Why the wrong colocation strategy can compromise your cloud investment

If it seems like everybody is moving to the cloud, that’s probably because they are: spending on public-cloud services will grow by 18 percent this year alone, according to Gartner. Yet the cloud still isn’t an all-or-nothing proposition – complicating the decision about whether to run core applications in-house, with a colocation provider, with a server host, or fully in the cloud.

Finding the right combination of models depends on the unique characteristics of the business, as well as on your short-term and long-term growth goals. Even if you’re wholeheartedly embracing cloud applications like Microsoft Office 365 or Salesforce.com, your back-end applications may well be running on conventional servers (virtualised or otherwise) for years to come. 

Deciding the best place to run those servers depends on your goals. Colocation, for example, simply involves moving your existing equipment to a new facility run by an outside provider, who can offer cheaper and more reliable power, cooling, and telecommunications than you can get alone. 

You also need to consider the performance requirements of your application – does it need low latency connections into your new SaaS infrastructure?  What application dependencies are there between your cloud platform and your remaining physical infrastructure that could cause problems in future? How can you ensure the security of your user’s traffic?

As you can see, this move can raise many important questions such as connectivity – given that cloud services and conventional servers will run more slowly if they are communicating over congested telecommunications links – and security, because access to cloud services must be protected like access to any other application.   A strong architectural approach is required to make sure these various needs are met.

Cloud security is being actively addressed through a broad range of SaaS and PaaS solutions providing Security as a Service. When it comes to connectivity, however, one of the best ways to boost your performance is to put your colocation or hosted environment as close as possible to the cloud services on which you plan to depend.

Think of your data centre as a cloud hub. This means choosing a top-tier colocation provider that can put your systems in the same building – or close to it – as those running the Australian instances of cloud services like Microsoft Azure and Amazon Web Services.

By doing this, you will minimise latency and improve the overall performance of the cloud platforms on which your business will come to depend. You may also reduce costs, since you won’t have to carry long-distance transit costs that can quickly mount up if your data centre is far from your cloud provider.

You can also open new opportunities for your business.  Large data centres are host to an entire ecosystem of other *aaS apps beyond the big two cloud providers – including backup services, low cost Internet peering exchanges, identity services and security services.  These services are now just a cross connect away.

The key thing to remember is that you’re not just buying colocation services anymore; you’re buying an on-ramp to the cloud, which will give you access to a marketplace of low-cost services that you can use to fundamentally transform your business. If you stay objective about your goals and revisit your requirements as your cloud investment grows, you’ll be assured of minimising your costs while maximising the performance and reliability of your new operating environment.

NTT ICT offers direct connectivity to AWS and Azure in our Sydney and Melbourne data centres. Talk to us about how you can leverage our data centres to drive your cloud strategy.

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Gareth Cleeves
Author Name: Gareth Cleeves

Gareth Cleeves is a Product Manager at NTT ICT, the Australian arm of NTT Communications.  He works with both products developed locally by NTT ICT, acting as the product owner and architect, as well as global products developed by NTT Communications, working to localise and commercialise products from across the...

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Added 16 October 2017

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