Data Center Managed Services: The Right Partner Is Critical

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This is the digital universe. "It is growing at 40% a year into the next decade, expanding to include not only the increasing number of people and enterprises doing everything online but also all the “things” — smart devices — connected to the Internet, unleashing a new wave of opportunities for businesses and people around the world." - EMC Digital Universe with Research & Analysis by IDC

Digitization of the enterprise and growth in demand for power, space and bandwidth have led to many trends in the data communications arena. One of the major trends has been an expanding need for more diverse types of data centers, ranging from the largest (hyperscale) and multi-tenant data centers (MTDCs) to some of the smallest edge operations. This, in turn, leads to increased challenges for organizations to cost-effectively keep up with data center administration and management demands.

Whether it’s an in-house IT group supporting the cloud and legacy apps, a mid-size company balancing the need to grow with the necessity of keeping systems secure or a professional services firm trying to leverage the benefits of mobility with too few specialists and too few available work hours, the underlying problem remains the same – how to do more with less? How does an organization expand its ability to accomplish more without head-count cost increases, let alone sourcing and hiring the talent needed? This is the world of data center managed services.

"By 2025, 85% of infrastructure strategies will integrate on-premises, co-location, cloud and edge delivery options, compared with 20% in 2020." - David Cappuccio, Distinguished VP Analyst; Henrique Cecci, Senior Director, Gartner Research Report – “Your Data Center May Not Be Dead, but It’s Morphing” 

The Data Center Managed Services Model

While managed services are not a new idea, the stakes could not be higher when applying this model to the mission-critical world of data centers. Let’s face it, when it comes to data centers, there is literally no room for error. From multi-tenant or co-location data centers (MTDCs or COLOs) and edge data centers to hyperscale data centers, downtime is simply not an option. Data center management teams must be always available and ready to handle whatever arises whenever and wherever they are needed.

Therefore, organizations of every size are increasingly looking for a managed services model to either replace or supplement in-house data center management resources— it’s just about the only way to manage growth and achieve associated organizational goals without breaking the bank.

When it comes to data center managed services, finding the right partner is key. 

Some key criteria in evaluating and selecting the right managed services partner should include how your potential managed services partner might address the following:

  • Augmenting existing organization skill sets in short supply
  • Normalizing the workload for current data center managers
  • Providing 24/7/365 coverage
  • Providing on-demand specific expertise and depth needed for a project or problem resolution
  • Breaking “logjams” in delivering functionality, updates, etc.
  • Delivering cost-effective support for remote locations
  • Addressing the needs for physical security (surveillance, access control, etc.)
  • Providing committed Service Level Agreements (SLAs) for availability, uptime, incident response time, etc.

Other key considerations might also include:

  • Years of data communications data center management experience
  • Providing the right 24/7/365 managed services infrastructure
  • Personnel with the appropriate credentials
  • A strong managed services track record

Data Center Server Room

What is a Managed Data Center?

A managed data center is a model that calls for remote monitoring and management via a third-party managed service platform (MSP). Management personnel are not on-site but have remote 24/7/365 access and control of all data center administration and services activity through the MSP. Typically, a managed data center can be sourced from data center hosting, colocation or through cloud-based data center as a service (DCaaS) platforms.

To be clear, a managed data center model is not an all-or-nothing situation. Some customers may only be looking for supplemental data center management assistance, allowing some administrative control over infrastructure and services, while others may be looking to offload 100% of all data center management activity.

Regardless of the need for full or partial data center managed services, the range and scope of “managed services” should be explicitly spelled out via a Managed Services Service Level Agreement (MSSLA).

Per Technopedia.com: based on the service level agreement, the managed services provider is generally responsible for:

  • Upkeep and maintenance of all hardware and network equipment and services
  • Installation, upgrade and patching of operating systems and other system-level software
  • Data center storage and backup maintenance
  • Fault tolerance and data center infrastructure redundancy in case of disaster or other disrupting events

Selecting the Right Partner

So, we have defined the what and why behind the need for data center managed services as well as the skills to consider/require when seeking a potential data center managed services partner. As noted above, as the world of connected devices (IoT) continues its seemingly non-stop growth, the stresses and strains on data centers, and the businesses deploying them, will also increase. There has never been a better business case for data center managed services.

When selecting a data center managed services partner, make sure your potential partner can meet all the criteria mentioned previously. The decisions you make on this subject are truly mission-critical for your business.

To learn more about how Wesco can help your organization leverage Data Center Managed Services, contact your local Wesco representative today.