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These days, the term “outsourcing” often comes with a hefty negative connotation. Yet when used correctly and appropriately, it can offer not only cost savings, but access to great new opportunities. Outsourcing may have spent a lot of time being PR poison, but there are ways to prosper from this concept without cratering a business in the process.

The Benefits of Outsourcing IT

There are times when outsourcing...

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Demand for data has been frantically expanding for years, and it shows no sign of stopping. In response to that frantically expanding demand, we found ourselves building entire data centers to handle it all. As the cloud took over, the need for on-premise data centers started to fall off, and growth is actually declining. So what's the ultimate future of the on-premise data center?

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If you're weighing the pros and cons of handling your hardware maintenance in-house versus outsourcing it, this useful infographic can help you make up your mind.

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These days, it's almost unthinkable to not have some kind of cloud storage capability. That wasn't always so, however; when it got started, there were plenty who thought cloud storage was an open invitation to have your information stolen. To get a look at where it all started—and maybe get some insight into the future—let's run down the history of cloud storage.

Cloud Storage in the Beginning

Back in the earliest...

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Ransomware is easily one of the most insidious new threats the IT security landscape faces today. No longer content to simply copy data, hackers use ransomware to seize control of that data and forbid its use to anyone who doesn't pay up. Even then, the data may be lost along with the ransom payment. Protecting against ransomware, however, can be a simple matter, and it all comes back to data center hardware maintenance.

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Big iron. It's a phrase to conjure within the IT market because, in many respects, it's where IT got its start. The days of the “big iron” mainframe may seem like they're gone for good, thanks to networks and the ubiquity of the PC, but they're making a comeback thanks to the cloud market. In fact, the growth of the mainframe and cloud markets can mean great things for those who want to optimize IT operations.

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IT directors and CIOs who want to do more with less are increasingly interested in outsourcing their data center maintenance. Here are 5 reasons why you shouldn’t wait.

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Henry David Thoreau, in “Walden,” noted “Our life is frittered away by detail. Simplify, simplify.” Sounds great, but like so much out there, is a lot harder to actually do than say. But what if there were a way to practice our Thoreau in the data center with just one addition? There's such an addition in play right now, and it's called hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI). HCI actually has a lot to offer, which is why firms like...

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Converged systems can offer companies a great deal of value, especially if used properly. The biggest issue facing companies who plan to use converged systems, though, is that they're not getting everything they could be getting from these systems. A company needs a proper foundation to build on if it's going to put converged systems to work and get the most out of them. A recent discussion from...

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It will likely surprise some to find that there are a few disadvantages to third-party hardware maintenance that need to factor into the calculus of deciding what kind of maintenance program to go with. There are pros and cons to everything; let's take a look at how third-party hardware maintenance is no different.

There's a Bad Side to Third-Party Hardware Maintenance?

It may be hard to believe, but third-party...

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An underperforming asset is, often enough, not really an asset at all. Whether it's an analytics program that's more trouble than it's worth or a sales force that's more focused on getting commissions than keeping customers, improving the underperforming asset is well worth your while. Data centers are no different here, and improving data center performance will help get data where it needs to be faster and more...

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Many of the tasks businesses tackle each day are considered priorities. This includes activities such as measuring the effectiveness of a marketing campaign, tracking the rate of cash flow through the business, and a host of others operations. But how often do we consider the efficiency of hardware use in data center operations? For far too many businesses, the answer is never.

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Change is inevitable in the data center. Whether it's a new PC processor, a new operating system, or an advance related to data center operations such as new storage or networking technologies, everything has to work with what's already installed. Digital transformation is no different, and it means plenty of change for the data center.

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“If you want something done right, do it yourself.” That old adage has carried a lot of people through a lot of situations, mainly because it's so often been right. There are, however, exceptions to just about every rule, and one of the best exceptions is the concept of third-party maintenance (TPM). Using TPM can make a big difference in everyday operations, benefiting your entire operation.

