Recently we have witnessed significant evolutions of IT technologies and growth in the adoption of Cloud solutions by companies. But what happened to the “traditional” colocation? In the following lines we will see what the term colocation exactly means, how changed the IT market and which are the future perspectives about that service, that seems to have been left behind in favour of advanced virtual solutions.
What is colocation?
The term Colocation (or housing) refers to that service provided by specialized vendors which supplies to firms a physical space to allocate their IT system. Usually the customer’s infrastructure (servers, routers, switches and all the things included in the information system) is placed inside proper Data Centers or Server Farms where is ensured the maintenance and management of the infrastructural aspects by expert technical staff. In this way companies can optimize IT costs and take advantage of specialists for everything regarding the management of hardware components, as well as forget about issues related to connectivity or power supply. At the same time, with the colocation the client keep autonomy and control on his own IT system.
The evolution of IT market
In the last years seems that Cloud Computing has conquered the Information Technology market, leaving less and less room for colocation services. Indeed, small Data Centers can’t keep up with the latest technologies and with greater demands in terms of competitiveness and SLA. But colocation is not dead, actually. Statistics show that companies still use widely the service and colocation market, that currently has a value of billion dollars, is expected to grow. We are facing an apparent paradox. Why seems that the Cloud has conquered the IT market and that colocation is no longer used? Trivially because of the Cloud services characteristics. With the growth of Cloud Computing solutions increases the need of places to host bare-metal servers. So, the increase in Cloud services corresponds to a greater demand of colocation.
Another reason is that, even if it is an advanced technology, Cloud is not good for every business. According to specific requirements, each company can fit better one or the other solution. Often the firms that need to purchase a new infrastructure prefer The Cloud because of the high-level features like scalability and performance. But there are also companies with on-premise infrastructure that have no convenience investing in “in-house” data center because of the high expenditures for maintenance and management, and for them colocation is the best solution. Colocation may be preferable also for business which need to keep a high level of security and control on their corporate data and infrastructure. Cloud computing is surely the leading solution in the IT market, but is not suitable for all the companies beacause each business has its specific and totally different requirements.
The future of the market has a precise direction: increasing demand of high-performances, high SLA and advanced technical support. Even colocation providers shall take into account these emerging needs.In addition to the mere rent of physical spaces for servers, the colocation shall provide high-level expertise to manage complex infrastructures and be competitive on the market. The competitiveness represents an important value in the future developments of the field. Big data centers able to deal with complex demands that small companies can’t take, use of green energy, geographical distribution, transparent and defined SLA: those will be the essential features of the future colocation service.