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Off-site datacentre solution opportunities

09 May 2012

A traditional approach to providing infrastructure services has been to provide on-premise equipment such as UPS, air conditioning, and even generators. However, this is becoming less acceptable as organisations are looking at ways to provide IT efficiencies and reduce costs. 

For example, providing a fully redundant power and cooling system will often exceed a client’s budget, leaving underlying infrastructure as the weakest link in a solution. The ‘million dollar server’ is a common phrase describing this issue, where adding computing power requires significant reinvestment in the infrastructure to support that server. 

This presents a strong opportunity for resellers to position off-premise data centre solutions to customers, where they can pay a monthly fee to house servers in a purpose built facility. 

UFB is here!

Previously, the biggest challenge with this was private connections between the client’s site and the data centre; however, the arrival of UFB has already resulted in significant readjustment of circuit prices in market, making the move to offsite data centres affordable. We have recently seen a reseller complete a data centre migration for their customer because the cost of the redundant fibre connections had been reduced to around 30% of what they had been a year ago.

These services provide an annuity revenue stream to the reseller and pave the way to migrate a customer to a cloud or virtual solution, again increasing annuity revenue. 

Cloud services

Assisting businesses with local cloud services presents another fantastic opportunity: there are a lot of people very interested in them, they understand why they should be using them, but they are struggling with the how and where. Trusted partners who can guide them through this process, and then continue to support them into the future, are definitely in demand.

Resellers should be looking for opportunities to partner with service providers to offer customers hybrid cloud solutions, where customers have virtual data centre resources, and use these to supplement onsite or internally provided IT services. 

The other area to look at is how cloud servers or virtual servers can be increasingly leveraged to provide disaster recovery solutions for internal IT services. These mixed service models, with some internal and some external IT, are growing in popularity. UFB pricing changes are increasingly making these services cost-effective and very usable. 

Efficiency and sustainability

Ask your data centre provider to share their infrastructure upgrade plans so you can see what efficiencies and power-saving initiatives can be worked into your customer proposals. Ask about their power usage effectiveness (PUE) rating, which measures the efficiency of the data centre, and see what improvements they plan to make. This may translate into more choice for your customers when it comes to selecting the equipment they wish to run. 

Redundancy

Other benefits of a commercial data centre are biometric security, 24x7 onsite staff and the level of scale and redundancy in infrastructure. Resellers can also manage more of their customer’s IT equipment in one place, and deal with fewer site related problems. 

Data centre services are typically designed to be delivered on scale – so there is a great opportunity to customise offerings and provide something a bit more unique or tailored to a customer’s requirements.

Resellers are crucial to ensuring the end customer realises the best value from the service being delivered. This is all about taking the time to understand their true business requirements and adding value to various services to really make them a perfect fit.  

Jeremy Nees is enterprise architect for Maxnet. This article originally appeared in the April issue of The Channel.

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