Difference between Wholesale and Retail Data Centers

By CIOReview | Wednesday, September 21, 2016
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In the business world, everything is changing thick and fast, and so are the needs of enterprises who are trying their best to keep pace with this changing reality and be a part of it. In today’s realm of big data and cloud, storage of data is of prime importance for organizations dealing with an astronomical amount of data on a regular basis. To manage and process the data efficiently, the tenacity towards data centers is growing, which fall under two major categories—wholesale or retail.

At the elementary level, small and medium-sized enterprises go for retail data centers, whereas big enterprises generally opt for wholesale data centers, which provide ample space thousand square feet. Retail colocation may be the right fit if you need a small space for a limited period of time and don’t have the requirement to go for a bigger and better one. It is also the right choice if you don’t have the time or the required personnel to take care of it. On the other hand, wholesale colocation may just do the job for you if you need a lot of space and require more than one megawatt of power. Size is just one of the many factors that come into play while choosing the right data center for the enterprise. Other such factors are:

• Requirements of Power: Power is one crucial issue that is on top of the list of any organization before opting for data centers. A retail data center generally consumes power that is less than 100 kilowatts, whereas wholesale data centers generally need power in the order of well above 100 kilowatts. Pricing for power usage brings to light a major difference between retail and wholesale. When enterprises opt for retail they have to pay for power on a per circuit basis, whereas, in wholesale they have to pay for the amount of power consumed. Retail providers are a good option for small customers who require less power and a small space.

• Autonomy: Autonomy is another important issue that needs to be taken care of when opting for a data center. Customers opt for wholesale as they want to have complete control on the infrastructure in place. They have all the resources at their disposal to take care of their equipments and space.

• Amount of Cash Required: The amount of cash required is also an important consideration while opting for the right data center. If there’s a need to keep the investment factor down and go for a smaller environment, then retail is an ideal deal for you. Whereas, wholesale requires a much bigger sum of money to buy the space and build your own footprint.

• Lease Agreement: While retail colocation is for a much shorter time, wholesale is generally for a long haul. For short-term requirements, retail is always the better choice.

• Flexibility:  Retail colocation offers greater flexibility in how the IT platform grows or behaves over a period of time, as the cost and capacity are shared across many lessees. Retail colocations are generally better for companies with small to medium IT requirements; however, as many retail data centers operate across acres of space in their facilities, it is viable to run a major data center directly through a retail deal.

• Technical Support: Data centers need regular maintenance which requires technical help and personnel to take care of the things. Retail providers offer technical help as well as network monitoring and managed services. Whereas, wholesale customers have their own IT staff that take care of these things and they don’t require any technical support or help.  

Things are changing fast with the advent of a new hybrid class, which can deploy anywhere from 200 kilowatts to 800 kilowatts. They also offer metered power where the customers have to pay according to the units consumed. Moreover, they also provide technical support to take care of the infrastructure. They tend to follow the much-trodden path of a wholesale structure while offering technical support and three-year to five-year leases like retail.

The line is getting blurred between retail and wholesale colocations and with all these options available for the customers, one should take a proper look and weigh the options perfectly before coming to any conclusion. The enterprises should consider all their needs and requirements carefully and opt for the right data center that suits their interest the best.