Data Center Operations: Insource or Outsource?
When moving to colo or the cloud, organizations must clearly state goals for the data center and its operations.
The first step in deciding if a company should go colo or cloud, or should continue to operate its own physical data center, is to determine the data center goal(s) across the company. Technology supports the business goals and objectives of the company and the data center supports the technology. Therefore, a company must clarify what the long-term data center goals are and what it means for everyone involved in the data center operations. Different departments often have varying goals and objectives that shape the data center strategy; they need to weigh in on how the overall data center strategy, goals, and objectives will affect their areas of responsibility. For example, upper management may not be aware of issues technicians encounter, such as lack of monitoring and alerting tools for the network. Likewise, the subject matter experts might not be aware of potential acquisitions that will alter the direction of the business.
From the facility manager’s perspective, the key areas that contribute to the decision include a thorough analysis of the company’s capital and operational expenditures required to keep the data center on-premise. Other factors include the cost of migration and identification of the potential risks associated with a move of this magnitude.
However, there are also unknowns. The incoming technologies that the IT department may use could affect the final decision. In-depth conversations are required to provide sufficient clarity to make the “right-sizing” decision, whether it’s to stay on-site or go to the cloud or a colo. The facility manager can help IT understand the capital costs of a small closet or a large data center. IT will need to provide facilities the awareness of what will be host. This allows the facility manager to understand the importance of the environment. For example, if IT says that a room will support the IP phone system for a call center, the facility manager will immediately understand the impact of down time for that room.