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Any hardware needs a certain amount of maintenance in order to continue running at its peak for any length of time; any other plan is basically just a slippery slope to premature obsolescence. Yet there are a lot of different ways to carry out data center hardware maintenance, so take a closer look at the best practices in this field.

How Do I Carry Out the Right Data Center Hardware Maintenance?

Keep these points...

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“It's hard to find good help these days.” This old saw is often especially felt in IT, where a set of skills is required that takes years to develop fully. While it does tend to vary depending on the field in question, the talent gap is quite real to one extent or another, and third party maintenance—especially third party hardware maintenance—can fill the gap quite readily.

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Data, and its generation, is an inescapable fact of life. Thomson Reuters recently noted that, within the next three years, every human being on the planet will create 1.7 megabytes of data per second. That translates into a planet-wide data creation rate of 44 trillion gigabytes per second. Thankfully, most businesses...

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How well is your data center working for your business? From security to customer support, there are a few key areas to consider when checking on the health of your data center.

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It would be easy to look at the current environment, with its ever-increasing reliance on the cloud and cloud-based systems, and say that data center infrastructure is a waste of money and IT professionals' time. After all, why stock the hardware necessary to run your own operations when you can just rent time on someone else's hardware, and let them handle the heavy lifting that comes with maintenance and upgrades? Even in this environment,...

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It's clear that cloud-based data centers are gaining a lot of ground, to the point where some, using statistics recently gained from Cisco's Global Cloud Index (GCI), are suggesting the private data center only has about three years to live as a concept before it's almost completely replaced by cloud-based operations. However, the GCI also points out that private data centers are also working, and even gaining, leading some to call this the...

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A company these days that has its own data center is making a clear commitment to on-premises data processing and archival that could be very valuable in the years to come. Yet companies going with cloud-based data centers have realized numerous advantages as well. What if there were a way to split the difference and enjoy the best of both worlds? That's what the hybrid data center tries to do.

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Maintenance functions are a necessary part of every business's operations. No matter what hardware you have or software you use, you need to keep it up and running to its peak every day, lest it ultimately become unusable. While most will go with the original equipment manufacturer (OEM) for maintenance—it often comes with the product purchased, after all—the time when OEM maintenance runs out is a time of great angst in companies....

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When the internet was just getting started and IPv4 emerged, there were about 4.3 billion IP addresses that could actually be used. That seemed like great plenty, until there were progressively more IP addresses that needed to be put to work. New devices, new functions, and a general change in the internet's entire way of life—most don't even capitalize the word “internet” any more—mean a skyrocketing demand for IP addresses. IPv6 is meant to...

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What if you got money back for the hardware maintenance coverage you didn't use? This seems like a novel concept, but it's one EmconIT stands by with its loyalty program. Learn how to maximize the value of your hardware support in this infographic.

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If it seems like the whole concept of software-defined anything has been gaining a lot of ground lately, there's good news: it has been. For chief information officers (CIOs) and other IT leaders, it may seem like putting blind faith in unexpected developments. The software-defined data center, however, bears much closer examination.

Why Should I Be Concerned With the Software-Defined Data Center?

Having a...

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With the new year's still-recent arrival, organizations—and people—are looking forward, and trying to see what potential new trends will emerge to make life better, or possibly worse. Getting a handle on what to take advantage of, and what to avoid, can make a new year turn out a lot happier for the effort. It's no different in data management, and there are some emerging trends that may shake up the new year before it's barely...

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The movie “Tommy Boy” once described a warranty, derisively, as being like a bit of peace of mind on cardboard. While “Tommy Boy” chose to instead emphasize the integrity of the manufacturer to make good on faulty products, the rest of us know that that guarantee, that warranty, is worth its weight in keeping people honest. What happens when that warranty runs out? If you're running a data center, good hardware maintenance may be all that...

