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Top 5 Ways Managed Hosting Can Transform Your IT Operations

Fortune 1000 IT and line-of-business decision makers looking to solve business challenges through the use of technology are faced with a choice today: to buy, build, maintain, and support the necessary infrastructure and platforms they need themselves, or to have someone else do it for them.

For most companies, buy/build has been the only option they’ve ever employed, but with the advent of robust and secure colocation data centers, highly-scalable clouds, dependable broadband networks, and mature managed hosting services, today we see this decision is no longer so cut-and-dry.

As the business demands for more technology and more data continue to soar, decision-makers have to ask themselves if it is better to spend millions of dollars on self-maintained IT hardware, middleware, storage and networking, or to outsource some of that IT and re-direct a portion of that capital elsewhere into the business to fuel growth, innovation and improved longer-term outcomes.

While presented here in high contrast, the decision is not a straight-forward one.

On one hand, many businesses have a great deal of capacity and expertise built up over years of running in-house data centers. This experience can be called upon to meet the unrelenting business demands for technology-fueled flexibility and agility. Also, not all applications and systems lend themselves well to a managed hosting arrangement. Core mission-critical solutions built on years of custom code should be kept in house; close to the experts and expertise required to keep these systems up and running.

On the other hand, as existing in-house IT infrastructure ages, does it make economic sense to continue to build out resources that offer little in the way of business differentiation or advantage? Also, many common and widely-used applications lend themselves very readily to cloud deployment and operation in a managed hosting/cloud environment.

Other considerations include IT maturity and openness to adopting new ways of delivering services. Does your organization embrace the concept of cloud, for example? If so, has it already begun the journey? Are there automation tools, processes and policies in place to enable hybrid cloud environments? Does it employ best practices frameworks like ITIL that codify one-off processes so they can be consistently repeated and automated?

Some workloads will have distinct security and compliance requirements. And organizations will need others to seamlessly integrate across platforms, with partners, vendors and customers. These considerations and many more that are specific to your organization will have to be thought through before a definitive answer can be found.

Whatever the decision, it is wise to make it in the context that technology is moving faster today than ever before. And the rate of change is accelerating exponentially, with each new advance fueling the next. Keeping pace requires businesses to invest substantial resources simply to maintain existing assets. Innovating with technology (the goal of all business-focused IT organizations) is a luxury many businesses cannot afford or cannot afford to do well. Even when it is undertaken, that innovation eventually becomes yet another platform, application, device and supporting infrastructure that must be maintained over time — placing it squarely (and, in today’s world, very quickly) back on the “lights-on” side of the ledger.

So how do you meet the often conflicting yet dual demands of providing the business with cutting edge capabilities while still maintaining an acceptable cost structure that will bring out the value of your company’s investments in a measurable way?

This is where managed hosting and cloud combine to provide clients with the best of both worlds.

5 Ways Managed Hosting Meets Demand
After pouring years of investment and man-hours into their current IT environments, businesses today have to maximize those investments. But they also need agile and flexible solutions that enhance their competitive advantage by allowing them to scale up technology resources rapidly and to decommission them just as fast — without breaking the bank.

Managed hosting and cloud meet these needs in five unique ways:

1. Future-Proofing Infrastructure
As we’ve discussed, Moore’s law and the unrelenting pace of change mean that infrastructure quickly becomes outdated. This limits an organization’s ability to maximize ROI from those investments. With managed hosting and cloud, businesses are leasing capacity and capability without having to own the underlying hardware and middleware or having to staff the skills necessary to maintain it ongoing. So, as markets change and opportunities (and threats) emerge, the technologies businesses depend on today and in the future to take advantage of these changes evolves with them on-demand.

2. Reducing Capital Expense
Due to the rapidly changing business landscape, CFOs today know they need to invest in the technologies that will give them an edge. What they don’t want is to carry the cost of those investments on their balance sheets. Build/buy significantly increases these balances, because IT has to over-provision every aspect of its infrastructure to ensure there is enough capacity to meet peak demand. By shifting technology expenditures from CapEx to OpEx, CFOs can free up capital to take advantage of emerging business opportunities, fueling growth, adding capability and improving outcomes.And, because managed hosting and cloud services are operational expenses, they also allow the business to apply the cost of technology onto the divisions and departments that consume it and not spread those costs across the entire organization. So, budgeting can be more targeted and expenses more aligned with company priorities and opportunities.

