When it comes to storage options, colocation and cloud services both offer tremendous cost savings for budget-minded businesses in need of an affordable and effective data storage solution. However, there are a number of pros and cons for businesses to consider as they determine which solution offers the best fit.
Consider Talent and Equipment
Businesses that already have considerable IT talent may consider the choice between colocation and cloud hosting from a cost/benefit point of view. Businesses with the skill set and budget to purchase and maintain their own equipment may see colocation as a better fit for their needs. The cost of leasing shared data center space may be more reasonable than building and maintaining in-house server space, especially when power and cooling costs are factored in.
On the other hand, businesses with a limited IT talent pool may find colocation to be a tremendous burden on staff and a drain on resources. In cases like this, cloud hosting may prove to be a more attractive option.
Room for Growth
As long as a business has the equipment budget and IT talent, colocation can offer an extremely scalable option for quick growth. However, some businesses may find it more financially advantageous to purchase additional storage in smaller increments from a cloud hosting provider.
Although the majority of cloud providers are flexible enough to accommodate fast growth among businesses, others may assess additional fees and penalties for clients who scale up heavily.
Businesses that are required to comply with HIPAA, SOX, and other regulatory requirements should consider the risks of non-compliance when choosing between colocation and cloud hosting.
Colocation places the burden of compliance on internal IT staff, whereas most cloud providers are experienced with handling compliance issues. Colocation can also expose businesses to compliance-related liabilities, which could reach up to millions of dollars in penalties and lost business in the wake of a failed audit.
Assistance and Support Options
Support options for colocation and cloud hosting services can vary among providers. Some offer genuine 24/7/365 service, while others offer support that’s strictly limited to business hours. It’s crucial for businesses to consider their support needs before committing to a particular provider.
Some colocation providers offer “a la carte” services that provide on-demand assistance with installation, maintenance, and upgrade tasks. These services can be advantageous during periods when internal IT staff is unable to attend to those tasks.
For businesses interested in colocation, on-demand support services can be affordable for intermittent periods. However, heavy reliance on on-demand support could result in costs that exceed that of a hosted cloud.
When it comes to near-100% uptime, self-managed hosting options may not offer the best choice unless the client has the IT experience to enforce data availability. Cloud hosting providers, on the other hand, can offer uptime guarantees that ensure continuous access to critical data. Businesses should make sure that their chosen provider has an established track record of meeting or exceeding their stated uptime guarantees prior to finalizing a service level agreement (SLA).
In the face of tight budgets, businesses are under pressure to keep their IT infrastructure intact using existing resources. These and the above mentioned issues may factor into a company’s choice between colocation and cloud hosting.