Project Management

The Data Center Debate

Michael R. Wood is a Business Process Improvement & IT Strategist Independent Consultant. He is creator of the business process-improvement methodology called HELIX and founder of The Natural Intelligence Group, a strategy, process improvement and technology consulting company. He is also a CPA, has served as an Adjunct Professor in Pepperdine's Management MBA program, an Associate Professor at California Lutheran University, and on the boards of numerous professional organizations. Mr. Wood is a sought after presenter of HELIX workshops and seminars in both the U.S. and Europe.

Back in the 1960s and early ’70s, many mid-sized to large organizations could not afford to own their own computers. Instead, it was commonplace to buy computing time at a data center. Then as the price of computing power fell and mid-sized computing platforms became more affordable, organizations began investing in their own data centers.

Today, even with the growth of cloud computing, the majority of organizations are holding fast to maintaining their own data centers. But the pendulum is swinging and a new era of using third-party data centers is rising.

Understanding the tradeoffs between owning computing assets versus renting them is essential when exploring data center outsourcing options. Questions need to be answered, such as:

  1. How secure will the systems be? The data?
  2. Who will be responsible for backing up systems?
  3. What kind of disaster recovery is provided?
  4. What if the communication links to the data center are severed/go down?
  5. Who will own computing assets?
  6. Who will manage the Network Operations Center (NOC)?
  7. Will the data center scale to meet our future needs?
  8. How will incident management be performed and managed?
  9. What impact will outsourcing the data center have on service levels?
  10. What if the data center goes out of business?

The list goes on and\ on as the implications are pondered…

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