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Dr Stuart Nielsen-Marsh, Pulsant
Does colocation have a role to play in a cloud-based world?

Does colocation have a role to play in a cloud-based world?

Despite the inevitability of a cloud-based computing future, organisations are still hesitant to abandon their existing on-premises infrastructures, whether it be for security and/or compliance issues or due to workloads that don’t lend themselves well to virtualised platforms.

Thankfully there is a middle ground. A colocation to cloud strategy is about enabling companies to locate servers in third-party datacentres where they can realise the benefits of lower costs and improved security. More importantly, they can then work with that provider to enable easy access to the right expertise for developing longer term strategies for solely cloud-based solutions.

Cloud technology is redefining business IT. With various vendors competing to offer lower costs, superior agility and state-of-the-art services, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by such a wealth of options. From AI and big data to IoT, organisations should step back and adopt a more holistic approach to their cloud journey to inspire a re-engineering of the business.

Assessing cloud options

Many companies feel they can’t rely on the public cloud for reasons relating to security and compliance, but they also want to offer high-quality application performance to customers while retaining control of their environments and data. As a result, many now seek a hybrid cloud solution.

However, before doing so, three questions need to be answered.

  • What is the business reason for moving to the cloud? — This involves taking a step back and defining why the journey is necessary in the first place. For example, an ISV might choose to do so to start selling more modern, cloud-based and SaaS offerings
  • What issues need to be overcome? — To continue with the ISV example, it needs to deliver the new cloud and SaaS offerings to client while maintaining compliance with new regulations, including the GDPR and PSD2
  • What solution will help to solve this? — For the compliance-conscious ISV, it might choose a hybrid solution that is suitable for cloud consumption that maintains compliance. This would allow the ISV to take the data it uses regularly, consolidate it and make it useful in a modern application sense.

Why hybrid?

The private side of a hybrid cloud solution helps organisations continue using its existing infrastructure more effectively. This can be configured and reconfigured at will, while maintaining data security and complying with governance and regulations. It also ensures the predictability and reliability of critical applications.

On the public side, companies can move specific workloads to public clouds, where hyper-scale compute, analytics and disaster recovery services can be leveraged more cost-effectively. They can also ‘burst out’ to public clouds to allow for surges in traffic by moving certain applications to the public cloud and accessing extra capacity when needed.

If a company uses a trusted managed service provider who specialises in colocation hosting, private and hybrid cloud development, it can also rid itself of the time, resources and costs of having to support and manage its own infrastructure. This can help it to focus exclusively on improving the services and solutions it offers to customers.

So colocation is the strategic choice after all?

The question for most companies now is how to effectively connect their existing infrastructure to these private cloud access services. This is where colocation providers, and specifically the new breed of managed service providers comes in. Companies who have a heritage of colocation, hybrid and communication infrastructure are far better placed to help companies on this journey than many ‘born in the cloud’ services providers. These types of service provider understand the complexities of migrating services, applications and data to multi cloud environment and importantly have the DevOps, monitoring, security and management skills experience to help take companies navigate what is a far more complex environment than they have today.


Whether colocation in the traditional sense, or colocation as private cloud, adopting a colocation to cloud strategy provides a strategic advantage. Ultimately, keeping key services and resources in the right service provider datacentres allows customers to deliver solutions and improve customer engagement in more situations, providing better flexibility and compliance and security standards, while still leveraging the most important elements of public cloud.

About Japonica Jackson

Japonica is head of editorial at IT Security Guru. If you'd like to get in touch with Japonica, please email