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Colocation: A Pivot Point in the Hybrid Cloud

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March 13, 2014
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Cloud computing and storage is not an all-in decision but, rather, a core piece in a flexible hybrid IT strategy that continues to adapt and adjust with business requirements and technology advancements. Using data center services, including colocation, in the hybrid strategy provides an excellent staging area for learning about, testing and moving ahead with additional cloud services at a time that’s right for you and your company.

The right time may be coming much faster than your think. According to our technology partner Cisco about half of all IT workloads will be completed in the cloud this year, marking the cross-over from on-premise to in-cloud. By 2017, nearly two-thirds of all data processing will be cloud-based.

Looked at another way one-half to one-third of workloads will still be processed somewhere other than the cloud. Most IT operations will be a combination of on premise, managed hosting, colocation and cloud … even multiple cloud providers with various service delivery models. That is, IT infrastructures will be hybrid and tailored to individual needs, not only for the next few years but for the foreseeable future.

Some startups get to begin life in the cloud. But the rest of us other factors to consider. We have to roll up our sleeves, produce products, run warehouses, and look customers in the eye. Many have legacy systems that continue to provide organizational value. It would be enormously disruptive (if not impossible) to simply unplug.

Care and feeding of these computing infrastructures by internal IT staff consume enormous corporate resources. More importantly, routine management and maintenance tied to power conditioning, cooling, back-up systems, bandwidth management and physical security divert attention from actually running your business.

Colocation is an avenue for getting out from under that burden. Whether you are looking to outsource some or all of your datacenter operations, or need physical facilities for building compute and storage systems anew, colocation can be a highly effective alternative to on-premise facilities.

At some point in time, colocation will be a key part of most companies’ outsourcing strategies. Many firms, we’ve found, are using colocation as their on-ramp to the cloud. Not only does this reduce cost and free up resources, it helps to build familiarity and comfort with cloud concepts. It clears the decks a bit, providing visibility to the other areas of opportunity for moving workloads off of owned systems and into the cloud.

An IT infrastructure services provider with established cloud computing and storage, as well, lets you get a taste of other services such as data back-up, disaster recovery, and on-demand “burstable” memory or storage capacity, thus avoiding over-provisioning for just-in-case spikes. The trick is to choose a provider that offers options and is capable of growing with you.

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