What AWS' Hybrid Cloud Play Means for Colocation

Amazon’s end game appears to be different from Microsoft's or Google's.

Christopher Tozzi, Contributing Editor

October 9, 2020

2 Min Read
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At first glance, all of the major public clouds – AWS, Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud Platform – may appear to be following roughly the same playbook when it comes to colocation and hybrid architectures. They have all released hybrid cloud platforms that tightly integrate their public cloud services with on-premises or colocated infrastructure. They also offer network-optimization solutions that speed data transfers between colocation data centers and their clouds.

This is a segment of an article by Christopher Tozzi from our sister site, Data Center Knowledge. To read the full report, go here.

But when you look more closely, AWS stands apart from other public cloud vendors. Its end-game regarding colocation looks different, a fact that may bear important implications for the way colocation customers approach hybrid cloud today.

Colocation and Hybrid Cloud: An Overview

Over the past couple of years, the intersection between public clouds and colocation facilities has been redefined. That’s thanks in large part to the debut of new hybrid cloud frameworks – namely AWS OutpostsAzure Stack, and Google Anthos – that make it possible to run certain public cloud services directly on customer-controlled infrastructure, in data centers of the customer’s choice.

Instead of having to build simplistic hybrid cloud architectures, where organizations use public cloud services alongside workloads running in a colocation facility, they can now deploy the same public cloud services across their entire infrastructure — even if that infrastructure consists of a mix of public-cloud IaaS services and colocated servers.

This is a big deal for hybrid cloud setups of all types, not just those that involve colocation data centers. But it’s important news for colo in particular, because it helps keep colocated infrastructure relevant and useful in an age when the public cloud reigns supreme. When you can use public cloud services while still keeping your servers in a colocation data center, you face less pressure to move to the public cloud completely.

Colocation providers’ investments in cloud interconnects make the deal even sweeter. Interconnect solutions allow colocated workloads to move data into and out of the cloud without the bandwidth limitations they would face when using a hybrid architecture that relies on generic internet connections to bridge data centers and public clouds.

You might conclude, then, that the public cloud vendors (with some help from colocation providers) are catering to colocation users. The public clouds are offering hybrid cloud platforms that let colocation customers consume public cloud services without having to embrace the public cloud completely.

AWS’ Colocation Strategy Today

In general, this is true. But when you look at the details, AWS’ stance toward colocation looks a bit different than that of Azure and GCP.

Looking for more? Read the rest of this article on our sister site, Data Center Knowledge.

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About the Author(s)

Christopher Tozzi

Contributing Editor

Christopher Tozzi started covering the channel for The VAR Guy on a freelance basis in 2008, with an emphasis on open source, Linux, virtualization, SDN, containers, data storage and related topics. He also teaches history at a major university in Washington, D.C. He occasionally combines these interests by writing about the history of software. His book on this topic, “For Fun and Profit: A History of the Free and Open Source Software Revolution,” is forthcoming with MIT Press.

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