With cloud computing growing in popularity, SMBs (and others) are questioning whether it is more practical to colocate their data centers or completely bypass that option and head into the cloud. First, let’s briefly clarify the two:
Data center co-location: Typically provided as a commercial service, this option allows SMBs to rent data center space from a third party facility that provides necessary pipe (network connectivity to the Internet) and ping (network response). Space is usually leased as individual rack units, cabinets, cages, suites, rooms and facilities
Cloud computing: By moving to the ‘cloud,’ SMBs have the ability to store and process data over the Internet. For clarity, Gartner defines cloud computing as “a style of computing where scalable and elastic IT capabilities are provided as a service to multiple customers using Internet technologies”
Colocation addresses data center facilities needs. Cloud computing includes IT infrastructure as well as data center facilities, all delivered as a service. Both options provide network and cost-saving benefits, and SMBs can benefit greatly from either solution.
Data center colocation provides the opportunity to house dedicated computing infrastructure (servers, network devices) instead of building a data room or data center, allowing them to save money on costly facilities infrastructure and maintenance. On-site data centers can require high overhead investments which are often difficult to justify.
Colocation offers customizable services to ensure the client is getting exactly what they need. In turn, networks, bandwidth, redundancy and connectivity become less expensive and are often more reliable than on-site, owner-operated facilities. Data Center colocation also allows businesses to free up internal networks and increase Web access speed- a by-product is the reduction of power consumption saves money. Additionally, many colocation facilities are moving toward green power sources such as solar or wind to offset the carbon impact of their energy use.
Providers also offer additional technical support, which is beneficial to smaller businesses that may not have the budget to employ experts to address challenging IT issues.
On the other side of the debate, cloud services not only include the facility savings of co-location, they also deliver computing, storage, backup and additional infrastructure as a service. The ability to compute in the cloud is not location specific – clients are not tied to a specific device or piece of hardware. Instead, the Internet acts as a new ‘facility’ which provides access to the various services. Additionally, the cloud is much more flexible. With a click of a mouse, scalable resources and support are available to meet business needs around the clock.
The cloud also offers “pay as you go” pricing structures, which make it simple for clients to grow or change their computing and storage needs. According to Forrester, cloud services can enable businesses to pay between $70 and $150 per month for a fully-utilized server, versus the average $400 a month that it costs an enterprise to run a server in house. These cost-saving benefits can be realized today to help prepare for future expansion. Through the cloud, clients can expand resources immediately and prepare for IT advancements that they might otherwise do without.
While security is a forefront concern, properly implemented cloud computing does not entail any more security risks than traditional computing. With effective data security in place, cloud computing is a safe, reliable way to outsource data. However, because it is a newer technology and an innovative way of delivering IT services, clients are reliant on the cloud vendors’ security capabilities. The cloud is all about network and systems security, as opposed to co-location centers which are focused primarily on physical security.
With ByteGrid's recent launch of a cloud computing offering, we offer both ‘flavors’ for prospects/clients to choose from. However, as ByteGrid continues to reinforce our mantra of high level/high touch, we’re convinced that cloud computing represents the best opportunity to leverage our commitment to customer focus.
More Information about ByteGrid Cloud Hosting Offerings.