According to recent studies, more and more companies are relying on colocation services in order to handle the capacity issues of their own data centers. Rather than building brand new facilities (which come with a significant capital price tag as well as plenty of operational costs) they are outsourcing their data center capacity needs.
The data is stark: more than one third of large companies expect that they will have at least one data center run out of capacity within the next year and a half. That means they need to boost capacity.
There are, of course, a number of ways to boost capacity:
• Build a new data center. The capital expense involved in building a new data center is often prohibitive for many organizations, to say nothing of the possibility that the organization will run out of capacity before the new data center is online.
• Consolidate and upgrade. Server virtualization and data center consolidation can buy you some time. However, most organizations have done just about all of the consolidation they can at this point. There is still the potential for upgrading cooling or power capacity, but these are bandages on a bleeding wound.
• Outsorce. This is the option that many companies are choosing today. It makes sense from a capital expense perspective, and outsourced resources can be brought online much quicker than the other options.
Colocation vs. Cloud
There are two primary ways that data centers are outsourcing their capacity today: colocated services and cloud solutions. About a third of companies intend to lease some colocation space, while about one in five intend to move some applications to the cloud.
Colocation gives companies a greater degree of direct control over their data center services. However, it also requires more from a capacity and systems management perspective. Cloud solutions, on the other hand, offer scalability that is often unmatched. They come, of course, at a higher price.
Ultimately, the problems of data explosion and data center sprawl aren’t going away. It’s up to data center managers to identify where the potential exists for outsourcing, and then determine what kind of outsourcing makes the most sense for their business.