There are a lot of companies that think they couldn’t possibly outsource their hosting needs to a third party. They make all kinds of excuses about why their particular organization cannot possibly move the servers more than 6ft from the sysadmin’s desk. I wanted to attempt to catalog the reasons most companies have, and explain why they’re just plain wrong.
We need direct access to the servers.
Why? So you can power cycle them in case they’re completely frozen? So you can re-install an OS on your own terms? So you can walk over to the rack and log in using a mouse and keyboard plugged directly into the machine? We can do all those things for you. Our power strip control and IPMI reboot can restart a server even if it’s completely locked up. Our standard KVM over IP means you can always have direct mouse and keyboard access to your system, and our automatic operating system installs mean you can switch from Windows to Unix at 4am on Christmas Eve and have your server ready to go before breakfast.
We need to be there in case something breaks.
Our datacenter techs will be there, 24/7, in case anything goes wrong. It’s infeasible to hire someone to sit in a server room with only 15 servers in it waiting for an alarm to go off. With the money you’re spending on 24/7 technicians to sit and do nothing, you could have multiple dedicated racks at SoftLayer with an entire team of specialists on the edges of their seats, waiting for something to go wrong so they can spring into action. In addition to just the human resources cost, you also have the spare parts cost. We have entire spare servers that we can use in the event of a complete and catastrophic meltdown. Some companies would have a hard time finding an extra SCSI controller or IPMI card; I doubt many medium-sized companies have the resources to keep spare machines handy.
It’s too expensive to outsource.
If this were true, this entire industry wouldn’t exist. I know it seems that the purchase price for your server is less over the course of a few years, when compared to the monthly rent of a similar SoftLayer server, but you’re forgetting the incidental charges. The amount of money you’re putting into your small datacenter every day in terms of cooling, electricity, and bandwidth has to add up. The cost of upgrades, repairs, and outages sneak up on you also. You also need to remember that you’re paying for the real-estate that your servers are in. Some companies can fit upwards of 100 people in the space their servers are taking up. Figure out how much you pay per month per square foot of office space, I bet the results will shock you.
You also have to put into the equation the cost of the firewalls, back-end networking, hardware monitoring, intrusion detection hardware, network storage, and all the other great features that come standard on SoftLayer servers. Not to mention the possibility of utilizing our CDN service, Load Balancers, virtual servers, transcoding services, and many more services we offer here. If you attempt to build yourself a world-class data center for just your servers, your costs will be far higher than if you had just let the experts handle it from the start.
We like having all the control.
Everyone likes control, which is why you rarely have to open a ticket to have work done on a SoftLayer machine. Unless your request involves a human being physically opening the case, most of what you want to do can be done through the portal. You can reconfigure any of our services through the portal. You can purchase and allocate additional IP addresses, and you can even purchase entire servers and add them to existing load balancers or virtual dedicated racks without contacting anyone. The control is still in your hands, it just reaches across the country.
Our data is too sensitive to be in a shared location.
The SoftLayer private network is just that, private. Not private as in “members only” but private as in “you and only you.” When a SoftLayer customer VPNs to the private network, he or she is actually logging in to a private set of network routes dedicated to their account. Only servers on their account are accessible from their VPN entry point. Their servers, likewise, can only see the other servers on that same account. Your servers can never get to the servers on another account through the private network. The only access between servers on different accounts is through the public internet, which is true regardless of where the servers are.
We’re too large for outsourcing.
Our CEO, Lance, may answer this with a simple “oh yeah? Bring it!” However, a more verbose rebuttal is probably needed. We have the infrastructure to handle whatever you can throw at us. We handled streaming video of the presidential inauguration, and we have tens of thousands of servers in multiple data centers in multiple cities. If you need 500 servers spread across the United States, place your order on SoftLayer.com and they will be ready within 4 hours.
We’re comfortable with the way things are.
You may be comfortable now, but are you sure you have every disaster plan covered? Why not allow us to worry about the hardware, power, network, bandwidth, cooling, spare parts, floor space, expandability, and availability requirements, you focus just on keeping the software running and keeping your data safe. Once you have your servers comfortably in our state of the art datacenter, you can start thinking about global expansion. Why not put a web server in all 3 of our locations? You can use geographically-sensitive DNS or global load balancing to serve customers using the closest physical server, all while maintaining a virtual rack of servers across datacenters. All the benefits of keeping your racks in the next office can be yours, with the addition of all our services and geographic diversity.
Our system administrator won’t let us.
I’ve actually heard this more than once. System administrators don’t actually have mystical powers. They work for you, and they enjoy having enough money to pay their bills. They’ll survive the transition.
No matter what size your company is, we have the know-how and the equipment to give you the data center of your dreams. Your servers will be safe, secure, and isolated just like in a private data center, but you will have access to all our additional features as well as having our highly skilled team of round-the-clock technicians to assist you at any time, day or night. Plus, you will probably get more service for less money, and free up significant floorspace in your office. It’s a win-win scenario, and you should jump on it, especially in the current economy. Reducing your IT budget to a set monthly bill instead of a yearly or multi-yearly mega-account will make things easier to budget as well as justify. The outsourcing of IT these days is as common as the outsourcing of power or water a hundred years ago. IT has become a commodity, and all you have to do is call or go to our website and tell us how much of it you’d like.