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Data Centers -- Who Needs 'Em Anyway?

Running a data center is for suckers. They're expensive, hard to power and cool, and full of cranky hardware and software that require ceaseless attention.

Salespeople mouth platitudes about ITIL, CMDBs and service management (translation: Give us more money). Virtualization vendors want to throw another layer of software at you -- which will require a whole new set of nonintegrated management tools. The CFO thinks "Cost center, cost center, cost center" every time she talks to you. And, oh yeah, global warming is your fault, too.

OK, you say, but what am I supposed to do? Business units need apps. Employees need e-mail and phone service. And everybody needs more storage.

Here's what you can do: Make it somebody else's problem. The software-as-a-service market is growing by leaps and bounds on this exact premise. Is there any reason to waste your time sorting spam from ham? Or hosting HR applications? Do you really need to build your own SAN when a Web-based service can automate backups and restores?

Of course, you can't outsource the entire data center. Some apps and services need to be held close to the vest for competitive advantage, compliance mandates and so on. But imagine how much leaner and more streamlined you can be by shedding the management of commodity functions.

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