Data Center Build vs Buy

colocation data center

IT industry analyst firm IDC reports that the digital universe is doubling in size every two years and that by 2020 the data we all produce and copy will reach 44 zettabytes, or 44 trillion gigabytes.

With this explosive growth, the need for additional storage space is always present. Companies are considering how to grow beyond the simple server closet and whether the best solution would be to build their own data center facility or outsource their equipment and data to a third-party colocation data center.

Although money is an important component in this decision, it is only one component along with reliability, scalability, security and others.

Initial Considerations

Even before you consider the benefits of building a single-tenant data storage facility vs moving to a multi-tenant, colocation data center, take these questions into consideration.

  • Are you willing and able to do what it takes to achieve 100% uptime?
    Do you understand the full spectrum of resources, expertise, capabilities, and money needed to maintain a 100% uptime? Any downtime can mean lost revenue, productivity and potential future business. In some cases, it can even cause businesses to go out of business.
  • What is the real cost of hiring additional employees?
    In addition to their basic salary, did you add benefits, vacation time, health insurance, ongoing education and other items into the cost of each new hire? Remember, you will need a team on staff 24/7 to ensure everything is running properly. And, in addition to technical experts to service your network infrastructure, you will also need staff to maintain the HVAC and security systems as well.
  • Are you required to comply with industry regulations?
    If your business is in healthcare, legal, financial services or other regulated industries, be sure to fully understand how your technology must be managed and maintained and how client data must be transmitted, stored and secured.
  • What is your time frame?
    When do you need the additional space, whether that is your own facility or a third-party data center, to be up and running? Is it one month from now, a year from now or five years from now? Consider that it typically takes 1-2 years to plan and build a new single tenant facility. Can you wait that long? An existing third-party data center can modify their facility to your specific needs and have the space available for you to move in in weeks.
  • Do you know how much capacity you will need?
    Not a guesstimate of capacity for the next year but capacity for the next 5-10 years. If your guess is high but you only end up filling a quarter of the space, your per rack cost will be extremely high. But, if your guess is low and you quickly run out of space, any cost savings you may have achieved will be lost.
  • Can you bear the full cost on your own?
    Above and beyond the cost to hire additional personnel, do you have the funds to pay for a new facility, hardware, utilities, connectivity, security, certifications, equipment upgrades, facility improvements, and general maintenance? In a single tenant environment, the total cost will be carried by you. In a multi-tenant data center, expenses are shared across the companies included.

Building A Data Center

Whether you choose to add additional square feet of space to your existing corporate office or construct a standalone building, there are three primary benefits to developing your own single-tenant data center facility.

  • Complete Control:
    Building a data center at your company’s corporate office or nearby, gives your team complete control over the physical environment, the network infrastructure and all hardware and software. You can limit access to anyone you would like, maintain the facility at a temperature of your choosing and decide when and how to make enhancements, conduct maintenance or upgrade any resources.
  • Little Chance of a Lost Lease:
    Having ownership of the facility helps to protect you from the danger of being forced out, which is possible when leasing space from a third-party provider.
  • Multi-Use Space:
    When considering a company’s growth and expansion plans, larger corporate office space is often acquired with the intent of “growing into” the rest of the building. That unused space can be transformed into a data center by upgrading the power and cooling infrastructure. Alternatively, building a standalone structure also gives you the opportunity to add additional office space which will enable your IT team to work next to the data center floor, decreasing the time it takes to get to the facility in an emergency or to maintain and upgrade equipment. It also decreases travel expenses.

Data Center Outsourcing

Both smaller companies with limited IT resources and large enterprises that are looking for new ways to allocate and manage the technology they already have can benefit from outsourcing their computing resources and data to a third-party data center. Besides the immediate cost savings of not having to build out a new facility and the ability to expand into a new space right away, there are additional advantages to consider.

