Cloud vs. Data Center vs. Hosting: What’s the difference?

What is a data center really?  What is a cloud?  Does a cloud live in a data center?  What is colocation?  How is hosting related to the cloud, data center and colocation?

These terms: data center, cloud, colocation and hosting can often be confusing and might be used interchangeably in the IT industry.  They typically refer to the same basic infrastructure since they can be housed in the same building and all of them store data.

Basic Understanding

A data center is usually a building that stores customer data and is owned by that entity.  It can be a stand-alone building or just a room within their own place of business that stores data from their local and Wide Area Network (WAN).  This option is fully customizable and is controlled by its owners.  Costs for data centers vary greatly and should be closely compared to the other options before a final decision is made.

Cloud services are on demand via the internet from an outsourced, third-party carrier who manages the ongoing maintenance of the computing resources.  There’s no reason for a company to deploy its own resources to manage the service since all aspects are being provided by service provider.  Examples of cloud services include backup solutions, Web-based e-mail services, online data storage, Microsoft Office 365, document collaboration services, database storage and processing, managed technical support services and many, many more.  Cloud services technically live inside a data center, but the data center is either owned by the provider or they may lease space within a particular data center (known as colocation). 

Colocation means that a business leases space (as little or as much as they need) within a carrier’s data center.  The carrier provides the security, power, backup power, cooling, maintenance, circuit and cross connect infrastructure, “remote hands” services, site security, and flexible work spaces of a dedicated data center.  By using a colocation facility, companies receive the benefits of maintaining control of the physical aspects of their systems while receiving additional redundancies for their IT infrastructure at a predictable monthly cost without the requirement of maintaining the data center.

Hosting or Web hosting is a service that allows a business to post a website onto the internet.  A web hosting supplier provides the servers and technologies so that the pages are available 24x7x365.   Hosting services reside in a data center, colocation facility or even in the cloud.  There are many options from shared servers to dedicated servers, ecommerce, backups, content management, website marketing, security (stop the hacker), server OS patching, database management, and commandline, to name a few.

CarrierBid will assist you as you as you navigate the complexities of these options and will bring the proper technical resources to the table which will enable you to make the best, most informed decision to drive your business higher.  We’ve been in the industry since 1994–use our experience and intellectual property and we’ll assist and advise you with a holistic approach.  Whatever options you choose: data center, cloud, colocation or hosting, the great news is that each of the solutions are customizable for each individual business requirement that you may have. 

We have over 180 carriers and service providers to help you execute your mission to deliver great service to your internal team and valuable customers.  For immediate service, or to schedule an initial consultation, please call or fill out the form and an expert will contact you right away.

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