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Jun 20, 2018

Colo vs. Cloud: What’s Best for Your Business?

INAP

Yankees or Red Sox, Linux or Windows, Star Wars or Star Trek: There’s no shortage of choices life asks us to make. When it comes to cloud versus colocation, it may be tempting to see it as just another either-or decision. But the question you should be asking isn’t “colo or cloud”—it’s “what’s the right mix for my applications?”

Colo is sometimes forgotten because of its more popular, younger and shinier cousin the cloud, but there are use cases for both, and your particular mix will depend on your applications. For example, a financial services company that wants to leverage cloud to gain cost efficiency might use a public cloud for its end-of-day or end-of-month batch processing, while also using colo or hosted private cloud for its mission-critical databases and supporting applications. This configuration would provide the cost efficiency of public cloud for short-term workloads while also utilizing a dedicated, secure platform optimized for applications that are always on.

Regardless of your situation, developing a comprehensive cloud strategy will help you avoid lock-in, providing flexibility, adaptability and room to grow as your needs evolve. And that multicloud strategy just might include some smart usage of colocation if, for example, you have a need for specific hardware or want a network presence in certain locations. Here’s a primer for understanding the big pieces of cloud, colo and anything in between.

The Hidden Cost of On-Premise Solutions

For any organization facing the decision to “build” or “buy” their infrastructure, “buying”—whether bringing your hardware and renting space in a colo facility or shifting entirely to the cloud—is a simple step that is guaranteed to level up your IT. Yet the conversation about colo and cloud is usually focused on dollars spent and saved. This is understandable, especially since on-premise data centers are often expensive to secure and maintain, and going off-premise can have a clear impact on cost savings. But what could the conversation be if CAPEX or OPEX weren’t the primary drivers of your IT infrastructure decisions?

Now don’t get me wrong—I know keeping costs reasonable is important—but I also think it might be helpful to think about your choice in terms of a different resource: time. The math is simple: If you can offload certain tasks to a service provider, that’s time you get back. Every minute not spent handling maintenance and administration is a minute you now have free to focus on your actual applications. With that being said, here are the ways colo and cloud can make your life better.

Security and Compliance Improvement with Cloud and Colo

With a colo or cloud service provider, all the work of physical data center security and maintenance is no longer part of your to-do list—and a lot of compliance too, depending on your provider. With a managed service provider, they can take care of your routine data security and compliance tasks or even help you architect your infrastructure to fit the specific compliance needs of your applications.

Connectivity Ease with Colo and Cloud

A big part of the decision to move off-premise may be a simple need for connectivity. Your on-premise solution might lack certain connectivity altogether or you may have trouble with reliability or latency. Colo can solve these issues, whether you need to connect to certain geographies, carriers or third-party clouds like AWS or Azure. Managed services from your provider can give you an edge here too, ensuring dependable connectivity and minimizing latency even in spread-out networks.

Colo and Cloud Backup and Disaster Recovery

A huge upside to partnering with a comprehensive service provider is that regardless of your infrastructure solution, backup and disaster recovery services can be easily implemented. Whether using a colo facility or a hosted private cloud, both are effective, efficient ways to build redundancy into your systems—without having to build and operate your own second site.

The Biggest Difference-Maker: A Trusted Service Provider for Cloud and Colo

When choosing the right colo or cloud mix, it’s a good idea to start by asking a few questions:

  1. Where do you see your IT infrastructure and operations strategy in three to five years?
  2. What do you predict your service needs will be then?
  3. And most importantly: Are you working with a provider that gives you the capability to do the things you need to do today and won’t hinder you from doing what you need to do in the future?

Choosing the right colo or cloud provider can determine whether you have the flexibility and freedom to meet your future needs. They can be an invaluable partner in helping you to rightsize for today without limiting your options for the future. So pick a cloud or colo provider with a wide range of infrastructure solutions and managed services and one that is skilled, knowledgeable and experienced in multiple competencies, whether colo or cloud. At INAP, my team of solutions engineers help customers navigate the process, identify hard-to-spot downsides and share knowledge based on our experience assisting other customers.

