What’s the difference between them?
To cut to the chase, the main difference is hardware. In the colocation scenario, the company owns or leases the actual server hardware and places it in a private, secure data center. The data center then manages the data connection, network security, cooling, power management, and all other relevant infrastructure requirements needed to keep the colocated server humming, safe and secure.
Cloud computing, on the other hand, relieves the company of needing to maintain any hardware of its own at all. The equipment is managed and operated by the service provider, along with everything else that would be handled by a contracted data center. In cloud computing, the network and data infrastructure is also location-independent due to a redundant architecture that’s geographically-distributed.
This strategy enables the network infrastructure to operate with higher security and reliability while making it less subject to any interruptions or downtime. At the same time, it provides real-time protection and backups to all company data stored and running on the cloud infrastructure.
- Gives you physical control over your backup.
- Keeps critical data in-house. No third party has access to your information.
- Can be more cost-effective for small to mid-sized companies.
- Requires a capital investment in hardware and infrastructure.
- Needs space in your office for a rack or server room/closet, in addition to dedicated IT support.
- No need for onsite hardware or capital expenses. Well-suited to smaller companies that may outgrow storage too quickly.
- Storage can be added as needed. Solutions are often on-demand, so you only pay for what you need.
- Backup and restore can be initiated from anywhere, using any computer, tablet, or smartphone.
- No uptime or recovery time guarantees.
- The costs of the data recovery could outweigh the benefits for companies that are not as dependent on uptime and instant recovery.
- Every organization will have a limit to data that can be stored in the cloud due to storage availability and cost.
The Bottom Line
Colocation and cloud services offer businesses alternatives to housing their data. Based on their specific requirements, each service has its unique pros and cons. Does your business put a higher premium on delivery or data security? Do your assets require full control or is convenience your main priority?
Knowing the colocation service that best fits your business needs can go a long way in determining the best course of action.