The last 18 months have proved to be a transformative roller coaster for thousands of organisations in every industry sector, thanks to the disruptions created by the global pandemic that have turbo-charged a plethora of new digital business initiatives.
For small and medium sized (SME) companies, digitalisation represents both an opportunity and a threat. On the one hand, digitalisation levels the playing field when it comes to taking advantage of big data, AI, IoT and new automation technologies. Or leveraging cloud platforms to transform supply chains and business models.
But with limited resources, SMEs will have to work smarter to acquire the mission critical infrastructure and connectivity at scale they’ll need – and that’s where colocation can prove a game changer.
Colocation – a quick overview
Colocation is the practice of renting physical space for servers and other hardware devices in a data centre facility that provides all the necessary infrastructure for running a data centre, including all associated hardware and software. For a monthly fee, the data centre provides you with the floor space (which can include or exclude racks), power and cooling.
The more advanced a data centre is, the better the services it provides. To reduce the risk of outage, modern data centres will provide redundant power sources, together with warm and cool aisles, a choice of power consumption options, built in resilience and guaranteed availability SLAs. Plus, most data centres maintain ultra-high levels of physical security with 24×7 surveillance and biometric authorisation.
For SMEs, utilising a colocation data centre eliminates the capital costs involved in building and maintaining their own facility while maintaining full ownership and control of their hardware assets.
Let’s take a look at the other advantages to be gained.
1 Reducing TCO for the business
Using a colocation service lowers the total cost of ownership (TCO) for the business. Cutting the cost of utility bills, infrastructure and physical space, SMEs benefit from a single manageable and predictable monthly cost while taking advantage of the economies of scale that come with using a colocation service where costs are shared among all customers.
2 Business continuity
The advanced recovery solutions for power and infrastructure that modern colocation services offer, help ensure data is available at all times – or at least for an often guaranteed 99.9% of the time. Plus, having data housed in a separate geographic location ensures data is protected offsite in the event that offices are impacted by a catastrophic event such as fire or flooding.
Colocation facilities offer the expertise and equipment in-house SMEs need to quickly scale infrastructure up or down as required.
Adding additional storage, compute and networking resources in line with increased demand or growing data needs is no longer an issue – there’s no need to worry if there is sufficient space in existing offices to handle growing requirements. Plus, SMEs can take advantage of a wide choice of bandwidth services, and the costs per Mbit will be lower. Making colocation a smart choice for SMEs that are preparing to scale.
Today’s leading colocation providers are evolving fast when it comes to delivering the connectivity today’s businesses need. Acting as a gateway to true network superhighways, they provide an extensive choice of connectivity options from multiple providers.
While most data centres still expect customers to arrange and manage their own Internet connectivity, some leading colocation service providers now offer a network service that eliminates the time and hassle involved in setting up and managing contracts with multiple carriers or telco providers.
Providing uplinks to your platform, they can take care of routing and handling everything from arranging public Ips and configuring BGP peering. Releasing SMEs from these resource intensive tasks to focus on what’s really core to their business.
Plus, some now make it easy for SMEs to connect their colocation equipment directly into cloud-powered servers and storage in the cloud, so they can manage a controlled evolution to a hybrid cloud solution that’s optimised for their needs.
5 Service and support
Finally, today’s leading-edge colocation service providers now offer SMEs cost-effective access to support and specialist know-how that can be incorporated into a single service level agreement (SLA). Whether that’s hiring ‘remote hands’ to gain access to a highly certified engineer that is available on-hand 24×7 in the data centre to undertake day-to-day routine tasks. Or to assist in the speedy troubleshooting of problems and then undertaking corrective actions.
Getting – and staying – future-fit
Keeping pace with the demands of today’s rapidly evolving world of digital business can prove challenging for SMEs that need to be able to react fast to unexpected growth and change. Enabling SMEs to become agile fast, colocation represents the ideal solution for any organisation that needs to ensure it can scale its infrastructure in a reliable and secure manner – without breaking the bank. With remote and hybrid working becoming more prevalent and plans to downsize office spaces threatening to impact existing IT infrastructure performance, relocating the on-premises IT server estate to a colocation data centre offers a more secure, and often more reliable, foundation for enabling the capacity and resilience that will be needed for today’s – and future – workloads.