Applications that aren’t a good fit for a legacy infrastructure model can be easily migrated with the help of a service provider like INAP, while maintaining a single partner that knows you and your business. The right cloud or colo solution will depend on your applications, and that will inevitably evolve over time. Rather than pitting colo against cloud, start from what your applications require, then find the right mix that makes sense for you.

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Feb 13, 2013

Survey says “cloudy colo” is on the horizon

Ansley Kilgore

cloudy coloThe IT Infrastructure landscape is evolving quickly, and with it comes a change in the way IT decision makers view data centers, colocation services and the prevalence of cloud options available to them. Knowing the most effective way to leverage these can help you streamline resources while maintaining security, scalability and performance for your business.

In an effort to provide some insight into the shifts that are taking place, Internap conducted a survey of IT decision makers in the U. S. who are responsible for purchasing IT Infrastructure services such as colocation and cloud. The responses indicate a shift in the way traditional colocation services are managed and delivered, with an increasing demand for “cloudy colo” features. This would bring many of the benefits of the cloud, such as automation, self-service capabilities and detailed real-time insights to more traditional colocation environments. But while public cloud is clearly top of mind for most organizations today, many are still unsure of when cloud is the most effective and cost-efficient choice.

Making decisions about your IT Infrastructure can be challenging, but being aware of current trends empowers you to choose wisely. Download the full report, The Data Center Services Landscape, to find out how your organization compares with the survey results.

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Ansley Kilgore

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Oct 18, 2012

HIPAA compliance translated to hosting, colocation and cloud

INAP

HIPAA compliance translated to hosting, colocation and cloud

Traditionally the healthcare industry was classified as conservative when it came to IT strategy and spending, however, with the ongoing government reforms the need for innovative healthcare IT solutions is on the rise. As more hospitals and healthcare facilities become more dependent on IT, data center services are becoming a key solution to complying with government reform efforts, and also to ensuring patient privacy.

Healthcare decision makers are not in the business of building data centers, as their focus and primary concerns are quality of care issues. Yet, the selection of a colocation provider directly affects their ability to be successful in achieving cost savings and operational gains. When it comes to multi-tenant data centers (MTDCs) for colocation, hosting and cloud services, it is essential to understand how the vendor approaches HIPAA compliance. Regardless of how the IT landscape continues to change over the next few years, when it comes to reform in the US, we know that HIPAA compliance will never be an option; since the passage of the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act in 2009 it is a mandate.

Focusing on regulatory compliance allows healthcare entities to future-proof their IT landscape as it continues to change; this translates to avoiding the substantial penalties set for those failing to comply. It is important to note that compliance cannot be outsourced. The CXO remains responsible for how the healthcare entity will meet regulations, and the decisions to choose vendors that will satisfy requirements is part of how compliance is measured. To get a more accurate picture of HIPAA compliance and how it applies in multi-tenant data center environments, here is a summary of terms:

Compliance: HIPAA defines compliance related to rules that support the legislation, including privacy, security and elements related to the administrative safeguards.

Protected Health Information (PHI): Information related to an individual patient and his/her medical status. It includes medical records and any associated information that can link medical status to a particular patient, social security numbers, home addresses, e-mails or associated billing information such as account numbers, license numbers or identifying photographs. Such PHI may exist in physical or electronic form, both of which are required to be kept secure, private and confidential.

Covered Entity (CE): Covered entities include any person or organization that collects, transmits or stores PHI information regulated by the HIPAA legislation; examples of CE would be insurance companies, hospitals, healthcare providers and community health information systems.

Business Associates (BA): BAs include organizations that may process health claims, provide utilization review services or provide insurance claim reviews. This includes IT outsourcing services being performed on behalf of the CEs.

As the market for healthcare data center services continues to expand, companies such as Internap help your business meet regulatory and best practice requirements. The task of finding HIPAA compliant hosting plans while securely handling massive amounts of data is no longer a challenge. Learn why Internap understands compliance and security as requirements for success.

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INAP

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