What is an Outsourced Data Center?

The term ‘outsourced’ can have a variety of meanings that vary with context.  For many Americans, the word is fast becoming a negative descriptor because it is used so often in the media to refer to the loss of manufacturing jobs to other nations.  When it comes to outsourced data centers, however, this is not what is meant.

An outsourced data center is one of many IT solutions that can be provided via a managed services model.  With data center outsourcing, a firm whose core competence is not IT governance decides to contract with another business to provide those functions.  Such a contract may involve leasing some portion of the managed services provider's computer infrastructure, but it may also include leasing their talent as well, since the MSP will typically be providing computer administration. 

An outsourced data center can cost less than running these same functions in-house.  Pricing options, however, vary widely depending on the preferences of the core business and the MSP.  Ways to arrange pricing include assessing it according to power consumption or by square foot or port; in some cases, there is a power limit specified in the contract and an overage charge if a business consumes more than is agreed.  One great advantage of an outsourced data center is the fact that the IT company running the data center becomes responsible for software maintenance including upgrades, platform changes, and patches as well as for ensuring the interoperability of programs from various vendors. 

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