Once a business has identified a need for infrastructure, it has a range of options to procure and deploy it. Today, most businesses choose a mix of infrastructure hosting solutions that may include integrated public cloud, on-premises data centers, and colocation deployments — a mix that is usually referred to as a hybrid cloud.
A hybrid cloud allows businesses to choose the infrastructure modality that best suits their needs, rather than being limited by the strengths and weaknesses of any particular modality.
Colocated hardware plays a central role in hybrid cloud platforms, allowing businesses to deploy custom owned infrastructure over which they have complete control into a world-class data center without the expense of building and managing a data center in-house.
A private cloud is a single-tenant cloud environment: it uses the same virtualization technology as the public cloud, but only the company that owns the hardware can launch virtual machines, store data, and execute code on the underlying colocated servers.
A private cloud is a powerful infrastructure solution that provides many of the benefits of public cloud platforms, without the security and privacy risks, both perceived and real. Since the discovery of the Spectre and Meltdown vulnerabilities, which hit public cloud platforms particularly hard, many organizations are looking closely at private cloud platforms running on colocated hardware to deploy their applications and services.
Disaster Recovery And Business Continuity
Disaster recovery planning is used by organizations to hedge against potential data, hardware, and software losses caused by unforeseeable events. Natural disasters, technology failures, and human error can cause expensive downtime and data loss. Colocated servers with backup systems and data are used by businesses to ensure that in the event of a disaster, recovery time is minimized.
Colocation is the ideal choice for hybrid cloud disaster recovery because it gives companies complete control over their hardware, something that can’t be said for public cloud platforms.
Redundancy is key to disaster recovery, but it is economically inefficient for businesses to build and manage multiple data centers located in geographically diverse regions. Colocation allows businesses to build geographically diverse redundant systems without having to make a massive investment in owned data centers.
Security And Privacy
Spectre and Meltdown were catastrophic for the entire server hosting industry, but multi-tenant environments like the public cloud were worst hit. Spectre plus other vulnerabilities have the potential to allow a malicious user to run code on a physical machine hosting virtual servers, breaking out of the virtualization layer to access the data of other users.
Owned hardware doesn’t make servers immune to Spectre and Meltdown, but they are less exploitable by third-parties if only a single organization can run code.
If your organization needs guarantees that some aspects of its hybrid cloud will never be touched by the code and data of other organizations, colocation is the way to go.
Finally, there exists a misconception that public cloud platforms are always less expensive that private clouds or bare metal servers. That’s simply not true: the cloud can save costs for workloads that require rapid scaling or that have unpredictable resource demands, but for more predictable workloads, colocated hardware will often be less expensive while providing greater control, reliability, and performance.
Hybrid cloud platforms are increasingly popular — hybrid cloud adoption grew by a factor of three last year — because they give businesses the freedom to optimize infrastructure deployments along many different dimensions. Colocation is the ideal solution for businesses optimizing for security, reliability, and cost.