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The notion of building a data center from the ground up is a heady one. The magnitude of the task is then joined by the sheer difficulty of it; factoring in all the changes that have happened so far. How does one build a data center that's ready for all of tomorrow's changes, some of which haven't even been invented yet?

How Can I Build My Data Center with Scalability in Mind?

Building a scalable data center...

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For those running a data center these days, you know how important it is to your overall business. It handles all that raw data that a wide variety of departments needs, not to mention any customer-facing applications going on. The rise of the Internet of Things, however, may be leaving you scratching your head. There are benefits to this new technology, as well as risks, that can fundamentally impact your data...

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To say that the data center faces a wide variety of threats every day is almost self-evident. Between ransomware, viruses, and data breaches, it's easy to forget about the threats that aren't considered. One major threat that often goes without notice is the Internet of Things (IoT), a powerful emerging system of technologies that means plenty of value for users, but one that poses a lot of risks as...

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A whole host of hardware products have reached End of Service Life (EOSL) between the end of 2017 and now, with many set to lose support in 2018. What's the best way to prepare for EOSL? It may be time to consider third-party maintenance.

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A Dilbert strip once featured the Pointy-Haired Boss declaring to Dilbert that, from now on, Dilbert was to use open source for everything, as it was free. Dilbert, alarmed, then turned to Alice for help, and the duo returned to the boss with a demand for him to hand over the trade publication, so that no one had to get hurt. Open source looks great on the surface—it's free!—but it doesn't come without issues of its own to consider,...

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We've seen a lot of changes over the last few years strike the data center, but none so substantial as the cloud. The cloud has struck the data center down to the bare walls. So what specific changes have impacted the data center in recent days? There's a lot more going on, both positive and negative, than you...

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Normally, when businesses consider maintenance, they have two options. There's the original equipment manufacturer (OEM), which offers some clear value when it comes to maintaining products, but there's also third-party management (TPM), which can offer value in its own right. Some, however, are beginning to wonder if the third path is best, a hybrid TPM / OEM path that seeks to provide the best of both worlds.

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If there's one thing that's been made abundantly clear the last few years, it's that data is the new lifeblood of business. Perhaps second only to cash, data means better sales and improved operations. That kind of value comes with a price, and that price is data storage. What's coming up in the data storage market for 2018? Knowing the answer to this question might help businesses get more out of that valuable...

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In 1975, researchers from Harvard and the University of Illinois set users to watch a recording, counting the number of bounce passes basketball teams engaged in. Out of nowhere, a visitor in a full gorilla suit walked through one recording. When asked, most did not even notice the gorilla, despite watching closely. Sometimes, we get the same way, even when choosing a third-party maintenance provider. We get so focused on some things, we miss...

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One of the biggest new developments in the data center is machine learning, and this single field is bringing with it many of the new opportunities that the data center can produce.

What is Machine Learning Doing to the Data Center?

Machine learning has a real potential to fundamentally alter the data center landscape thanks to a slate of new options for users.

Improved data gathering. The...

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FUD is one of the main strategies original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) use to gain a competitive edge over third-party maintenance (TPM) providers. OEMs will try to instill fear, uncertainty, and doubt with regard to the effectiveness of TPMs. But there's no validity to the assertions made in an attempt to create FUD.

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The data center manager, these days, enjoys a peculiar position. Protected by sheer importance—the data center is an increasingly vital part of everyday operations and the long-term health of the company—yet potentially doomed by that same importance, the data center manager must be kept on hand. Yet should something go wrong, it could mean disaster. The smart data center manager, therefore, works to protect against as many potential problems...

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It may seem to anyone but the most involved and careful viewer that everything is available on an as-a-service basis these days. Even that careful observer notes that an increasingly large number of things formerly available as stand-alone programs are now available as-a-service, leading some to call it an everything-as-a-service (XaaS) environment. In such an era as this, what room is there for the data...

