The well-publicised efficient advantages of cloud computing have triggered an attraction for the cloud, facilitating increased adoption of the technology by business firms.
Customers today are interested in managed cloud services to achieve higher uptime while also reducing costs of infrastructure management. Hence, managing servers in the cloud with customised services has become an industry. Infrastructure management services (IMS) providers that are managing IT infrastructure, cloud, etc., of business firms have, in recent years, changed their style of functioning with new technologies and pricing models booming in emerging verticals.
The Springboard Research found that spending on IT-managed services in India would reach $3.8 billion in 2013, compared to $1.6 billion in 2009.
The global presence of various service providers has given customers options to choose technologies based on availability, which help them tide over challenges arising from geographic locations. Remote infrastructure management services (RIMS) providers have the expertise to deliver infrastructure management services to customers all over the world from multiple Network Operating Centres (NOC), transforming RIMS to IMS, as industry no longer views it as remote.
Real estate market
The real estate market in West Asia, with its increased adoption of technologies to fulfil technical requirements, has opened new avenues for IMS. These real estate players are looking to evolve their operating models into outsourced managed services that would enable them to better manage end-to-end customer experience, while reducing costs, increasing efficiency and improving performance. Even counties in the U.S. are adopting cloud computing solutions.
Today, customers want unified solutions with monitoring and management services. IMS providers offer an Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL) approach to customers by aligning with the existing internal services and moving towards cloud computing with transparent monitoring, helping customers with the broadest technology coverage and good service delivery processes.
With security becoming a prime concern for customers, Security Operating Centre is another significant value-added service in IMS. After 9/11, there was a major reassessment of networks with overall security tests. Networks were tested extensively and made secure. Effective penetration tests and assessment of potential impact to the organisation were done to outline a range of technical and procedural counter measures to reduce risks. Internet protocol security VPNS (Virtual Private Networks) is now widespread and used to reach the customer’s IT infrastructure from remote locations.
Another strategy to achieve high uptime is through ‘multi-approach’, i.e. integrating multiple NOCs at different geographical locations to offer IMS.
Disaster recovery solutions based on geographic location guarantees data availability in case of a disaster.
The pricing model has moved from traditional pay-per-usage to the ‘charge back’ model, bringing the onus on IMS providers. The ‘charge back’ model charges customers based on their SLA’s (Service Level Agreement), but with a penalty clause for the IMS provider. If the IMS provider doesn’t achieve the mutually agreed uptime, it would have to pay a penalty. However, the pricing models vary for IMS providers based on the services offered and the verticals and geographies served.
When we look at the new hardware/equipment infrastructure needed to implement new technologies, IMS providers have adopted the ‘amortisation’ model with clients who are not prepared to invest huge sums of money on equipment immediately. These clients can use equipment and pay IMS providers on a regular basis. Pricing may vary depending on the duration of the project.
(The author is Head – RIMS Operations, Marlabs Software)