For both young parents and business owners, there eventually comes a time to make a critical decision: What to do with your baby?
At the beginning, it’s easy. A newborn and a new business venture are given ample time to grow and explore the world, all under the watchful eye of a parent, founder, or a select few trusted partners.
After a few years, however, that practice starts to become unsustainable—most parents opt for sending their child to school instead of home-schooling, for example. Experts in early child education are trusted with increasing students’ growth and performance, just as owners of growing businesses let IT experts at web hosting companies manage the infrastructure behind their company’s website and data storage needs.
Dropping your child off at kindergarten can be just as traumatizing as moving your business information to an outsourced data center, but the decision can bring dramatic benefits. Instead of chasing around a toddler or troubleshooting a network issue, entrepreneurs, mothers, and fathers can focus on the most rewarding efforts and long-term benefits such as going back to work or improving a product marketing campaign.
Roughly a quarter of data center space in North America is outsourced, with research showing double-digit growth rates will likely continue. Here, we will examine whether it’s time to trust your baby with someone else and explore the benefits of colocating your servers with a trusted company.
Whether kept in-house or outsourced to another facility, both approaches to data centers come with benefits and drawbacks.
Historically, on-site IT was the norm for most businesses of a certain scale. Companies included investments in infrastructure, utilities, and maintenance in the budget to fund an environment that met every performance and security need. Some of the advantages these organizations enjoy include:
Depending on your team’s technical abilities and your company’s financial interests, however, on-site IT might not be the best option. Innovations in cloud technology, fiber connectivity, and colocation services often provide answers for some of the disadvantages of keeping your servers in-house (for a broader discussion, watch this video from the Uptime Institute):
The substantial workload alone is usually enough for a growing business to choose to invest in colocated or outsourced infrastructure management and empower the IT team to put their talents toward initiatives that can have major influence on business success.
From the beginning, outsourced IT management alleviates many of the technical and business constraints of in-house infrastructure. Colocation facilities, for instance, typically feature more sophisticated security solutions, along with cheaper utility costs, and a full roster of experienced technicians. Overall benefits to housing your information and infrastructure elsewhere include:
Even if outsourcing or colocating your company’s infrastructure doesn’t save money up front, the practice can immediately alleviate common headaches and weaknesses in an organization’s current IT operations—often bringing benefits that will pay dividends for years.
If you decide to outsource your data storage and hosting needs, be sure to research providers. Look for reputable companies with the expertise and facilities that match your company’s exact requirements—you’re trusting these people with your baby, after all. Don’t be afraid to examine your options based on some of the following criteria:
The answers to all of these question will guide your decision to outsource your infrastructure or continue managing everything in-house.
While the reallocated resources commonly provide ample benefits to most companies, we recognize that every situation is different.
Because the cost of unplanned data center outages is so high—upward of $11,000 per minute in some cases, according to research by the Ponemon Institute—the decision to outsource your data hosting needs is critically important to your business success.
Many companies prefer trusting tried-and-true data center providers that will host infrastructure under the stipulations of a service-level agreement, as opposed to taking the risk of configuring and maintaining an in-house data center.
Although enterprise-grade businesses with ample resources and a knowledgeable workforce may be more likely to absorb the costs and high standards associated with building and operating an on-site data storage solution, the benefits of re-allocating financial and employee resources to business-critical objectives resonate with organizations of all sizes.