Colocation astutely bridges the gap between fully in-house data centers and the public cloud. Its unique combination of benefits has made it a very attractive option for numerous businesses across diverse sectors. At a high level, colocation works in much the same way anywhere. At a lower level, however, different areas have different characteristics. With that in mind, here’s a quick guide to colocation in Philadelphia.
Situated between New York City and Washington, D.C., Philadelphia is the hub of the four-state Delaware Valley metropolitan region. Its tradition of manufacturing still continues. These days, however, it’s better known for financial services and, in particular, venture capital thanks to the many startups in and around it, particularly tech (and biotech) companies.
Philadelphia is also a hub for education. In addition to its established universities (including the Ivy League University of Pennsylvania) and educational institutions, the city is seeing major growth in the EdTech sector.
Some of these academic institutions feed into Philadelphia’s healthcare and life sciences sector. This is another key industry in the city with biotech being particularly strong.
There are three main arguments for using colocation in Philadelphia. They are:
Here is a closer look at each of these.
Implementing a full in-house data center may be very cost-effective over the long term. There are, however, a lot of upfront capital expenditures a business has to absorb on the way to those long-term benefits. This is particularly relevant in Philadelphia which has very high real-estate costs due to its geographic position and economic strength.
By contrast, using the public cloud has a very low barrier to entry but can work out very expensive over the long term. The main reason for this is that the public cloud works on the principle that you pay for what you use. High-volume users may be able to negotiate beneficial terms. They are, however, very unlikely to achieve anything like the same economies of scale that businesses can enjoy with in-house data centers.
Using colocation allows businesses to set up in-house data centers with minimal upfront cost. This means that they can access the financial benefits of in-house processing relatively quickly.
Implementing an in-house data center is a huge commitment. In addition to the cost of the real estate itself, data centers need massive amounts of infrastructure. They also need highly skilled people to run them. Admittedly, the staffing of data centers can be outsourced to vendors. Even so, it creates extra administration and costs for the hirer.
By contrast, using colocation requires only as much commitment as the business wants to make. Businesses that know they are going to be using colocation in Philadelphia over the long term may find it best to commit to long-term contracts. These are likely to attract the most favorable terms. On the other hand, businesses that need more flexibility can use colocation in Philadelphia in a similar way to the public cloud.
What colocation can offer that the public cloud cannot offer to the same extent is support for customizations. With the public cloud, businesses essentially have to choose from a menu of configuration options supported by their cloud service provider. Even with Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS), the client is still limited to what their vendor can provide.
With colocation, businesses can choose their own hardware (and everything on top of it). This gives them much more scope for customization.
Even when companies have the capital and budget to implement and run an in-house data center, they do not necessarily want the administrative commitment that comes with it. Running a data center involves managing security (real-world and cyber-), business continuity, and disaster recovery.
With both the public cloud and colocation, most of that is taken care of by the vendor. In both cases, the vendor takes care of managing the core infrastructure. The client just has to manage their own part of the facility. In the case of the public cloud, that basically means user access. In the case of colocation, that means user access and equipment.
Although colocation places a bit more responsibility on the customer, the overall burden is much less than the burden of running an in-house data center. What’s more, colocation vendors generally offer some level of on-site support (or have a partner that does). This means that businesses do not necessarily have to find an additional vendor (or hire staff) although they have the option to do so if they wish.
If you are looking for colocation services in Philadelphia, DataBank is an excellent choice. DataBank has one state-of-the-art data center in Philadelphia, which offers 7,760 square feet of raised floor space, and 0.3MW critical IT load. Learn more about DataBank’s Philadelphia data center.
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