3. Improving Security and Compliance
Target, Home Depot, Sony Pictures … these are just the latest in a long line of high-profile security breaches making headlines today. Granted, breaches come in many forms and have many causes, but as often as not a breach occurs when overworked and under-resourced IT departments do not consistently patch and upgrade in a timely manner. Managed hosting and cloud providers have a much better track record in this regard:

  • Since infrastructure is all they do, managed hosting providers have the teams, policies, procedures and expertise to make sure they are always up to date.
  • Since they work across multiple industries, managed hosting providers have to stay abreast of and be able to execute against every major security and information standard – including HIPAA, PCI, FISMA, FedRAMP, DIACAP, Safe Harbor (Europe) and others.
  • They work with enterprise-grade data centers that provide multiple layers of security redundancy and employ SSAE 16 SOC 1 Type 2 compliance standards for their facilities.

4. Increasing Efficiency and Performance
Managed hosting providers are able to run their operations with a higher degree of efficiency and performance, because they myopically focus on just the things they do well and provide them as services. So their clients benefit from that expertise and experience. By relying on data center providers that also have the same focus, the ability to troubleshoot and find the root cause of problems is both greatly enhanced and expedited. And, since they field cloud infrastructures that run on automated policies to provision, manage, and orchestrate operations, what happens in one facility is replicated identically in every other facility, ensuring compatibility and consistency of service. In fact, a managed hosting provider’s whole business depends on their ability to service level objectives spelled out in their clients’ services agreements.

5. Improving Support and Reach
While “support” is often thought of in terms of helpdesk, it really has a much broader application. Since IT today is all about supporting the business, working with a managed hosting provider with national and international reach allows IT to provide businesses with a breadth and range of options not available in corporate IT departments. New products and services can be brought to market faster because the skills needed to manage the ever-changing and diverse mix of technologies that underlie these efforts are table-stakes for an experienced managed hosting provider.

Managed hosting providers are technology agnostic. This means they can offer clients whatever mix of cloud, OS, hardware, storage, and networking, they need so they can focus on the end results, not how they get there. And their ability to offer smart hands on-site staff augmentation and operational support services gives clients the freedom to expand and contract not only technologically, but also geographically.

For example, latency is still an issue for many applications like gaming, e-commerce, and content delivery networks, which suffer greatly from sub-millisecond delays. Maintaining the dispersed pockets of infrastructure needed to overcome latency is expensive and time-consuming. Outsourcing this work to a third party that can spin these resources up and down as needed is increasingly a better option for many established businesses and a must-have for start-ups.

Conclusion

Years ago, at the dawn of what is now called cloud computing, when server virtualization was in its infancy, CIO’s began dreaming about the possibilities unleashed by abstracting applications, compute, networking, and storage from the underlying hardware.

Today these capabilities have matured into flexible, enterprise-class computing environments that, while still rare inside the corporate firewall, can be had today “as-a-service” often for much less than the cost of deploying, maintaining, provisioning, and running these environments in house. The net effect of this transformation has been to finally shift the business-technology conversation away from costs and limitations and onto agility, business benefits and value creation — must-haves in today’s world of quickly shifting business environments and ever-escalating demands from technology-savvy employees who want the latest consumer-grade tech available inside the enterprise.

About Carpathia and T5

Together, Carpathia and T5 offer businesses a simplified approach to IT efficiency through top-tier managed services and flexible cloud solutions purpose-built to meet the needs of any business or mission.

The companies’ full suite of IT services and hybrid cloud solutions, operated out of T5’s single and multi-tenant data centers nationwide, ensure that customers’ IT infrastructure is always operating at peak performance. Together, Carpathia and T5 deliver on-site support, incident response, hardware troubleshooting and repair, visual verification inspections, audit preparation and more, all backed by Carpathia’s experienced and professional team.

Click here to download a copy of the white paper.

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