What is your view on outsourcing storage management?
Outsourcing storage management and keeping the storage infrastructure in-house has not really been my favorite idea. At least until now, I haven't seen a big business value in setting up your environment this way. It might reduce some labor cost -- although even that is questionable since you always get what you pay for -- but it leaves the management of your vital data to external sources who you have no real handle on aside from the terms of the contract you made. It's very difficult to design a contract that really ensures your safety, and it's important to keep in mind that the life and death of a business really depends on the availability and security of your data.
A few years ago, several big global players were in the process of evaluating this method of storage management and they have all turned it down -- at least for the time being. The only global player I know who has outsourced storage management (and not only parts of it) is Credit Suisse First Boston (CFSB) as far as I remember, who outsourced their storage management to IBM.
In the future, however, outsourcing storage management and storage infrastructure (which is far more attractive from a cost perspective) might be an option. Currently we see this as a trend which is with growing in popularity.
This was first published in September 2003