Benefits of Outsourced Managed Services for Data Center Hosting
Data Center hosting has traditionally been divided into two general categories, Managed Service Provider (MSP) and Colocation (Colo) with corresponding levels of IT service delivery to the hosted customer environment. MSPs typically provide specific IT Services up to complete IT management of the hosted environment. In some cases they will even provide customer application administration and support services. On the other hand, Colo providers may lease data center space, bandwidth or equipment and limit IT Services to Remote Hands. This will provide basic functions such as machine power cycling or inserting/removing media.
The increase in outsourcing of Data Center Hosting and IT Services is driven by economic efficiency concerns and cost containment initiatives. To keep up with this trend, Service Providers must become more flexible and scalable across a broad range of customer needs. This whitepaper examines these trends and the outsourcing options available to help maximize customer satisfaction and manage costs.
Data Center Outsourcing Expected to Grow
Data Center Operations outsourcing has grown steadily over the previous decade as shown in Figure 1 below. With more than one-third of Data Center Operations outsourced, the outsourcing model has been proven as a cost-effective means of reducing IT capital expenditures and labor costs. At the same time, the model provides rapid scalability (up or down) to meet the needs of the business is a viable low-risk method that adapts to economic fluctuations. Analysts predict that the increase in economic pressures will continue to impact the growth rate of outsourcing. Companies will explore conservative, low-risk options while responding to higher levels of customer service and more intense competition in pricing.
Outsourcing Services and Options
The list of Managed Service Provider offerings available varies widely from one provider to another and has grown to include the following:
- Systems and Network Monitoring
- Managed Integration Services
- Managed Network and IP Addressing
- Security, Firewall, VPN and Remote Access Management
- Fault & Performance Management
- Build and Configuration Management
- Server Maintenance and Health Management
- Managed VoIP and PBX Services
- Managed Wireless LAN (WLAN)
- Asset Management
- Managed Videoconferencing
- Managed Intrusion Detection
- Threat Detection and Incident Management
- Vulnerability Scanning
- Anti-Virus & Spam Management
- Secure Messaging/E-mail
- Managed Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery Service
- Software as a Service (SaaS)
With a broad array of available MSP service offerings most any configuration can be found. However, the services available from pure Colocation providers typically place most of the administrative and systems management burden on the hosted customer’s internal IT staff. While Colo can be considerably less expensive, customers must weigh the real costs of staffing against the potential efficiencies of scale. They can also take a hybrid approach of hosting in the less expensive Colo facility and engaging Outsourced Managed Services (OMS) that are partners with the Colo providers.
Outsourced Managed Services Benefits
Outsourced Managed Service providers can be tailored to fill gaps in existing internal IT expertise. They can also provide after hours support and response, as well as tiered levels of service not practical within a company’s existing IT staff. OMS thus becomes a virtual IT staff for the Colo hosted customer. Virtual staff is capable of responding instantly to increasing or decreasing demand and allows greater flexibility of physical site selection for a Colo provider. Further, OMS can reduce a company’s internal risks associated with staffing costs, inadequate technical training, downtime due to staff availability, and adherence to regulatory or security compliance requirements.
Data Center Services Selection
With the vast array of options for data center hosting and services, each company must weigh the options and benefits specific to their business and customer requirements. There are no easy templates to determine the best configuration of data center hosting and services. However, the options are available to meet the needs of most any business regardless of scale or complexity. With thorough research and detailed planning, successful and cost-effective results can be achieved.