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Colocation vs. Internal Data Center

As corporations’ requirements grow, colocation and operating an internal data center are popular options where data management is concerned. There are pros and cons for both of these approaches and the right choice will usually depend on the organization’s particular circumstances.

Colocation refers to the leasing of rack space, and possibly equipment, from a colocation provider. Operating an internal data center will mean that the company or organization will set up and manage its own data center, including servers, rack space, security, environmental control system and power supply. 

Benefits of Colocation
Colocation is a popular choice for organizations that have limited resources and that want lower cost options that still provide them with the flexibility of having their own servers. The main benefits of colocation are:

Savings on startup costs – Setting up a data center is an expensive proposition. With the colocation option, the provider takes all the startup risks allowing the customers to share these costs. 
Maintaining proper environmental conditions – For a data center to operate at peak performance, the temperature, humidity and other conditions must be at correct levels. For many companies, creating the right internal climate in conventional office space can be difficult and expensive. Ordinary air conditioning may not be sufficient depending on the number of servers placed in a room. The data center must also control the amount of dust in the server space since dust particles can clog up cooling vents. A colocation facility handles the data center environment for the customer.
Security – Colocation facilities tend to have 24-hour security that can consist of armed security guards and surveillance equipment. Many facilities provide first-class security with multiple layers of access control and fire detection and suppression systems. For small businesses, the costs of setting up and maintaining this type of security can be prohibitive. 
Maintenance – Ideally, data centers should have 24/7 teams onsite watching and maintaining the servers. Most quality colocation providers offer such technical support with computer experts ready to handle any problems. The technical teams also ensure that the Internet connections work at optimal speed by dealing with congestion and other problems in real time. 
Scalability – Generally, it is easier to expand or contract when using colocation facilities since the setup is turnkey in nature. 
Power supply – In order to ensure that the data center has minimal downtime, it is necessary to provide redundant power supply. Most colocation facilities have battery backup and onsite power generation.

Benefits of Operating an Internal Data Center

Operating an internal data center is a good option for organizations that prefer to have maximum control and flexibility in operating their servers. Among the important benefits of self-hosting are:

Use of current resources – For example, if a company already has extra real estate, it may be able to utilize this space for a data center. 
Convenience – By self-hosting, the organization can locate the data center in the same building for easy access to the servers. 
Full control – Self-hosting gives the organization the ability to call all the shots when it comes to data center operations. Additionally, companies do not have to worry about the stability or reliability of the hosting or colocation provider.

Choosing the right option
Whether colocation or operating an internal data center is the correct path for a company or organization will depend on variables like budget, mission, values and preferences. Indeed, some organizations will take a hybrid approach, choosing to host their own servers in an internal data center, and utilize the services of a colocation facility to mitigate or eliminate loss in a potential disaster scenario.

A company with sufficient financial resources and with a desire to control server operations may prefer to run their own data center. However, the expense can be cost-prohibitive, as the expenses of setting up and maintaining the data center space along with the perfect environmental, security and performance conditions is just too high for many small to medium-sized companies and organizations. 

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About Legrand
Legrand is the global specialist in electrical and digital building infrastructures. Its comprehensive offering of solutions for use in commercial, industrial and residential markets makes it a benchmark for customers worldwide. Innovation for a steady flow of new products with high added value and acquisitions are prime vectors for growth. Legrand reported sales of close to $6.2 billion in 2013. Legrand has a strong presence in the North American market, with a portfolio of well-known product lines that include C2G, Cablofil, Electrorack, Middle Atlantic, NuVo, On-Q, Ortronics, Pass & Seymour, Quiktron, Vantage, WattStopper and Wiremold. The company is listed on NYSE Euronext and is a component stock of indexes including the CAC40, FTSE4Good, MSCI World, ASPI and DJSI (ISIN code FR0010307819).