  • Pay Over Time vs Paying Up Front:  
    Unlike building a data center where a large amount of cash will be needed up front to begin construction, choosing to utilize a third-party data center won’t require a large initial capital outlay, only a small predictable monthly fee for space and usage.
  • Resource Allocation as Needed:  
    There is no need to predict your capacity requirements well in advance and possibly get it wrong. Capacity can be scaled up quickly as usage or space needs increase, allowing you to pay for only the resources required. If your technology needs change and the resources are no longer needed, the capacity can quickly decrease so you are not paying for services which are not in use.
  • Greater Influence Over Physical Space and Utility Expenses: 
    Economies of scale also come into play when you consider the cost of the physical space, electricity, air conditioning and other infrastructure resources. A large data center provider with many corporate clients has significant leverage when it comes to negotiating additional savings on building materials and infrastructure expenses. These savings can be passed on to all the companies renting space.
  • Experienced IT Professionals: 
    A team of experienced IT professionals have been hired by the data center provider to monitor, maintain, secure and upgrade the facility, infrastructure, servers, cloud services and all other IT resources around the clock. This is not a side responsibility but their sole focus. They receive continuous education to ensure that they are up to date on the latest technology and that the facility is running at the highest level of efficiency.
  • Physical Security: 
    A standalone data center provides multiple layers of physical security, protecting the building and all contents around the clock. Biometric access not only at the building’s entrance but also to internal offices and cages ensures that only authorized personnel gain access to critical data. Video surveillance, redundant utilities, lack of windows, crash barriers at vehicle entry points, fire doors and secure air handing all help to ensure that client hardware and electronic data are stored in a facility where security is a top priority.
  • Carrier Neutral Providers:
    Some third-party data centers are carrier neutral – meaning that they welcome multiple providers of telecommunications and internet services. This enables their data center clients to select the service provider that meets their specific needs and budget. You can also change providers without needing to physically move servers to another facility.
  • Redundancy: 
    Data centers establish formal data redundancy plans where they manage their infrastructure, technology and carrier access to survive a variety of failure scenarios. Redundancy, or duplication of critical components like servers, network system components, and telecommunications links, ensures that a quick and smooth transition can be made to alternative resources should a failure occur.

As you can see, there are many factors to take into consideration when deciding whether building your own facility or leasing space with a data center provider is the right solution for you. Building your own data center is certainly not a quick and easy undertaking but it does give you total control. On the other hand, the ability to seamlessly scale as needed, maintain a continuous 100% uptime and simply move between data carriers as requirements change make a powerful case for selecting the third-party data center option.

Regardless of the size of your company, it is essential to do an in-depth analysis of both your current business and technology needs, your future goals and available resources to make a fully informed decision.


Cloud Computing or Colocation: Understanding Which One is Best for You.

cloud computing colocation

One of the most valuable assets of any company is its electronic data. Whether you are looking for a safe and secure place to store your files, achieve business continuity, or comply with regulatory requirements cloud computing and colocation have become two of the primary means of modern data storage, management and usage.

To select the solution which is best for you, it is important to understand the benefits and differences of each option. The needs, challenges, goals, and resources of every company are different so the correct technology solution for you may be very different than another business.

Cloud Computing and Colocation Defined

Although you are most likely familiar with the terms cloud computing and colocation, let’s define them to ensure that we are on the same page.

Cloud Computing or Cloud Hosting
Cloud computing, in its most simple terms, refers to the delivery of computing services via the internet. It can also be referred to as cloud hosting because of the way computing resources such as applications and virtual machines are stored and managed, or “hosted” in a third-party data center and provided to companies over the internet. These cloud services are used on an as needed basis and are paid for monthly, similar to a utility like electricity.

Colocation Data Center
Colocation refers to a third-party data center facility which enables companies to rent space for their servers and other IT resources. In a colocation environment, a business owns their computing technology and the data center provides the infrastructure including the physical space, electricity, air conditioning, bandwidth, and security. Because the data center contains state-of-the-art resources, organizations can utilize a best-in-class infrastructure at less cost than it would take them to build a similar facility themselves.

Cloud Computing vs. Colocation – Considerations for Each

As you can see, both cloud computing and colocation involve the storage of IT resources and data in a secure data center, enabling you to access that data remotely over the internet. Now we will look at the benefits of each service and some things you will want to take into consideration when evaluating cloud computing and colocation data center providers.

