Recognize the business advantages of data colocation

For many companies, it can be tempting to approach data storage in a fairly insular manner, keeping files on-premise so they can be easily accessed and IT can maintain absolute control. But businesses are increasingly jettisoning their expensive storage and server infrastructure in favor of switching to an outsourced colocation model. By making IT a fixed operational expenditure rather than a massive capital expenditure, companies can remain more flexible. Colocation data centers also provide numerous IT benefits in terms of disaster resilience and collaboration.

"Hosting your own infrastructure can require significant capital investment in real estate," IT executive James Carnie told ComputerWeekly in a recent feature about the merits of different spending models.

In addition to real estate costs, companies investing in their own infrastructure face massive hardware expenses, and they also must accurately anticipate future expansion to know how much equipment to buy during purchase cycles. Additionally, ownership includes the need to pay for their own ongoing maintenance, which leads to unexpected costs as companies deal with issues that arise. In contrast, a colocation model shifts businesses to a planning approach built around fixed monthly costs, IT executive Akshay Kalle wrote in a recent column for the Globe & Mail.

"Managed services models reduce the considerable costs of storage, upgrades, data recovery, converting big capital outlays and unpredictable maintenance costs in time and materials, into predictable monthly fees with clear expectations and guarantees," Kalle explained.

Colocation also simplifies the challenge of dealing with disasters by moving data off-site to a resilient facility, and, by centralizing business information, it enables easier audits, Kalle added. Centralization and virtualization also foster collaboration: By moving data to shared resources in a data center rather than letting it languish on desktops, companies can simplify file sharing and other collaborative processes among their employees.