Offering the appropriate technology solutions to your internal business customers is a priority for any technology manager that desires to provide high levels of service at the lowest possible costs, particularly in the troubling economic times that we are living in today. However, knowing when to pull the trigger and outsource a critical IT function such as backup versus making further investments in infrastructure choice is not so cut-and-dry when your name is on the dotted line. Further, every IT manager now regularly faces the “Do I continue investing in hardware and software upgrades to support the data growth in the data center and remote locations ?”, or “Should I start leveraging the backup services of a Managed Service Provider via its cloud computing offering?” conundrum.
This is a question more IT managers are asking every day if recent IDC research is any indication. In November 2008, IDC forecast that online storage was poised to take off and it counted online backup, archiving and replication services among those services as ready to roll. So as IT managers consider their options, they need to understand that while there is no right or wrong answer to the question, it is a question they need to ask and answer for themselves. The right answer to it, however, does highly depend on their business environment, IT staff expertise, customer locations, ability to expand, current infrastructure (if any) and future plans.
Let’s take, for example, an IT manager for a company that is looking to outsource its backup and recovery services and is currently evaluating a Managed Service Provider (MSP) that uses Asigra Televaulting as its backup solution for its cloud computing offering. The IT manager may or may not have the needed expertise in-house to manage backups now based upon the type of IT organization that he/she has developed. However, that is just a small part of the equation.
From a facilities perspective to support backup, the IT manager probably does not have much more than a small data center, if that, with no infrastructure to speak of (UPS, FM 200, Generator, etc). Providing an adequate network infrastructure, to the backup servers and their respective clients is a real concern that needs to be taken into account also. As you can see there are many things one needs to think about prior to making a decision on in-sourcing a backup and recovery environment. With all of these parameters it’s obvious why this market segment has exploded over the years.
Now, the question becomes what sort of MSP (Managed Service Provider) is right for my organization’s backup and recovery needs. Choosing the proper service provider is one of the most important decisions that the IT manager needs to make prior to moving forward in this endeavor. The best idea is to make a list of your businesses needs and compare them to what the MSP can provide. Equally important, determine the state of the facilities of the MSP that will be hosting your backup data. In a forthcoming blog entry, we will take a look at some questions companies should ask of themselves and their MSP in preparing to outsource their backup infrastructure.