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Data center outsourcing advice

When does a data center manager decide whether to outsource the data center or keep it in-house? Expert Charles King gives his opinion.

What criteria is used to determine whether a data center should be outsourced or managed in house. Is there a point, i.e. power, space, cooling, security, personnel, etc. that dictate whether or not you build/expand a data center or look to outsourcing to a co-location provider?

The central issue faced by businesses considering in-house/outsourced data center management options is whether the total cost of ownership (TCO) of IT infrastructures outweighs their overall practical and strategic benefits. Unfortunately, it's a subject with no easy fix, but one (as the question notes) that incorporates complex issues ranging from facilities maintenance and support to personnel costs, as well as essential IT concerns.

To our way of thinking, if a company is considering such a move, conducting a full IT assessment is a logical first step. Though data center complexity often seems to be an overwhelming ball of knots, they can usually be picked apart with patience and skill. After an organization discovers where it stands in relation to its computing needs, deciding whether to continue self-managing its data center operations or outsourcing those processes to a co-location provider becomes an easier task with more dependable and predictable results.

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