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We've seen software-defined networking (SDN) deliver a lot of value over the last couple of years. It's allowed mobile carriers and other networks to deliver new opportunities to the end user, and provided a means to stand out from competitors. Since there is commonly a lot of competition in mobile and network operations, those distinguishing features are often worth quite a bit of business. As it turns out, SDN has delivered plenty of value...

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Data centers offer no shortage of value, even in the age of the cloud. Data centers can be used as backup systems, as a means to protect and analyze data, or even as a profit center, providing cloud-based services to other firms.

However, a data center takes a lot of power to run. A U.S. Department of Energy study finds that data centers account for 2% of all electrical consumption in the United States. (1) That puts all your new,...

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It's a great time to be a third-party maintenance (TPM) provider, or a user of such providers. With new reports suggesting that more businesses are turning to TPM, it's time to look at just what's behind all the growth.

What's Driving Growth in the Third-Party Maintenance Field?

A combination of several reasons have produced a perfect storm of growth potential.

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For the six months hurricane season comprises, businesses remain on edge. This year especially has proven devastating and relentless. But with the right preparations and planning, the data center can offer some protection against this hypothetical, but all too possible, natural threat.

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Between the new options the Internet of Things (IoT) will provide, and the basic principles it will change, the IoT's operations will make data centers both more efficient and more effective. It won't be all sunshine and improved efficiencies, though, as there will also be challenges to the data center around this new development.

How Will the IoT Improve Data Centers?

The IoT offers an incredible potential for...

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Thanks to the steady growth of cloud-based systems, the Internet of Things, and other factors, the data center is fast becoming one of the most valuable parts of a business. It also has many businesses thinking about expansion -- but where to expand is the operative question. Some locations are better than others, so it's important to keep the following considerations in mind.

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The Internet of Things (IoT) represents major changes in technology, altering the landscape in ways we can't fully understand as yet. The data center in particular is impacted by these changes, and will face both benefits and challenges as proliferation of the IoT continues. Here's what's ahead for the data center in the new world of the IoT.

The Internet of Things Brings Benefits

The IoT will create value for the...

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Looking closely at data warehousing reveals a wealth of new possibilities and potential concerns. Knowing not only what it is but what you need for it is vital to getting the most out of data warehousing.

What Is Data Warehousing?

Data warehousing is the practice of storing a business's data in one central location. A data warehouse can't just...

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Think your hardware has reached end of life (EOL) because the OEM says so? Think again. Not all hardware that appears to be facing EOL actually is. Third-party maintenance is a possible solution for hardware that seems to have reached its end.

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Data centers are a vital, yet new, part of everyday business operations. That means they're not often completely understood, even by CIOs who are expected to know the most. Three simple points can help form a basic understanding of the data center.

What Can Data Centers Do?

CIOs need to understand just what a data center can do in order to get the most out of it.

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Being ecologically aware and environmentally sound is, increasingly, good business practice. Environmental awareness can actually be a cost-saving measure which means bigger bottom-line impact.

One of the biggest potential cost savings points on power use is your data center. Once you've got a handle on the why and how of greening up your data center, a clear path should open up that provides community goodwill, an improved chance of...

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Those who keep a watch on the Internet of Things (IoT) know this technology is going to shake things up for everything from households to cities. The data center won't be exempt from these changes either, as the sheer potential depth of the IoT will rise to the point where nothing can remain static when touched by it. So what's in the data center's future?

A Greater Need for Protection

Protection in the data...

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Gartner is an internationally-recognized technology analysis firm, and its Magic Quadrant study is routinely cited as a bellwether of technological progress. Recently, EmconIT was on the receiving end of an honor from Gartner, having been included in its report on third-party maintenance.

What Did Gartner Say About Third-Party Maintenance?

The Gartner report--titled "...

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Some days it seems like everything's in the cloud. Cloud-based services for everything from voice to conferencing and beyond can be picked up from someone else's servers, and someone else's data center. It would be easy to think that no one really needs a data center any more. Sometimes, however, a data center can be the most valuable asset a company has.

