Colocation facilities have long been vital resources for organizations that require high-performing data centers but prefer to entrust infrastructure management to a third-party provider. In addition to sparing IT departments the headaches of maintaining servers, switches and other equipment, colocation produces tangible benefits such as:

  • Redundant power supplies: Individual endpoint failures or even natural disasters won’t compromise uptime.
  • Streamlined IT costs: Colocation removes many of IT’s considerable expenditures on equipment and personnel
  • Cutting-edge performance: A colo facility typically has access to best of breed IP services and equipment, more often than not enabling better speed and reliability than the client could achieve strictly in-house.

Accordingly, in North America, the colocation and managed hosting services market is primed for strong expansion. TechNavio recently projected that it would increase at a 13.6 percent compound annual growth rate from 2013 to 2018.

Reduction of capital and operating expenditures is expected to be a key driver of colocation uptake. But what is colocation’s place in an IT landscape increasingly dominated by cloud services?

Finding the right colocation provider in the era of cloud computing
Cloud computing has fundamentally changed IT by giving developers, testers and operations teams access to unprecedented amounts of on-demand resources. Organizations have more options than ever for scaling their businesses, and the cloud has already enabled the success of blockbluster services such as Netflix and Instagram.

Colocation can play an important part as companies modernize their infrastructure and take advantage of remote infrastructure. Many IT departments are in the midst of migrating some on-premises systems to the cloud, creating mixed environments known as hybrid clouds. Colocation providers can step to the plate and supply the security, flexibility and know-how needed for evolving IT for the cloud age.

To that end, buyers should look for experienced managed services providers adept at handling a variety of infrastructure. Although colocation has been around since before the cloud entered the mainstream, cutting-edge offerings may offer a level of usability on par with public cloud, via top-flight service management.

“[C]olocation providers need to offer more than just remote hands,” wrote Keao Caindec, chief marketing officer at 365 Data Centers, for Data Center Knowledge. “They need to offer basic managed services such as firewall management, server management, backup and recovery services as well as other managed IT operations services for the dedicated infrastructure of each client.”