Cloud Computing
The cloud has been embraced by many businesses for the cost savings, efficiencies and productivity benefits that it brings to both their organization and their employees. Although used by companies of all sizes, cloud computing is often used by small and mid-size companies who have no or limited technical resources in house. The cloud enables them to utilize IT resources that were traditionally only available to large enterprises without the need to have a large team of technical professionals on staff.

Benefits of cloud computing include:

  • No Upfront Expenses:  Since cloud services do not require you to purchase any hardware there are no upfront expenses, just a monthly fee based on the resources and services used. From a financial perspective, this turns a capital expense for technology into an operating expense.
  • Cost Savings:  In addition to not having any upfront expenses, cloud computing can also deliver a significant cost savings using the economies of scale. Not only is the cost of computing resources spread across multiple companies but those companies are only required to pay for the services used at any given time. For example, there is no need to purchase additional server hardware in anticipation of future business expansion. It can be purchase on an as needed basis.
  • No IT Worries for Small Businesses:  All hardware, software and infrastructure resources are controlled and managed by the service provider. They store, monitor and maintain all equipment, applications, and data so you don’t have to. This is useful for businesses with no in-house IT expertise.
  • Offload Daily IT Workloads:  Larger companies with an in-house IT team can offload tactical IT responsibilities like daily email management to a cloud solution provider, enabling the company’s IT team to focus on more strategic technology initiatives.
  • On-Demand Access: Since company data, applications, and other resources are stored in the cloud making them available at any time, users have on-demand access from any device with an Internet connection. This dramatically increases productivity and ensures users are working with the most up to date computing tools.
  • Scalability and Elasticity:  Because the cloud enables you to use only the services you need, you can start small and add more services as your business grows.  Alternatively, you can just as easily scale back the number and types of services needed if your business demands decrease. For example, companies that grow their business over the holidays can quickly and easily enable additional IT resources for many new seasonal employees and then just as quickly and easily remove those same resources after the holidays are over.

When evaluating a provider of cloud hosting services, here are two additional items to take into consideration.

Is your business in an industry such as healthcare, legal, or financial services where you are required to comply with strict government regulations? If so, it is critical that the cloud hosting provider you select is certified to meet rigorous security and protocol standards such as HIPAA, PCI DSS, SSAE 16, SOC 2 and ISAE 3402. These certifications confirm that the provider has been audited for compliance and demonstrated a high level of organizational controls and operational capabilities. The provider’s audit reports should be available for you to review and should be provided to you upon request.

Your electronic data is vital to the operation of your business. So, you need a cloud solution which delivers “always on” availability. Unfortunately, not all clouds are created equal. Most standard cloud computing providers offer between a 99.8% and 99.99% uptime guarantee. That sounds pretty good until you realize that settling for a 99.8% uptime means that you will have 17.52 hours of unplanned downtime over the next year. That is more than two days of being unable to access critical files, communicate with colleagues and clients, close deals and support customers. Consider how much revenue and potential business could be lost during that time.

Data centers like Evocative provide cloud computing services in an enterprise-grade environment. This means that all clients, whether cloud or colocation, receive the same guarantee of high availability at 100%.

More and more companies are embracing colocation due to its low latency, high availability, increased security measures and rigorous compliance standards. These are important components of enterprise technology which most organizations cannot achieve within their own facilities.

Benefits of colocation include:

  • Maintain Total IT Control:  Colocation is a great option if you want to take advantage of data center infrastructure and security but continue to monitor, maintain, upgrade, and replace your own equipment as if it was installed in-house.   Maintain Total IT Control:  Colocation is a great option if you want to take advantage of data center infrastructure and security but continue to monitor, maintain, upgrade, and replace your own equipment as if it was installed in-house.
  • Renting is Cheaper than Building:  If you were to build your own server room or standalone data center, all the costs associated with the facility would be the sole responsibility of your company. In a colocation data center, all companies share the facility’s costs by “renting” electricity, air conditioning, floor space and other items. This is a more cost-effective option and quicker to deploy than building your own facility.
  • Supplement to Your Facility: If you already have a dedicated server room or data center which your company has outgrown, colocation can supplement the facility that you already have. There is no need to incur the time and expense to expand an existing facility or move your entire network infrastructure to a new location. Colocation provides a state-of-the-art facility which can work seamlessly with your current IT infrastructure.
  • Greater Bandwidth, Greater Performance: A colocation data center can provide greater levels of bandwidth and performance than most businesses can achieve in their own facility and at a reduced cost.
  • Flexible Computing: Since a colocation solution involves the purchase and management of all hardware, software and other resources by you, it enables you to purchase and install any IT tools you need for your business, such as specialized line of business applications or a proprietary CRM system. Unlike cloud computing where businesses are limited to using the applications and hardware the provider is selling, with no modifications or additions, colocation delivers endless flexibility.

When evaluating a colocation data center, here are three additional items to take into consideration.

As we discussed above, not all cloud or colocation providers are created equal. A superior colocation data center should have greater defenses against power outages, disaster recovery safeguards, a low latency infrastructure and meet the rigorous security and protocol standards for regulatory compliance. When selecting a colocation data center, be sure to choose a facility which has also consistently achieved 100% uptime – not just over a period of a few months or a year but over many years.

Although the issue of where your company’s data is physically stored is not as important when you are considering cloud computing, geography is important when you are considering colocation. Because your company will own the hardware, software and other IT resources, and you will need to install and maintain them, you should consider the physical distance between your office and the colocation data center. How quickly can you get to the facility if there is a hardware failure?

A colocation data center can provide a greater level of physical security than almost any company’s dedicated server room. It has multiple layers of security including key cards and biometric access, video surveillance and recording, contractor background checks, 24/7 onsite staff, and strict visitor policies, just to name a few. The decision to transfer your physical hardware and mission-critical data to a third-party data center requires that you scrutinize their security policies and procedures to maximize your protection and eliminate unauthorized access or damage to your IT assets.

The Bottom Line

While both cloud computing and colocation utilize a third-party data center for data storage and delivery, how that data is managed is the key differentiator.

So, which solution is better? Each has its pros and cons and the final decision will be based on your specific requirements and priorities. Are you looking to cut IT costs and have someone else manage your computing resources? Are regulatory compliance and an always-on, high availability infrastructure critical to your success?

Never let a provider pressure you into one solution or the other. It is important that they partner with you as a trusted advocate, build an individual solution that will work well for you today and help you achieve your future goals.

Understanding the differences between cloud computing and colocation and then evaluating data center providers based on your individual needs will help you determine which solution and provider is right for you.

Evocative Announces New VP of Technology and Service Delivery



Lisa Masiello


Ed Buck, experienced data center leader, is appointed to executive management team.

San Jose, CA, June 1, 2017 -“ Evocative, LLC, a leading provider of secure Internet infrastructure solutions, today announced that Ed Buck has joined the company as Vice President of Technology and Service Delivery. Mr. Buck’s executive responsibilities include the design, delivery, maintenance, operations and support of Evocative’s full suite of data center services.

“We are thrilled to welcome Ed to Evocative. He shares our customer-first focus, commitment to being a trusted partner to our clients, and providing innovative solutions that help companies meet their technology needs and achieve their business goals,” said Arman Khalili, Evocative CEO. “Ed and I have worked closely together over the past twelve years and I know that his wealth of experience in data center and Internet infrastructure technology will be a key component in Evocative’s future growth.”
“Evocative has a long history and outstanding reputation for delivering custom Internet infrastructure solutions that enable enterprises in Silicon Valley and the San Francisco Bay Area to run their businesses on their terms,” said Ed Buck, Evocative VP of Technology and Service Delivery. “I am happy to join the exceptional team of professionals at Evocative and to be able to build on that history.”
Prior to joining Evocative, Mr. Buck was Vice President of Services at San Francisco-based data center provider UnitedLayer, where he led the Operations and Engineering teams for many years. He was also the founder of ASPextra, a company focused on providing scalable and highly available managed h osting solutions where he built a network and service delivery Internet infrastructure comprised of multiple, geographically dispersed data centers serving clients in the United States, Europe, and Asia. Mr. Buck also held management positions at Oracle where he was deeply involved in the evaluation, acquisition
and implementation of Internet and commerce technologies that shaped much of the Internet ecosystem in its early years.
Headquartered in Emeryville, CA, Evocative operates secure, high availability data centers in the heart of Silicon Valley. The company’s fully customizable data center services include colocation, hybrid IT, managed private cloud, dedicated hosting, and network and security services.

