Re-engaging the Data Center: Colo and the Hybrid Cloud

by | October 20, 2022

Public cloud computing is gaining in popularity as enterprises look to scale up, remain agile, and be responsive to the ever-changing business environment. Gartner forecasts worldwide spending on the public cloud will increase by 20% this year, to almost $500 billion. With this kind of growth, some have predicted that colocation is dead. That couldn’t be farther from the truth. Sure, some enterprises went all in and moved applications, infrastructure, and services to the cloud. Yet not every application performs well in a cloud environment, because it is, in fact, a tool for digital businesses, not an end goal in itself.

All-in with Cloud

There are myriad benefits, including speed of deployment, scalability, reduced upfront costs, and the ability to pay only for the services you use when you use a cloud solution, yet the public cloud is not one-size-fits-all. And many who invested heavily in cloud deployments for their enterprise quickly realized the drawbacks of an all-cloud approach. There are applications where an all-cloud strategy isn’t the best option. For example, it doesn’t make sense to put in the cloud business-critical software and sensitive data that need to be frequently accessed or directly connected to get optimal performance and use. In fact, almost two-thirds of technology leaders are not seeing significant return on their investment in the cloud, and are looking more for speed and agility. On-premises data centers can address that need but are also expensive to own and operate, resource intensive, and don’t make sense for many businesses.

Hybrid approach

Hybrid is an effective approach—using low-cost cloud storage and compute for some applications plus mission-critical applications and data on an enterprise’s own hardware. With a hybrid approach, applications that require zero latency and maximum response time will be more readily available and the enterprise IT team has more control over those applications and how they’re delivered to employees and the business. The solution is reengaging with the data center for colocation.

Benefits of colocation

On-prem data centers require more resources to manage, including staff, security, and compliance considerations. Using a colo model is the best of both worlds: the service delivery of cloud and the security and consistency of on-prem and your own equipment.

  • Control your applications and critical infrastructure driving the business
  • Manage and prioritize critical and non-critical workloads easily and securely
  • Scale to adjust resources for growth and contraction as needed
  • Know and trust your applications are secure
  • Save on ingress and egress bandwidth fees
  • Mix CAPEX and OPEX models

Making the move

Once you have committed to a hybrid model for your applications and data, the next step to prepare and schedule the transition—to ensure your applications remain up and running throughout, and that the move is successful.


Making a plan requires complete knowledge of your data and applications; which can be moved and will benefit, and which you need to control more closely. It’s important to understand what services you need, the level of connectivity and latency, and network size. For example, a company that delivers apps to their customers may need a data center that is highly connected, with a lot of carriers and private peering exchanges.

Physical environment

In addition to digital infrastructure, it’s also important to understand the physical facility and environment. This can include thinking about energy costs and cooling requirements, how the facility is maintained, track record of outages and how they were dealt with, redundancies, backup generators, and understanding access to the data center itself and the ability to use remote hands to ensure you are able to manage your equipment in the data center.


Another key step in ensuring a smooth transition from all-cloud to hybrid, using colocation, is to set expectations with the data center. Who is responsible for what parts of the process? If you have equipment delivered to the location, for example, it’s vital to know which team—yours or the data center’s—will be installing the gear.


Educate staff on policies and procedures in the new environment, to enable them to troubleshoot, make the move and migrate the data and applications, and be ready to support the new model. This can take longer than expected and ideally is included as a budget item for the move.


Test the equipment, data, and applications in the new environment to ensure everything is performing as expected, and to the standards set out in the service level agreement.


There are security challenges no matter where you deploy your data and applications. It’s up to your business and IT teams to have the correct measures in place to protect endpoints and control access, whether you are hosting the resources on-prem, in the public cloud, or using a data center.

As enterprises realize that dispersing workloads using a hybrid environment is strategically a better choice than all cloud, more are re-engaging and moving their workloads to data centers. This gives more control over applications and the critical infrastructure driving the business. Colo is the best of both worlds—on-prem and cloud—that gives your business the agility to manage your digital workloads and gain a competitive advantage in this ever-evolving business environment.

At UPSTACK, we have completed hundreds of data center, hybrid cloud, and complex networking projects to date. Our experience with a wide range of solutions enables us to drive positive business outcomes when designing and ultimately selecting a solution on behalf of our clients. Learn more about our colocation expertise.