Colocation vs Cloud Services


Whether you’re starting a new businesses or growing an existing enterprise, it’s important to periodically re-examine your data-needs. It doesn’t matter if you’re a small-time shaved ice stand, a mid-sized online boutique, or a Fortune 500 corporation, maintaining a safe and speedy data-stream is of the utmost importance in a 21st Century market. 

This ain’t your grandma’s floppy disk. 

Although storage solutions are constantly improving, and an early 2000s IT guy would be floored by how much the industry has minimized storage devices, that storage still doesn’t come cheap. And storing it is only half the equation. Companies also need to be able to quickly transfer, upload, and download that data at a speed that doesn’t make Windows predict a 2092 ETA. 

One of the most important considerations for a business to make is “Cloud or Colo?” 

“Cloud computing really took over the market place by storm about five years ago,” says Technology Solutions COO Robert Sutton. “It became a hot topic, a buzzword. The market started pushing for all things Cloud, whether or not it was a good idea, whether or not it was the best fit for an organization. What is best for your organization is dependent on what your organization is doing, the size of your organization, what your process workflows look like, and what your goals are for success.”

What is “The Cloud?”

It may sound like a silly question to those who were raised on the internet, but the only bad question is the one left unasked. Basically, storing your data in The Cloud is simply keeping it on the internet as opposed to your personal computer. The information is still held in a hard drive in a physical location belonging to whatever Cloud-based provider you work with, but you only have access to the online information, not to the physical storage device.

What is Colocation?

Colocation, or Colo, is the process of storing your information in a remote physical location and accessing it via Virtual Private Network (VPN). Just like with cloud storage, when you colocate you are storing your data in a remote physical location belonging to a third party. Unlike the cloud, you are responsible for providing your own servers and maintaining them.

According to Sutton, Cloud is good for either really small business or really large businesses. “100% exclusive cloud infrastructure makes sense if you’re a small business, you need one domain controller, one file server, you don’t do a lot of large video or image editing. That’s going to make sense. Put everything in the cloud, you can probably get away with that for a few hundred dollars a month.”

Cloud-based solutions are also a good choice for massive enterprises who don’t want to constantly be replacing hardware every time it cycles out of life expectancy, which is generally every three to five years. “If you’re a large organization that budgets infrastructure in the millions of dollars, you might be looking to avoid or offset that cost, in which case moving everything to the cloud makes sense.”

However, you really only see those returns on investment at a massive level. For the majority of businesses, the best solution is often either colocation or a hybrid solution.

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Colocation vs Cloud Safety

SQL Server

When you colocate you are renting rack space in a building specifically dedicated to being a safe house for information. It is designed to ensure that your servers are always online and your VPN is always accessible. 

Just like with the Cloud, data stored in a remote dedicated server is accessible anytime you have an internet connection. However, your VPN offers far more protection than an unrestricted wireless router.

“Being able to ensure who has physical access to the server, through multiple protocols that can be audited and tracked regularly – you may not be able to afford the tools you need to implement that type of security, which is important in complying with certain industry regulations,” says Sutton.

Colocation vs Cloud Cost

While the Cloud is cheaper and easier than colocating for a small startup business, the opposite will quickly and dramatically become true as your company grows. A few gigabytes might be cheap to host online, but try finding a provider for a 128 GB RAM, 2×10 core set-up at less than the cost of hosting your own server hardware at a colocation site. You will be sorely disappointed.

Colocation vs On-Site Safety

With colocation, not only is your data safer from hackers than in the cloud, it’s also safer from physical disasters than in your office. Your office space may not be safe from tornadoes, earthquakes, fires, and floods, but our Tulsa data center is. Located inside one of Oklahoma’s largest skyscrapers, the Data3 facilities are capable of withstanding almost any natural disaster. Additionally, both Cityplex and Data3 have their own backup generators, creating redundancies that guarantee 24/7/365 accessibility.

What are Colocation Services?

Data3 provides power through multiple generators with tens of thousands of gallons of on-site fuel, a waterless fire suppressant system, 24/7/365 on-site security and cameras, lockable racks, and more, with redundancies built into the firewall, cooling system, and power system.

We also provide 24/7 environmental monitoring, email/SMS alerts, temperature and humidity threshold breach alerts, weekly generator test run alerts, building maintenance notifications, network and system-resource monitoring, and more.

What are Colocation Data Centers?

Colocation data centers are specifically designed to keep your information as safe as possible through redundant fail-safe measures. The Data3 facilities are housed in the largest single-pour concrete facility in Oklahoma, in a pre-stressed steel reinforced building rated to withstand EF4+ winds up to 260 miles per hour. The center has significant parking, a loading dock, and freight elevators. There are surveillance cameras throughout the facility, two-factor biometric access, no exterior walls or windows, and the rackspace sits on the 4th floor to remove any threat of flooding or ground-level disaster.

How Does Colocation Work?

Your business utilizes Data3’s security, high-speed 24/7 internet services, and overall stability while providing your own metal. The customer relocates their current server infrastructure from an on-premise site to a dedicated Tulsa data center that has zero risk of power outages or other bothersome obstacles.

How Much Does Colocation Cost?

Servers & Storage

For your average midsized business, Colo costs significantly less than the Cloud, or on-premise storage. Not only is rack space itself cheaper than most cloud services but it comes with priceless perks that you don’t get through online storage solutions. Comparing Colo to on-premise storage, you save on energy consumption, the cost of bandwidth and internet services, and you free up room in your office by removing the need for a server room.

Why Use Colocation Services?

For your average midsized business, Colo costs significantly less than the Cloud, or on-premise storage. Not only is rack space itself cheaper than most cloud services but it comes with priceless perks that you don’t get through online storage solutions. Comparing Colo to on-premise storage, you save on energy consumption, the cost of bandwidth and internet services, and you free up room in your office by removing the need for a server room.

Best Colocation Data-Center Provider?

Data3 aims to be the best in the field when it comes to top-notch colocation services, providing best-in-class technology solutions and infrastructure development for businesses in the Tulsa Metropolitan area, throughout Oklahoma, and across the nation. Data3 has been working with small, mid-sized, and even Fortune 500 companies across the globe since 1999.

In addition to advanced colocating services, Data3 also provides I.T. consulting, cloud services (either separate from, or in tandem with colocation), technology and strategy consulting, I.T. security and audits, disaster recovery and business continuity planning, data analysis, data mining, forensic data recovery, and more.

Colocation vs The Cloud

“It’s not a one size fits all,” says Sutton. “Everybody has different needs, different business requirements, and different process workflows. What’s best for most organizations is going to be a combination of both of those things.

“Say you’re an advertising company, you make a ton of high definition videos and high definition graphics. That is a lot of file traffic that is moving back and forth. Maybe not something you really want to be doing in a cloud-hosted environment. Something that’s not going to be performing at a good cost-rate. If you do AutoCAD drawings or anything with large files, you’re going to want to have some kind of physical server infrastructure for handling those files. The second you start doing it in the cloud, storage gets really expensive.”

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