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Outsourcing storage management

What is your view on outsourcing storage management?

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There is no question that some of the tasks companies do today are at the storage management level, but the caveats include having iron-clad service level agreements to ensure that what has been contracted for actually is done. The most common storage management tasks outsourced today are remote backups, disaster recovery hot sites/collocation of data centers, as well as archiving. What generally hasn't worked as well includes outsourcing all of storage management unless other parts of your IT organization are also being put on the same contract. The reason: fingerpointing between various parties involved in managing the environment -- a significant danger in today's climate of mounting accountability. You need to establish an internal assessment process to evaluate whether or not outsourcing certain tasks are right for you. This includes an assessment of the hardware, software and labor necessary to do it in-house versus outsourcing the task.

Sometimes, the cost of outsourcing can exceed the cost of doing it yourself, if your team and infrastructure aren't being fully used to begin with. Know your capabilities and measure the value of entering a contract to do this, but also understand that the mileage of ROI will vary depending on what you outsource, and the rates you pay to do that outsourcing.

This was first published in June 2003

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