About Evocative

Evocative is a North American company and an owner and operator of secure, compliant, highly available data centers. We are the trusted guardians of our clients Internet infrastructure. To tour an Evocative data center or receive additional information on data center services, please visit


Evocative Announces Acquisitions of Silicon Valley Data Centers and Appoints New CEO



Lisa Masiello

New highly secure facilities, a full suite of data center services and new executive leadership position Evocative for continued growth and expansion.

San Jose, CA, May 10, 2017 – Evocative, LLC, a leading provider of secure Internet infrastructure solutions, today announced that it has acquired two Silicon Valley area data centers from 365 Data Centers. The acquisition preceded the recently announced acquisition of 365 Data Centers by a new investor and management group. Located in Emeryville and San Jose, CA, the data centers enable Evocative to immediately address the individual technology requirements and security needs of local businesses from fast-growing startups to established enterprises. In addition, the Company has also welcomed veteran Internet executive and entrepreneur Arman Khalili to the position of Chief Executive Officer and member of the board of directors.

Evocative owns and operates secure, compliant and highly available data centers in the San Francisco Bay Area. With these acquisitions in Emeryville and San Jose, the Company is now the trusted guardian of Internet infrastructure to businesses in the heart of Silicon Valley. The two facilities add a combined
40,000 square feet of colocation space with the ability to expand to 105,000 square feet and are positioned to handle flexible lab and high density computing requirements. They are carrier neutral, providing the highest level of flexibility and diversity to clients. Both facilities are HIPAA, PCI DSS, SSAE
16, SOC 2 and ISAE 3402 certified, meeting rigorous security and compliance requirements. In addition,
they have consistently achieved a 100% uptime availability over the past 15 years.

Businesses can benefit from Evocative’s comprehensive suite of fully customizable data center services
including colocation; managed services; public, private and hybrid cloud solutions; dedicated hosting;
and network and security services. Purpose-built and fully operational, the Company’s Data Center Infrastructure Management (DCIM) solutions also offer visibility into data center infrastructure and resource allocations, providing the most cost-effective, agile, and scalable outcomes to large enterprises, helping them achieve their specific business goals.
“We are proud to be a member of the Silicon Valley community and are honored that so many world- class organizations from small startups to some of the Fortune 500 are choosing Evocative to store and secure their most valuable business assets. We are committed to their success,” said Arman Khalili, Evocative’s CEO. “As the Company’s new CEO, I look forward to working with the Evocative team and our investors to grow the company both organically and through additional acquisitions.”
Arman Khalili is an experienced Internet infrastructure executive and entrepreneur. Most recently, he was the founder and CEO of data center provider CentralColo. Prior to that he was the CEO of Black Lotus, a leader in DDoS mitigation which was acquired by Level 3 Communications. Khalili was also the Founder and CEO of UnitedLayer, the largest privately held colocation provider in San Francisco and a co-founder of Sirius, one of the first ISPs in Silicon Valley. In addition, he has held numerous senior consulting positions at Level 3 Communications, AT&T, Apple and NeXT Computers.
Under Khalili’s leadership, Evocative will continue its ex pansion. The acquisitions in Emeryville and San Jose form the foundation of the Company’s strategic growth plans. These include the opening of additional data centers on the West Coast within the next year as well as the development and delivery of additional colocation and managed services to businesses around the globe.

About Evocative

Evocative is a North American company and an owner and operator of secure, compliant, highly available data centers. We are the trusted guardians of our clients’ Internet infrastructure. To tour an Evocative data center or receive additional information on data center services, please visit