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Public Cloud Vs. Data Center Colocation – Choosing the right one.

Many people still use the terms private cloud and colocation interchangeably. However, they are two different things. The primary difference between colocation and cloud lies with functionality. Organizations still grapple with the decision to move to the public cloud or use colocation data center services without knowing they would get the right infrastructure they need.

Here we will shed some light on the key differences between the technologies, their benefits, and their disadvantages to help you decide on the right solution for your organization.

Before we get into what would work best for you, let us see what sets the two apart and why they should not be used interchangeably.

Public cloud

The public cloud provides IT services and infrastructure through a network that is accessible to the general public. By using a multi-tenant architecture, a customer’s hosted applications share storage and compute resources with other tenants on a single host. One of the fundamental benefits of the public cloud is that the cloud provider makes consumption-based pricing available for managed services even though these managed services are hosted in the cloud provider’s data center instead of an organization’s own data center.


On the other hand, colocation is the process of storing privately owned servers and networking equipment in a third-party data center. Instead of having servers housed in a room or a particular infrastructure section, organizations can rent space in a colocation data center and “co-locate” their equipment. Hence the name ‘Colocation.’

Public Cloud and Colocation Data Center: Differences and Benefits

The cloud hosting provider owns and operates a remote data center where public clouds are hosted. In addition, public clouds serve as managed hosting providers for several tenants (multi-tenants).

Benefits of Public Cloud

  • It offers better scalability without sacrificing security
  • Rapid deployment of IT resources
  • Customers have the option of paying just for the server resources used, which is perfect for small and medium-sized organizations

Colocation facilities are multi-tenant as well, but unlike a public cloud, they do not provide managed services to their tenants. Instead, tenants rent only floor or rack space, cooling, power, and connectivity in the colocation facility. What the tenant does with the rented space is entirely up to them.

Benefits of Colocation

  • Helps save capital investments on hardware, infrastructure, and facility leasing
  • Provide multi-layer security through IDS systems, firewalls, encryption, and other security measures
  • Enhanced uptime and reliability during peak traffic

Data Center Colocation Vs. Public Cloud – Choosing the right one

Now that you know the main difference between Public Cloud and Data Center Colocation facilities, there are some key factors you need to consider before deciding which one to implement.


Since the public cloud offers a consumption-based pricing model, tenants are required to pay only for the resources they use. Colocation facility, on the other hand, rents data center spaces to tenants but does not provide managed services. As a result, tenants must not only pay the lease, but also other fees such as hardware, software licenses, maintenance, and bandwidth usage. However, colocation service providers offer a secure environment for tenants to manage their own data center gear.

Degree of control over infrastructure resources

Since public clouds act as managed hosting providers for their tenants, security is considered a top priority. This means that tenants will not be able to access their data centers physically, nor will they gain low-level infrastructure access to servers or storage devices. Although some public clouds allow tenants to lease dedicated hardware, low-level access is still limited.

Most colocation centers, on the other hand, exclusively serve as third-party data center hosting providers. This means that businesses are responsible for their own storage, servers, and other IT infrastructure. Because the tenant, not the colocation facility, controls the equipment, the organization has all the liberty to configure the hardware just the way they want.

Managing and supporting workloads

On the managing and workload support front, the cloud provider handles all the low-level support for its managed services in a public cloud. This means the service provider takes care of hardware maintenance, such as replacing broken hard drives and providing software patches. The cloud provider also takes charge of maintaining its infrastructure operational and dealing with outages and other issues.

Colocation facilities guarantee only electricity and internet access. Tenants are in charge of their own data center hardware and workloads. In other words, colocation facilities may be a suitable fit for enterprises that want a high level of control over their hardware and the workloads housed on it. In contrast, a public cloud may be a better fit for firms that prefer to delegate those tasks to a third party.

Be it moving to the public cloud or opting for a Data Center Colocation, it is imperative to consult an expert in these streams to gain a better knowledge on both of them and choose the right solution to meet your desired business goals.

Netlabs Global is a leader in providing cloud and IT infrastructure services to help organizations successfully and effortlessly enable digital transformation. Talk to our experts today to learn more about cloud options and how our solutions and services can help transform your business.

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