that don’t traverse the internet – and private and hosted private clouds, often in the same facility creating cost efficiencies. Colocation makes connectivity simpler and more secure allowing enterprises optimise network performance by bypassing the public internet and instead privately connect to all the platform and service providers they need.
  • Efficiencies: Colocation providers cultivate close working relationships with major vendors and IT service providers. This can therefor help shorten deployment and migration scenarios significantly if the enterprise is willing to engage with those vendors with the colocation provider. Colocation also provides ways to short-circuit common tasks during a cloud migration. Colocation facilities are heavily consumed by cloud and IT service providers, and colocation providers cultivate close working relationships with major vendors and those same IT service providers.

Colocation is increasingly playing a key role as the intersection of a hybrid cloud strategy for enterprises. Providers’ ability to harness vendor partnerships and interconnection means they can play a key role in supporting hybrid/multicloud/digital transformation efforts. According to 451 Research’s survey data, more than 30% of enterprises are occupying colocation space today, with the great majority of them planning to continue or increase their footprint.

The combination of public cloud interconnection, private cloud enablement, vendor partnerships and available services make colocation a realistic and cost-effective option for enterprises to attain the benefits of cloud computing. Providers will continue to adopt and facilitate sophisticated software driven technologies with technology vendors, which means the enterprise doesn’t have to.