On-Premesis Colocation Cloud

Making Data Centers fit for the Future - Part 1


Balancing the options on-premises, colocation and cloud

Many of our customers are faced with the challenge of having to make themselves fit for the future, in other words: keeping the company's IT infrastructure efficient and remaining competitive. One of the most important means of doing this is cloudification of the data centers. There are various options available to be balanced. We discussed what needs to be considered here with our process manager Martin Lukas.

The question is: colocation, on-premises or (public) cloud? What are the initial considerations in this regard?

Martin Lukas: „Our customers are continuously developing their IT strategies. Of course, this includes checking all areas which cloud offerings are available and how to derive maximum benefit from them. However, this is always based on the premise of what is economically reasonable and necessary. Accordingly, there is no one "right" solution, but each time only a company-specific consideration. To begin with, applications should be identified that must definitely remain on-premises, i.e., that cannot be outsourced. Secondly, it is important to clarify whether outsourcing to a colocation data center is an option and what services are required. This information can then be used to work out in more detail what the advantages and disadvantages of each option are.“

So we are talking about a SWOT analysis: on-premises vs. cloud vs. colocation? What exactly does this look like?

Martin Lukas: „The SWOT analysis, is a technique that is used to determine the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT) of your company or a specific project. Strengths of on-premises include, for example, that the data remains under your own control, as does the IT environment, including physical access, security processes, and so on. This can be crucial for a Critical Infrastructure Company (CRITIS), for example. Weaknesses include the lack of flexibility: changes cannot be implemented at short notice, and costly resources must be kept available for peak loads, which are usually not used. In addition, generally higher investments (CAPEX) are necessary, which tie up a lot of capital. One of the opportunities is that you can develop your own innovative solutions that set you apart from your competitors. One of the risks is whether the IT administration is able to push developments forward with the necessary quality in addition to day-to-day operations.“

What are the arguments for and against colocation?

Martin Lukas: „Outsourcing IT services to an external data center provides more flexibility and reduces investment requirements. When considering the weaknesses, it is important to consider, among other things, whether the configuration options actually allow the required flexibility, the extent to which communication with an external service provider causes additional effort and thus costs, and that the expertise of internal IT administration could suffer in the long term. On the other hand, there is an opportunity to further qualify IT staff and deploy them for higher-value services. In addition, IT services that remain in-house may be able to be provided using standardized and thus less expensive hardware. Risks include issues such as the reliability and trustworthiness of the provider, possible dependencies and a lack of influence on hardware decisions and security processes."


And what are the arguments for and against cloud services?

Martin Lukas: „They overlap to some extent with those of a colocation strategy. The strengths of cloud services certainly include fast and easy scalability, paying only for the services used, and the high security level of hyperscalers. Weaknesses include issues such as availability and latency, the lack of individualization in configurations and hidden additional costs, for example due to unexpectedly high transformation efforts. The opportunities include the use of standardized platforms, applications and data management systems, which can be used economically regardless of the size of the company. Among the risks, one must mention, for example, the risk of outages and business interruptions, the risk of cybercrime, since hyperscalers are attractive targets for attack, and also the risk of dependencies up to and including lock-in. These things need to be weighed and figured out where best to locate which application and IT service.“

So the local data center has not yet had its day?

Martin Lukas: „No, not at all. There is now widespread recognition that the coexistence of local data center, colocation data center and cloud services will be necessary for quite a while yet. This is because each of these options has its specific strengths and weaknesses. The idea that all requirements can be covered to general satisfaction via public clouds alone will not be fulfilled in the foreseeable future. For this reason, there is still no way around the company's own data center.“

What part of IT will remain on-premises? What aspects play a role here?

Martin Lukas: „That depends on the respective business model. In general, however, I would say that business-critical areas will be kept on-premises. For example, plant control at an industrial or CRITIS company, where time-critical processes are involved and maximum reliability is required. For the other areas, it is then necessary to clarify which model offers the most efficient solution. In addition, the biggest challenge is to make the company's own data center fit for the tasks ahead.“

So the first considerations are which applications should be kept in the company's own data center?

Martin Lukas: „Yes, exactly, the company's own data center is always the starting point. And the question of what a company wants or needs to keep on-premises is where we start with our consulting. We examine the extent to which the current data center meets the company's requirements or what measures are necessary to be able to handle the upcoming in-house tasks. All options are open to us: New construction, conversion or revitalization.“

Are you currently considering the question of whether to reorganize your IT infrastructure, whether to transfer certain elements to the Cloud, keep them on-premises or outsource them to a colocation datacenter? Please get in touch with our experts.


Martin Lukas, Process Manager Services

Martin Lukas has been the Process Manager Services for 9 years and is responsible for the services that Rosenberger OSI offers in the data centre environment. This concerns the planning, construction and operation of the infrastructure in the data centre.