A colocation data center, or colo, is a type of data center where equipment space and bandwidth are available for rental to retail customers. They rose up quickly in the last 10 years as businesses looked for more economical ways to host their expanding number of servers.
Colos provide space, power, cooling, and physical security for the server, storage, and networking equipment. This includes high-speed Internet connectivity, or maintaining a dedicated circuit back to the enterprise.
The problem is that many colo providers have seen the value of cloud computing hype, and are now positioning themselves as cloud computing providers. Indeed, many of them offer up public cloud-type services, including storage and computing on-demand.
However, are they a true public cloud computing provider? Most are not. They don’t provide some of the core services, such as self- and auto-provisioning, they don’t provide usage service billing, and they don’t have well-defined APIs that offer access to the “cloud” resources.
Thus, there is a bit of confusion out there. These guys typically seek me out to validate that they are a “cloud.” While I can tell the difference, most in enterprise IT can’t. Thus, they may go in the colo cloud direction, but never really find the value they are seeking.