Data storage and processing will always be in increasing demand as the world advances forward into the Information Age. In order to be equipped with the necessary facilities to work with large data, companies are required to get servers and data centers. In this way, they have quite a number of options when it comes to what kind of infrastructure to work with. In this article, we will discuss the difference between two primary options: colocation and cloud.
Understanding Colocation vs Cloud
To be able to compare and contrast colocation and cloud data services, the basic concepts of the two must first be understood. However, one thing can be explained right away – their similarities.
The main similarity between colocation and cloud services is that they are both not in-house options. These are two options that are ideal for companies that are not able or do not want to host their own data centers in their building or premises. With this in mind, here are the two explained a little further.
In a colocation setup, the colocation provider actually just rents out a space in their building. The company still has to acquire the necessary equipment for their data infrastructure. However, the company benefits by having the option to be able to set up their equipment in a space that is already appropriately designed with the necessary specifications to be a data center. Furthermore, they have additional benefits such as alternative power backups and security features.
The clear advantage of a colocation service compared to an in-house data center is that the company does not invest too much resources upfront. Especially if the company is not very big that having its own data center would be too much. Plus, this saves the company time and money that would have gone to creating a space that would have the necessary specifications for a data center.
Of course, colocation services have its downsides as well. It would be ideal if the colocation provider is near the company offices or else it might take up too much time for certain staff members to go back and forth when needed. Monthly fees are also highly variable when using a colocation service as the price can depend on the traffic the servers generate.
While a colocation service is still a physical data center that is simply housed somewhere else, cloud services on the other hand are mostly on the internet. It can be thought of as having access to software and hardware that the company is not responsible for. They are simply having the benefits of having these infrastructure available to them through the internet.
The main advantage of having cloud services is having access to the entire infrastructure through the internet. This means that someone from the company can control everything they need to as long as they have the internet and the authority to do so. Having access and flexibility over the internet also makes collaborations easier when the data and the work is hosted in a cloud service.
Cloud services can also cut back IT costs as the subscription to this type of infrastructure does not require personnel, equipment, and maintenance.
While cloud services seem to be very tempting, they also come with certain disadvantages. Having complete access through the internet is both a convenience and a security risk at the same time.
Imagine that if a person from the company can have access to the data center through the internet, that also means that hackers and other people with malicious intent can potentially have access as long as they have the internet as well. That is why cloud services are typically highly guarded infrastructure with numerous security features.
Another disadvantage of having access to the entire infrastructure over the internet is that access is solely reliant on the internet connection. If the entire company relies on data hosted on a cloud server, then operations will potentially be cut off in the event that the internet connection is down.
A Mix of Infrastructures
Listed above are two good data infrastructure options. However, they are not mutually exclusive and oftentimes, companies do not have to choose one over the other. One of the best practices for security, economics, and convenience is having both types in a mixed system of infrastructure.
Having two types of data services can greatly benefit the company as they would then have access to the best of both worlds. For example, they can have access to important data through the internet using cloud services while keeping data storage and records in a physical location through a colocation provider.
Having the two will also help lessen the disadvantages of each. The convenience of could services can make up for the possible difficulty in reaching the colocation provider. At the same time, the data in the colocation service can still be accessible through manual engagement when the internet connection does not permit cloud services.
While the two different data infrastructure types have their inherent differences, they ultimately help the company the same way – by providing data solutions that can help the company grow. Choosing between the two is not necessarily the correct question. It is more practical to choose what type of data to use a cloud service for and what data should require a colocation provider.
The two data infrastructures explained are both ideal in specific situations and many factors should be considered when deciding between the two. For example, what kind of data is the company working with?
Data that needs constant access might be better hosted at a cloud service for the convenience of internet access. At the same time, cloud services might not be the best choice for storing highly important files such as client records, employee records, government documents, and such due to the security risk. Colocation services on the other hand might be highly beneficial for off-site data storage and processing.