The recent economic downturn has put tremendous pressure on data center operators, as it has on most everyone else, to cut costs and avoid expenses wherever possible. Despite the economic turmoil, however, demand for data storage space and computing power has not diminished. As a result, companies have been faced with an increasingly difficult decision: upgrade or outsource?

As data center equipment ages, companies must decide whether to upgrade existing data centers (or even construct new data centers) or to simply outsource to colocation or managed servers instead. Just as consumers have tended toward making their current automobiles last longer rather than purchasing new ones, data center operators have been keeping their aging equipment in operation longer than they might otherwise have done in better economic times. Although the breakdown of a consumer’s car can be annoying and inconvenient, the breakdown of data center equipment can be disastrous. As the equipment ages, its risk of failure increases. In light of the ongoing cost of maintaining a data center, as well as the periodic need to update equipment and even, in some cases, construct new facilities or expand existing ones, the temptation to outsource data center operations can become difficult to resist.  With the increasing focus on cloud-based computing, the ability to outsource computing and storage resources to others who are better able (or more willing) to tackle the challenges of data center operation and maintenance may be a viable option for many companies facing the prospect of costly upgrades to their data center facilities.

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