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Sitting on the datacentre fence

Sitting on the datacentre fence

Straddling the internal versus managed datacentre debate has become an art form for many vendors. But it’s an art that can also reap considerable benefits for the channel if they learn how to roll with the punches.

The grass is always greener on the other side. And in the datacentre neighbourhood - whichever fence you peek over - there are bound to be tracts of lush playing turf that appear more attractive than your own. That's why global IT vendors often ply the fence sitting art in intractable debates like managed versus internal datacentres.

They are not fully in the internal camp nor jumping over to managed datacentres completely. They are, for the most part, perched atop the fence with legs dangling on either side ready to mow both profit lawns and cherry pick solutions when advising clients.

However, like backyards across suburban Australia, the datacentre neighbourhood view indubitably varies depending on personal preference. There's the family that prefer to completely outsource everything in their yard, the group that don't mind sharing, the old couple who want to take care of it all by themselves and the youngsters who will pick and choose. And at any time they may just sneak a peek at what their neighbours are doing and give the same thing a try. We are a mixed bunch after all.

"It would be fair to say that there are not only fully internal datacentres and fully external datacentres but a whole gamut of different combinations of both internal and external service providers across the spectrum between the two," IBM business unit executive site and facilities services, Malcolm Mackay, said. "For the most part datacentres will take that sort of shape."

Much like how backyard clothes line designs have moved on from the Hills Hoist, there is no longer an archetypal datacentre. But despite the choices on offer - and perhaps because of vendor fence sitting - the internal versus managed debate continues to spice up datacentre discourse.

Indeed, there are those that swear by managed datacentre services and others that hold to an internal model. Knowing the pros and cons of each, therefore, is fundamental when channel partners make a datacentre play.

The managed datacentre

The money talks in this part of the neighbourhood. With budget strings tightening in IT departments across the globe, poor business confidence and CIOs developing an aversion to large capital expenditure outlays, financial considerations have become one of the key drivers for corporations migrating to managed datacentre services.

"One of the drivers is about the need to reduce capital expenditure and I think that really is driving demand for managed and hosted offerings," Frost & Sullivan senior industry analyst, Simon Hayes, said.

"People are looking at how they are actually going to reduce expenditure and drive those efficiencies."

In addition, as new top-class datacentres with advanced design and technologies are needed to replace older, limited varieties, corporations have to weigh up whether they are willing to allocate funds to build their own or enter into some kind of managed agreement.

"I think this is probably the key driver: Large organisations are starting to look at how their existing facilities have been designed and built," Hayes said.

Hitachi Data Systems director solutions and consulting, Michael Cunningham, claimed many Australian datacentres were ageing quickly.

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