The debate on whether outsourcing your data center is a more cost-effective option than maintaining a private data center is very relevant and deserves to be addressed. For the smaller businesses, maintaining their own data centers may turn out to be a very costly proposition. They prefer to shift their servers to someone else’s rack space while the larger businesses can afford to build and maintain their own private data center. When you choose colocation, it is like choosing an all-inclusive plan where the provider will offer you the hardware and equipments, network connectivity, bandwidth, cooling and air-conditioning systems, security and support.
Finding out whether colocation or an in-house data center is a better option:
• As far as connectivity costs are concerned, you will realize that the reputed colocation hosting providers have data centers which are carrier-neutral. This means that network connectivity will never fail. The smaller businesses typically must sign up with one carrier, regardless of what the charges are. You may however require higher data transfer speeds but there are providers which may not be able to guarantee high bandwidth. To avoid bottlenecks from occurring you will find that colocation is a better option because a residential connection will not suffice in such cases.
• You will need rack space for your servers and enough storage area for the hardware. You will also need uninterruptible power supply backed up by very powerful generators to take care of outages. Businesses will also need other arrangements like battery backup for their routers and switches so as to avoid downtimes. When you maintain an in-house data center, you will need climate controlled environments. This can be guaranteed through various air-conditioning systems which have to stay independent so that they do not get affected when there is a shutdown. Moreover, these units should be situated far away from possible leaks and condensation. This amounts to high maintenance costs when you are planning on owning a private data center.
• As far as security goes, in-house servers are usually kept in climate controlled locked rooms which can be accessed by only a handful of people. Ideally, there should be multiple security layers for protection of sensitive client data through alarm systems, CCTV cameras, on-site surveillance and biometric scanners. Besides physical security, you will need robust arrangements for virtual security. For this, you need effective firewalls to safeguard the network from cyber attacks and hacking attempts. The numbers of DDoS attacks each day is constantly on the rise and this amounts to huge losses in revenues. A colocation provider can take care of security arrangements for you by introducing many security layers for proper data protection against possible breaches. There are measures like 24×7 CCTV monitoring, bulletproof mantraps, physical fencing with dual-factor authentication etc. When a business must conform to HIPAA rules, such security measures can ensure smooth compliance.
• Colocation is also cost-effective compared to in-house servers because it allows businesses to scale up and down their resources according to demands. You can easily adjust the amount of bandwidth or server space you need and pay only for what you are using. So, you do not have to spend a fortune of building new facilities.
• When you have an off-site data center, your data is protected even if there is an outage. This means that there will not be any downtimes and no data loss as a result. The co-located equipments will continue to run because of the colocation provider’s redundant network connectivity and redundant power supplies.
• Colocation appears to be a far better choice for saving costs because it gives businesses a predictable model for their operational costs. It can lower management costs and guarantee higher stability. Colocation will do away with upfront costs which are needed to build any new facility. When you have your own data center, it is necessary to keep pace with advanced technologies for enhanced site performance. Besides, businesses will also need to spend for backup generators, UPS or uninterruptible power supplies, network connections etc which can now be handled by the colocation hosting provider. This cost savings helps businesses to allocate these funds in other areas while their servers are maintained in a state-of-the-art secure facility.
• Finally, with expert assistance, troubleshooting of server related problems becomes easier and faster. The colocation host will provide remote technical supports for the operating systems, hardware, network equipments etc and your in-house IT teams can then concentrate on other tasks for development of the business. They will not have to worry about the day-to-day maintenance of the servers.
These arguments suggest that colocation is perhaps a better choice for the small and medium sized businesses which do not have the funds to maintain a private data center. For them, it is economical to spend money on buying colocation hosting solutions.