Data centers exist to provide data center services. Some data centers specialize in a few core services (or even just one). Others provide a wide range of data center services. Neither approach is better or worse than the other in and of itself. You do, however, need to think about which approach is right for you. Here is a quick guide to help.
Data center services can generally be categorized into two broad types: infrastructure and managed IT. These categories may then be further subdivided into more focused service offerings.
Some data centers may require clients to use the data center’s own services. Many data centers will, however, allow clients to use their own service providers (or in-house staff). The client’s service providers will usually only be permitted to touch the client’s equipment. This means that, in some areas, there will be distinct limits on what they can do by themselves.
When data centers allow clients to use their own service providers, data center staff will generally work with them as appropriate. At a minimum, they will generally arrange for the service providers to be granted access to the facility as required.
Infrastructure data center services relate to the provision of hardware and the infrastructure needed to support it.
Colocation is probably the most basic data center service. With colocation, the data center simply provides the use of its facilities. The clients provide their own equipment and manage it themselves.
With that said, even if a data center is focused on colocation, there is a strong chance that it will also provide other data center services. For example, it may offer managed IT and/or ad-hoc technical support.
The only real difference between colocation and Bare Metal as a Service is that in BMaaS, the vendor provides the hardware. This means that they are also responsible for managing it. The client is responsible for managing everything that sits on the hardware.
Again, this does not mean that the client will necessarily take care of everything themselves. In fact, it is highly likely that they will have a service provider take care of their BMaaS infrastructure for them. It will simply be the client’s responsibility to ensure that all necessary work is done in a suitable time frame.
Infrastructure as a Service is undoubtedly one of the most popular data center services on offer today. IaaS generally comes in two main forms. These are dedicated hosting and public cloud services.
With dedicated hosting, the IaaS vendor provides the client with a server for their exclusive use. The key difference between IaaS and BMaaS is that, with IaaS, the vendor also provides virtualization infrastructure. They may provide an operating system as well.
With the public cloud, the data center’s resources are shared between multiple clients. The data center will take full responsibility for the hardware. The clients will only take responsibility for the way in which they use it.
Many data centers offer some level of managed IT services. In fact, many data center vendors will offer a full range of managed IT services. This makes perfect sense. The physical hardware is located in the data center. It therefore logically follows that data center staff are literally in the best position to access it (and hence take care of it).
Most data centers will undertake physical maintenance. Many data centers will also perform software-related maintenance tasks such as applying updates and patches.
It is quite common for clients to require assistance migrating to a new data center. They may also need assistance making changes. Even when the client is operating under business-as-usual conditions, they may need help to swap out or repair faulty hardware.
Many clients use data centers specifically for holding backups. This means that it’s standard for data centers to offer their clients assistance with managing backups. If this data center service is offered, then the data center will often help with managing restorations as well.
In DR/BC situations, clients generally want (and need) to focus on core operations. Since these are unlikely to include IT, it makes sense to use a managed service provider. In many cases, the obvious candidate is the data center the client is already using for their backups.
The nature of data centers means that they have to implement the very highest levels of security. They are therefore experts in this area. This means that they are often in an excellent position to offer security services to their clients.
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