Hybrid Cloud Computing is one of the hottest IT topics these days. Hybrid Cloud is when multiple cloud service providers and/or cloud deployment models are used by a single organization. The hybrid cloud model seeks to optimize performance and cost savings. An example of hybrid cloud computing would be an AWS Public Cloud client that also uses Microsoft Azure or Google Cloud for some workloads. Another hybrid cloud example would be when an organization deploys a public cloud solution for some of its applications and a private cloud solution for other workloads.

By adopting a Hybrid Cloud approach, organizations can avoid vendor lock-in and preserve flexibility to select the best performing and lowest cost service solution for a particular application. Hybrid Cloud Computing should make it possible to switch services to achieve the greatest possible savings.

Yet the ability to shift quickly from one cloud service to another to benefit from price variability is not  practical for most organizations. Even if an “On Demand” Cloud service contract from Cloud Service Provider A can be replaced with a more competitive contract from Provider B, there are often complications that impose barriers to such frictionless redeployments.

Amazon, Microsoft, Google and others are waging an epic battle to increase their respective IaaS market shares. They each employ legions of marketing experts who seek to get and keep new clients. The cost of transferring software licenses between cloud service providers is a prime example of a competitive mechanism that Microsoft has employed. Egress fees associated with downloading data from a particular cloud service can also make the perceived value of moving to an alternate provider far less compelling. Finally, the technical resources needed to relocate workloads from one cloud service to another can be significant and can provide an impediment to making a change.

The Public Cloud vendors have also, in many cases, made it extremely difficult to compare the costs of various IaaS services. Though they all provide online calculators to help users estimate the cost of a particular configuration, there are many variables which make it difficult to make an apples to apples comparison. AWS and Microsoft have such extensive billing options that it often requires special expertise to determine the best deal. Google Cloud is generally recognized as having the most transparent billing of the major vendors but it still is challenging to compare costs versus the other providers.

Early adopters of Hybrid Cloud Computing have found utilizing colocation services can make it easier to evolve to the Hybrid Cloud model. By moving their servers from a corporate data center to an enterprise class colocation facility they benefit from superior connectivity options. Enterprise class colocation providers offer Carrier Neutral internet connectivity. Clients can take advantage of this networking flexibility to connect to Public Cloud Service Providers. This makes it possible to benchmark various options to determine the best solution for a particular workload before committing to a service. Other colocation benefits include superior power and environmental systems redundancy and better security. The colocation provider’s technical support team often can help guide clients as they seek to optimize operations via Hybrid Cloud Computing.

A recent study by the Uptime Institute reported about 30% of all surveyed data centers experience a significant outage each year. “Data center owners and operators know that on-premises power failures continue to cause the most outages (33%), with network and connectivity issues close behind (31%).” Though power and connectivity problems often are the cause of an outage, the Uptime Institute survey indicates about 70% of data center outages are precipitated by human error.


This got us thinking. What is so different at CAPS? We have not had an unscheduled loss of power at our secure SSAE 2018 data center in over twenty years. This includes during Super Storm Sandy and several other major storms. Why is our performance so much better than the industry as a whole?

Sure, our data center includes redundant UPS and redundant diesel generators. The UPS systems provide power immediately if primary power is interrupted. Our generators spring into action 8 to 12 seconds after the UPS systems are activated and operate continuously for at least 72 hours without refueling. CAPS has established high priority status with its fuel suppliers. We have a guaranteed 4 hour delivery contract so we can run our generators indefinitely if required. We also automatically test our generators every week.

Clients also benefit from the outstanding record of service from United illuminating which provides power to the data center. UI has consistently performed well over many years through many different hurricanes and winter storms.

CAPS’ Carrier Neutral facility also provides automatic failover from primary to secondary internet carrier circuits via Border Gateway Protocol to pre-empt connectivity problems.

Though CAPS’ power, environmental, and networking systems are extremely fault tolerant, the same is true at many other enterprise class data centers. So what else is at play?

The difference may be in our people and procedures. The CAPS data center team is comprised of seasoned professionals who have worked together for years. Procedures developed and refined over the past two decades contribute to CAPS’ stellar record. Our engineers continuously monitor critical data center systems and are proactive whenever they receive notification of a possible problem. Our team all live in close proximity to our data center. Alerts are sent immediately via email and text messages to make sure the status of all vital systems is known at any time of the day or night.

CAPS also benefits from the support it receives from its sister company – Blue Hill Data Services. The professionals manning the Network Operations Center 24/7/365 at Blue Hill also monitor CAPS’ systems. This provides an additional layer of monitoring and a second pair of eyes to make sure everything is operating properly. Blue Hill also contributes the expertise of its networking and security professionals.

Finally, credit must be given to the service contractors who perform regularly scheduled preventative maintenance to insure operability of the critical equipment at the CAPS data center. CAPS has long term relationships with these providers. They understand our requirements and are very responsive in helping solve problems before they impact service. An inventory of critical spare components is stored at CAPS to facilitate and expedite repairs when necessary.

To perform well above industry norms requires a dedicated team with proper training, thoughtfully conceived procedures, and a commitment to providing outstanding service and availability. CAPS is very proud of our remarkable record over the past 20 years and is dedicated to keeping the string of success going.