IT managers nix data centre outsourcing

While the enterprise appetite for outsourcing data centres in Australia has risen considerably compared to last year, IT managers have serious issues when contemplating handing the "keys to the kingdom" over to a third party.

Gartner research vice president, Rolf Jester, said the data centre market in Australia is growing faster than the IT industry overall and is having solid and sustainable growth.

"By the end of this calendar year the market will be worth $US1.6 billion dollars - it grew about 6.1 percent from last year which is okay when you think gross domestic product growth is around 3 percent," Jester said.

"Across the country there is solid sustainable growth, because many companies are making the decision that data centre hosting is what someone else does for a living ... people are moving to it [hosted data centres] for reasons of accountability, transparency, and sometimes to have a professional company running the service so there are clear service level agreements and predictable, measurable qualities. They also know whose bum to kick if they are not getting the service they want.

"The common attitude though is keeping control in-house."

Simon McMahon, IT manager for South Australian-based Beach Petroleum said, he would prefer to have control over the data, but more from an IT operational point of view. Because a lot of Beach's software requires quick access to data, there is not little point spending money on desktops if there are delays in getting technical data to the screen.

"We need information at the drop of a hat and we don't know always know what we will require the next day, so we need access to our data immediately," McMahon said.

"We have not looked at outsourcing a data centre because of that issue, but outsourcing it could remove the cost of infrastructure and free some room up onsite. We have guaranteed back-up and our data is stored in a theft and fire proof room."

Michelle Beveridge, IT manager for Oamps insurers, has a customer base of more than 50,000 people and deals regularly with compliance measures for holding the data. Beveridge said as a result she needs to know at every waking moment that they have complete control over the data.

"Considering our core business is information, if we were going to outsource our data centre we would want strong contractual tie-ups with the outsourcer, because if you loose your data centre your business doesn't operate," Beveridge said.

"In terms of backup we have no problem with that being outsourced, but we have compliance regulations [around] customer privacy and it is part of my responsibility to make sure it is secured, so from that point of view I have to be able to put my hand on my heart and know our data is secured."

David Blumanis , data centre consultant for APC, said companies tend to hold production data in-house with disaster recovery projects outsourced to co-location sites rather than full-blown data centre outsourcing.

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