Currently, there are four main data center solutions. These are private data centers, colocation, bare metal as a service (BMaaS), and public data centers. Public data centers are often referred to as cloud data centers or infrastructure as a service (IaaS). Here is a simple guide to working out which of these data center solutions is (or are) right for you.
Before you can choose between data center solutions, you need to know your options. With that in mind, here is a brief overview of the key data center solutions.
These are data centers that are fully owned and managed by a business (or organization). Usually, the main purpose of the data center is to serve its owner’s needs. In some cases, the owner will also provide data center solutions to other businesses. This can provide a useful income stream to offset the costs of running the data center.
Colocation is when data centers provide infrastructure. Businesses then provide their own equipment. BMaaS is when the data center provides infrastructure and physical servers.
With both colocation and BMaaS, the business has to look after everything that sits on the physical server. This would include virtualizers and/or operating systems as well as applications and data.
Public data centers, probably more often known as cloud data centers, provide infrastructure as a service (IaaS). The cloud service provider (CSP). provides hardware that clients use to configure virtual machines. The client takes care of everything that sits on top of the virtual machines.
It is entirely possible for businesses to use one single data center solution. In fact, this is probably the more common option overall. This is because the majority of businesses fall into the SMB category. The majority of SMBs just want to fulfill their IT needs as simply as possible.
Going up to the enterprise level, however, it’s much more common to mix and match solutions. In particular, it’s increasingly common to mix private and public solutions to create hybrid clouds. These are more complex to manage but can offer enterprises the best of both worlds.
Here is a quick guide to the main data center solutions and how they compare to each other in the key areas that concern most businesses.
Any of these data center solutions can be run to the highest standards of security. The only difference between them is where the responsibility for security lies.
With private data centers, it lies entirely with the data center owner. With colocation, BMaaS and IaaS, it is shared between the vendor and the client. The exact dividing line between the vendor’s responsibilities and the client’s depends on the specific data center solution.
In theory, the more responsibility the client takes on, the higher the management overheads will be. In practice, most clients will probably delegate a lot of tasks to managed IT service providers. This means that, in practical terms, management overheads are probably going to be fairly similar across all data center solutions.
Building or buying a private data center requires a massive upfront investment. Some (or all) of that investment may be classed as tax-deductible. This is particularly likely if you’re building a green data center. You will, however, still need to absorb the expenses before you can recoup them.
Colocation and BMaaS both have much lower upfront costs. This is because you’re only buying (or leasing) equipment. The vendor takes care of everything related to the facility in which it is housed. Public data centers have no upfront costs at all.
On a like-for-like basis, the running costs of private data centers, colocation, BMaaS, and public data centers are likely to be fairly similar. This is because they are ultimately all fulfilling the same purpose.
With that said, there are two key points to note about public data centers. Firstly, they are likely to work out somewhat more expensive than the other three options. Essentially, these services tend to charge based on the value they deliver rather than on their costs. With that said, they still cannot get too far out of line with other options.
Secondly, the practicalities of IaaS pricing can be a lot more complicated than its principles might suggest. This means that it typically needs to be used with a high level of financial oversight. If it isn’t, then businesses can find their costs becoming much higher than they’d anticipated.
Private data centers, colocation, and BMaaS are all highly customizable. They are not, however, anywhere near as scalable as public data centers. Public data centers can literally be scaled up and down with a few mouse clicks. There are, however, limits to how far they can be customized.
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