Cloud vs Colocation

Seamus Matthews | Senior Director, Enterprise Indirect Business Segment

With many businesses under pressure to drive digital transformation, IT leaders are looking to implement cloud and data centre colocation solutions to increase the efficiency of their current infrastructure whilst also delivering a high level of service. Looking at the offerings of colocation versus cloud, they are not mutually exclusive options, with many businesses using both in a hybrid solution that best suits their needs. A mix of colocation and cloud can be very beneficial for balancing requirements including security, flexible compute resource levels and legacy applications.

Definition of Cloud Computing

Cloud computing is a service, usually provided by a cloud platform provider that includes its own set of tools and technologies. These are based on remote servers that can be accessed self-service over the internet. The cloud platform provider manages the storage, servers and networks required, businesses simply pay to use these services as and when they need them.

Definition of Colocation

Colocation hosting is a physical space, purpose built as a data centre that houses servers owned by the businesses that lease the space. Colocation providers enable businesses to share space within a data centre, with increased power density, connectivity and security than would be feasible in an on-premise data centre facility. Colocation services also include the possibility of multiple and hybrid cloud infrastructure, with direct access to providers such as Google, Amazon Web Services, and Microsoft Azure.

Advantages of Cloud

Cloud computing has a lower entry cost for businesses looking to expand their IT resources beyond servers in their own office. The self-service model allows for flexibility to scale up or down compute resources used depending on the businessneeds. The accessibility of cloud is another key factor in the growth of cloud hosting, with 94% of enterprises already using a cloud service[1].

Disadvantages of Cloud

The use of public cloud services has its downsides for businesses. The volume of data can grow quickly into cloud, which can balloon costs and surface potential security and compliance issues with sensitive data. To scale effectively, businesses should not solely rely on cloud storage, as it can be an expensive alternative to hybrid infrastructure that includes both colocation and cloud. Overuse of cloud resources by different teams in a business can lead to sprawling shadow IT which can be difficult to manage and consolidate efficiently when looking to scale digital transformation.

Advantages of Colocation

Colocation is an ideal solution for businesses that require a mix of hybrid and multi cloud storage, as well as servers that store data locally for compliance reasons. Businesses that have outgrown on-premise equipment in their offices, often don’t have the capex to build their own data centre, which is why colocation works so well. Interxion London colocation benefits include having access to a data centre that is in the heart of London, close to offices in the City. The Interxion London purpose-built data centres have robust security measures and dense connectivity to over 70 carriers. With Interxion London’s Cross Connect services, you can connect financial markets, other businesses, partners, and customers all within the data centre for low latency data transfer, FS trading platforms, cloud service provider connectivity

Disadvantages of Colocation

Colocation requires businesses to provide their own servers and storage within the colocation facility which could cost more than using public cloud services, but it results in a much more secure infrastructure. Businesses have complete ownership and control over their equipment in colocation - but they need to consider the location of colocation very carefully. If engineers need to do routine maintenance on servers, a colocation centre situated far away from your head of operations could be a problem, costing time and money.

Differences between Colocation and Cloud

Colocation and cloud are not mutually exclusive for businesses. Many companies use both or a combination of one with other IT infrastructure solutions. The main difference between cloud and colocation is how data is managed and stored. In cloud, servers are owned by the cloud provider and data is managed virtually. In colocation, servers are not owned by the colocation facility, but instead by the business that is leasing the space.

Similarities between Colocation and Cloud

Cloud and Colocation both offer cost savings to businesses (compared to owned on-premise data centres) with cloud providers offering shared public resources virtually. Colocation is shared space within a data centre, but the resources within racks and cages are not shared, they are dedicated to the business that owns them. Shared resources in a colocation facility include:

  • Cooling systems and redundancies
  • Power systems and redundancies
  • Security systems

Which is best for you?

Colocation and cloud both offer businesses different ways to store and manage their data. Cloud, while popular, has drawbacks that mean businesses are looking for alternative ways to include secure cloud in their hybrid IT infrastructure. With colocation, business owned servers can house data securely and locally, as well as benefit from direct connection routes to cloud providers such as Google, Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure with Interxion Cloud Connect. If convenience is your main priority, having a colocation provider in the heart of the City is an ideal option for London businesses. With the proximity to your offices, your business can benefit from hands on, local connectivity to trade markets and suppliers with our connected community of clients that already colocate with us. With Interxion London, you can have the best of both cloud and colocation with our secure, purpose-built data centres in London, with the capacity for direct and hybrid connections to major cloud providers.

[1] Cloud Adoption Statistics - It's Everywhere & Everyone's Using It in 2020!