As IT organizations accelerate their efforts to modernize, enterprises are looking to improve their users’ experience. In our post, we review the benefits of the private cloud, how colocation can bring data center benefits, and how moving to an edge data center close to end-users can create a better user experience.
Private cloud platform options for enterprise
Private cloud computing has long-been considered the “safe choice” for housing mission-critical applications and data processing. But, to fully unpack that, we need to acknowledge there are two distinct types of private cloud deployments:
An onsite private cloud is one owned and operated by the organization that uses it. These cloud-based computing resources are housed on-premises or in a data center located in a separate facility either owned or leased by the organization. The resources in the data center might be managed by a third-party, but the vital distinction is that they are owned by the enterprise that uses them.
A hosted private cloud is one owned and operated by a third-party service provider. The private cloud provider typically owns and maintains the equipment and the facilities. They may also offer a variety of complementary cloud services, like Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS), security and compliance monitoring, or application management, to help the enterprise offset the burden of managing these cloud resources and the workloads consuming them.
Whether a private cloud is still the safe choice for mission-critical applications depends on how well it is configured and managed. One of the challenges with many onsite private clouds is that facility and equipment maintenance expenses can quickly eat up CapEx budgets. Expert staff resources also command high salaries and can be hard to find in the midst of the ongoing IT skills shortage.
Latency can be another challenge with an onsite private cloud. Business leaders often underestimate the difference proximity to end users can make. If your data center is in New York, but your user base is in California, don’t be surprised if you get complaints about lag time from end-users. Furthermore, 5G isn’t likely to be the panacea for lag time some claim it is, as Dominic Romeo, TierPoint’s Director of Product Management, explains in this interview.
Considerations for improving user experience with an edge data center
Many enterprises are putting user experience at the forefront of their IT modernization initiatives. Whether that user is a customer or an employee, latency is a crucial consideration and has increased the focus on edge computing.
Edge computing is a model where information processing (data and computing) is physically located close to the things and people that produce or consume it. Close proximity makes for the best user experience (UX).
An edge data center may be one owned and operated by the enterprise or a third-party provider. It may also be public (a.k.a. multi-tenant) or private. The factor that makes it an edge data center is its proximity to your user base.
Also, keep in mind that your edge might not be one data center. Your edge could consist of a series of primary data centers or even hundreds of small data centers deployed in support of an IoT strategy. Advancements such as software-defined networking and 5G are really opening up the possibilities. According to Gartner, “Enterprises are using edge topological ideas to cut WAN costs by half, while improving resiliency and improving user experience (UX) by 200%.”
Colocation: moving resources closer to the edge
If you operate an onsite data center, moving those resources closer to the customer can be a monumental undertaking. If your enterprise isn’t quite ready for a hosted cloud solution, colocation offers a possible interim solution.
Colocation (or colo) is the sharing of third-party space in a data center. The enterprise owns and operates the equipment and cloud applications it uses, and presumably doesn’t share the cloud infrastructure resources with other organizations.
However, because the facility houses resources for multiple companies, a good colo provider must maintain air-tight physical security protocols. Colocation providers might also provide an array of add-on managed services that can help the enterprise better manage its colocated resources.
To accomplish your goal of reducing latency and improving the user experience, your colo provider must also offer data center options located in close proximity to your user base. Choosing a provider with multiple data center geographic location options available for colocation can help. For example, this would enable you to move some workloads closer to internal users and distribute others across multiple data centers for your customers.
Migrating cloud infrastructure to an edge data center
After deciding whether to use colocation or full-blown hosted private cloud services with a provider, the next step to consider would be migration. These cloud environments could be private and public cloud, some colocation, or a mix (multicloud or hybrid cloud).
Moving your onsite data center to a managed edge data center may be more desirable than moving to another facility you own. Providers have migration experts to aid in the receipt and deployment of your equipment. Meaning, less disruption to your internal IT resources during a migration. Nevertheless, the undertaking requires planning to minimize any disruptions to the business.
Our cloud migrations follow a repeatable, four-step process that applies whether you’re moving to a public or private edge data center:
We lay the foundation for the cloud migration with a comprehensive discovery phase, including assessing the current workloads and application dependencies. Read more about why a cloud assessment is a must-have for any cloud migration.
Next, we design the migration, factoring in the organization’s timeline and budget. Generally speaking, more aggressive migration plans carry with them increased complexity, risks, and costs. We help our clients understand the tradeoffs.
Build and test
We then build the migration using the plan developed in the previous step. A vital part of the build phase is replicating the solution in an isolated test environment to ensure that the migration works as designed.
By the time we reach this stage, the actual migration should be relatively free of surprises. That said, we’ve been doing this for a long time, so we know enough to expect the unexpected. We’re there to help our clients overcome any hurdles and bumps that pop up.
Move your cloud to a data center closer to your customers
TierPoint operates more than forty data centers across the country, so our clients have the flexibility to choose the data center that is closest to their customers. Our wide geographic coverage also helps them build business resilience with a disaster recovery strategy tailored to their unique requirements. To learn more about our data centers, reach out for a consultation.