The dictionary defines colocation as when two or more things are located together. When the term is used with respect to IT infrastructure, most IT professionals know we are talking about specific data center services. A colocation facility is a data center where multiple clients can move their servers and other equipment to improve availability, increase security, and save money.

What is the difference between colocation and the Public Cloud? One way to answer this question is to consider the difference between living in an apartment and staying at a hotel. For those who love analogies, we can say Colocation is to an apartment as the Public Cloud is to a hotel room.

The analogy is timely because the market in Connecticut for houses and apartments is booming; just as there is growing interest in colocation. The COVID-19 pandemic drove many New York City residents to the Connecticut suburbs to live in a less congested environment. This led to a shortage of affordable single-family homes. Many who would like to purchase a home are now settling for an apartment as they wait for home prices to recede.

COVID-19 also spawned the Work From Home transformation. Even as the pandemic subsides, many companies plan to have their employees continue to work remotely. Some companies have decided to downsize their offices or shutter them completely to save money while employees work from home. In these cases, colocation provides a proper home for those IT systems that are not suitable for the Cloud.

Colocation is like renting an apartment in several ways. Whether renting an apartment or collocating IT systems, the client provides the infrastructure. Client owned servers and related IT equipment are housed at the colocation data center just as tenants provide the furnishings for the apartments in which they live.

Though it is possible in both a colocation agreement and an apartment lease for the client to be billed directly for utilities, it is more common for these services to be bundled into the monthly fee.

Finally, the period of the lease is comparable for both apartment rentals and colocation agreements. Most leases for apartments, as well as colocation contracts, are signed for a period of 1 or more years.

The Public Cloud is more like staying at a hotel. Services from AWS, Azure, or Google Cloud provide processing, memory, storage and connectivity resources to the client on demand. In a similar manner, a  hotel client expects their room to be outfitted with beds, a television, a refrigerator, linens, and more.

Whether ordering Public Cloud services or making a hotel reservation, arrangements can be made in a matter of minutes. In both cases contracts can be for a day or less. A long term commitment is not required.

Hotels and Public Cloud providers offer a great deal of flexibility but occasionally there can be surprises at the end of an engagement. Though most hotel expenses are predictable, there can be some unexpected charges upon checkout. Who knew the cocktails and snacks available from the in room mini- bar would be so expensive? In a similar way, unanticipated cloud charges due to egress fees and peak hour surcharges can create budget overruns that are difficult to explain to management.

CAPS has been a leading provider of colocation services to organizations in Connecticut and New York for over twenty-five years. If you are looking for a better place for your servers please contact us.