Best practices of cloud-based co-location in 5 industries
By Carol Ko 13-Mar-2012
Co-location, an off-site data storage service usually delivered from a data center, is a hosting service which should not be confused with the data center itself. Today, the IT infrastructure and applications most often put in the cloud for co-location purpose are servers, network, storage equipment, as well as cloud management software, databases and monitoring tools, which keep structured and unstructured data.
Providers of cloud-based co-location services are in a great position to meet user demands, said Mark Smith (pictured), managing director of Savvis Asia. This is because co-location service providers can deliver a secure and reliable infrastructure to deploy mission-critical equipment in immediate proximity to their users' cloud applications and development environment.
"Currently, co-location adoption in Asia is primarily a carrier-owned market with growing wholesale interest."
-- Mark Smith, managing director, Savvis Asia
"For example, cloud computing supplements customers who have existing equipment located in Savvis' data centers. With the proximity advantage of being co-located next to our cloud facilities, customers can enjoy the flexible capacity of cloud computing. The flexible capacity of cloud helps to minimize latency purchased on demands and caters for seasonal peaks in network traffic," Smith said.
In an interview with Asia Cloud Forum, Smith outlines the different types of co-location services, the current state of co-location adoption in Asia, and the biggest misconceptions about co-location. Smith also advises how organizations can fulfil the needs of co-location while meeting data jurisdiction requirements and regulatory compliance. Finally, he illustrates how cloud computing can fulfill co-location needs in different industries: finance, media, government, retail and telco.
Asia Cloud Forum: What are the different types of co-location and the advantages of using it?
Mark Smith: Co-location is a service and should not be confused with the data center. There are a variety of co-location offerings -- wholesale, carrier-owned, carrier-neutral and managed services. Each has unique differentiators that are beneficial to certain types of clients.
With wholesale co-location, users get no-frills co-location. They are provided with a powered shell, long-term contracts and redundancy. Managed services providers offer additional value-added services such as shorter-term contracts and customized co-location.
Once users have co-located their IT infrastructure in external data centers, co-location services are designed to provide organizations with the following advantages:
Power -- Power management, power monitoring, advanced fire suppression, and HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) systems are utilized to protect users' technology investment and deliver the infrastructure availability they require;
Network connectivity -- Users gain strong global reach, allowing their customers to access sites, quickly and conveniently; and
Customer support -- On-site customer support specialists handle routine issues that might arise, preventing users from having to make special trips to data center location to resolve minor issues.
What is the current trend of co-location adoption in Asia? How will it develop in the next three years?
Smith: Co-location adoption is strong and growing in Asia. Co-location adoption has become an accepted industry practice because IT departments and CIOs realize the challenges of building and maintaining their own data centers. This trend is especially strong in China and India, where we have seen a number of data centers being built over the past few years.
As network deployment in emerging markets like Singapore, Australia and India improves, the need for robust co-location, competition and additional services will grow as well.
Currently, co-location adoption in Asia is primarily a carrier-owned market with growing wholesale interest. As such, more retail providers will establish offerings in China to compete with the carrier-owned providers over the next three years.
The new space also ranges from the Tier 1 and 2-type data centers more suited for ISPs and Internet players, to the Tier 3 and 4-type data centers that are more suitable for enterprise clients.