I often talk to business owners for whom an in-house datacenter is a point of pride. They’re self-reliant, and their company has all the technology and expertise it needs to implement its goals. They’re happy to outsource some parts of the business like support, but they love the idea of owning the servers and the networking technology that makes it all tick.
As someone who is passionate about servers and networking, I can understand why CEOs and CIOs think like this — there’s a lot to be said for pride of ownership. But I also know how difficult it is to maximize the value of infrastructure investments and ensure that the business’ greater goals aren’t put at risk.
In 2017, when businesses have so many other options, most of which are engineered to solve enterprise infrastructure problems, outsourcing IT infrastructure management is almost certainly the fiscally responsibly choice.
When you run your own datacenter, the hardware you have is the hardware you use. It’s bought and paid for, and if you want new hardware, you have to buy and pay for that too. And then you have to pay to manage and maintain it. Because servers and system administrators are expensive, it’s likely you won’t want to change things too often.
That’s fine if your business is static, but most modern businesses value growth and they want to know that their IT infrastructure is adaptable and flexible enough to scale current operations and support new services and operations in the future.
Outsourcing makes life easier because the burden of buying and managing all that hardware is on the vendor, not the client. You just use the infrastructure you need, and if you need something different, it won’t take six months and a big capital expense.
Building a HIPAA or PCI-DSS compliant datacenter is not for the faint of heart — take the cost of the hardware and add some zeroes.
For enterprise infrastructure vendors like Steadfast, this sort of thing is our bread and butter. We make sure we hire the best in the businesses, people with a deep understanding of the intersection between regulations and technology.
In the development world, there’s a strong prohibition against re-inventing the wheel and the “not invented here” ethos is frowned on. Duplication of effort is a waste of resources.
Building and maintaining an in-house data center to solve problems that have already been solved is not optimal. It’s economically advantageous to simply leverage the expertise and experience of an infrastructure vendor who has done the work already.
Technology moves quickly: new processors, faster memory and storage, more efficient cooling and power — all of which can cut infrastructure costs while opening up new possibilities. Now, I know some companies still swear by their Fortran applications running on Cray mainframes, but for the rest of us, keeping up with the leading-edge of technological advancement provides concrete business benefits.
It’s in the vendor’s business interest to provide the best possible hardware to its clients — if they can’t provide the level of service, reliability, and performance clients demand, there are plenty of alternatives who will. On the other hand, it would be enormously expensive for individual companies to stay on the cutting-edge technologically.
Each of these individual reasons to outsource can be put under one heading: outsourcing enterprise IT helps your business grow. It allows you to focus resources on the right thing, generating value for your business.