Cloud vs. Colocation and Why You Should Use Both

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There are two popular service models for outsourcing business IT infrastructure hosting: cloud computing and colocation. 

The cloud delivers computing services over the internet, allowing users to access and use resources remotely on demand. Colocation, in contrast, is a service model where businesses own their servers, storage, and network hardware, but host them in a third-party data center that provides power, cooling, security, and connectivity. 

Both options have benefits and drawbacks, so pragmatic businesses should adopt a hybrid approach, choosing cloud or colocation when they provide the best solution for a particular set of needs.

Why Businesses Use Cloud Computing

Flexibility is the most significant benefit of cloud computing. Businesses pay only for what they use, and they can scale up or down as needed, making the cloud ideal for unpredictable workloads with fluctuating demands. Cloud computing also helps businesses be agile. They can take advantage of resources and deploy applications without upfront investment in hardware and infrastructure.

There are, however, some trade-offs to using cloud platforms. Predicting costs in the cloud can be difficult, especially with variable workloads, which can lead to excessive spending on cloud infrastructure. Additionally,  cloud platforms may offer limited customization. They are built to satisfy general needs, and businesses with niche requirements may struggle to maximize the benefit of their infrastructure investment.

Why Businesses Use Colocation

Colocation has many of the same advantages as the cloud. Users can rely on the colocation data center’s power, cooling, and connectivity infrastructure. The data center is also responsible for physical security and network security. 

In contrast to cloud platforms, colocation gives users complete hardware control. They can manage and configure servers and networking infrastructure to meet their specific needs — something that is not possible when a third party owns and manages the physical infrastructure layer.

On the other hand, colocation requires businesses to buy servers and hardware. The high upfront costs can be a barrier to entry, particularly for small businesses. Maintenance responsibilities may also be challenging when businesses have their own hardware and infrastructure. 

The Hybrid Approach: Cloud and Colocation Together

Cloud computing and colocation are complementary, not competing, infrastructure hosting modalities. You don’t have to choose one or the other. In fact, you shouldn’t limit yourself to a single modality because a hybrid approach lets you exploit the strengths of each option while minimizing the drawbacks.

For example, you can use colocation for mission-critical applications that require high performance, stability, and compliance. At the same time, you can use the cloud for applications that rely on elasticity, innovation, and cost-effectiveness, allowing you to scale up or down as needed while avoiding the upfront investment in hardware and infrastructure. At Liberty Center One, we understand that our clients have a wide variety of infrastructure needs. We work with them to find the best infrastructure solution for their unique circumstances, whether that’s server colocation or cloud computing services, including public cloud, private cloud, and Desktop-as-a-Service (DaaS) solutions.