The Cloud Has to Come From Somewhere

For any business with...

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Most of us don’t have to worry about a sudden surge in traffic that will bring down our servers. However, when it comes to data, we know it’s accumulating at a much faster rate than many experts expected – and we need to plan around our data center storage needs well into the future.

The downside of not having a strategy in place for data storage is that you’re going to experience performance problems if a capacity issue happens at some...

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It doesn’t matter what caused it – if you experience a data migration mishap, your reputation may be affected. Whether a massive hurricane swept through and wiped you out or malicious malware got to your data, the results are undesirable. When it comes to data center migration, what can you do to protect your data and your...

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A server is a central component of your infrastructure, and choosing one can be daunting. If your workload tends to be seasonal or varied or if you have some applications that have migrated to the cloud, your the choice is even more complex.

There are some considerations that can help streamline your decision-making process and lead you to a server choice that works for your company now, but also in the future:

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The increase in migration to the cloud and the accompanying shift to paying for technology investments “as a service” is changing the outlook for how IT is structured and staffed -- including changes for your data center. Everything from software to platforms and infrastructure is being sold as a service, and soon it may be possible for your company to adopt an Everything as a Service (XaaS) structure for your technology needs.

How will...

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When you're faced with End of Service Life (EOSL) hardware, data center costs can seem astronomical. Fortunately, there's a solution: utilizing a third-party maintenance (TPM) provider. TPM providers allow businesses to effectively ignore the EOSL condition -- and more.

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Data centers are perceived as meccas of constant uptime, housing the most mission-critical applications. In reality, data centers are vulnerable to a variety of threats.

There are many ways a data center can fail: power outage, halted cooling, broken equipment, underground cable disruption, natural disasters, and, increasingly, cybercrime. It only takes one incident to cause an outage for your business.

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Not all colocation facilities are created equally, but most of them offer greater stability than hosting equipment on-site. If you are considering colocating, there are a few compelling reasons to do it.

Security - Your average office building is not equipped with the same level of physical perimeter security that you will find in a data center. Data centers are built with the intent to protect millions of dollars of customer...

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The data center is a major part of everyday operations for many firms and helps provide a slate of vital services, from analysis to customer experience measures and beyond. Thankfully, there are some simple methods to consider that might keep your data center running just a little more smoothly.

Focus on the Power

The data center isn't going anywhere without the necessary kilowatts to drive the network equipment,...

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Most every business needs a certain amount of hardware in order to continue operations. Whether it's a handful of desktop PCs or a complete data center, that hardware helps perform the functions that translate to profitability. Turning to a third-party hardware maintenance system could mean the difference between a system that runs smoothly and one that costs future opportunity.

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Obsolescence is a fact of life. Every piece of hardware that rolls off an assembly line today will eventually reach its End of Service Life (EOSL) date. While most have accounted for this possibility mentally, it can still be a bit of sticker shock to find that a system that was running quietly for precious little incremental cost suddenly needs to be replaced for heavy cash. So what can a business do with hardware when EOSL arrives? There...

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When setting up a data center, there are generally three ways to establish it: it can be done totally on-premises, it can be done totally in the cloud -- which some call a hosted data center -- or it can be done as a mix of the two. Many see this hybrid cloud approach as optimal. Others, however, aren't so sure. Though opinions are split, there's little doubt this approach is having a major impact on the data center as we know...

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Trying to replace a data center can be a costly process, but some comparatively simple maintenance measures can help prevent sticker shock.

With so many demands on a business's budget, it would be tempting to just let some basic maintenance issues slide, particularly in the data center. (If it's not broken, why fix it?) Some very simple answers exist on this point, though, so for anyone wondering why bothering to get more life out of...

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A third-party hosted data center has its drawbacks, but there's also value to be found in using third parties for data center work.

If you want a job done right, the old saying goes, do it yourself. There's certainly truth to this concept, especially when it comes to a data center. Some, however, are finding benefit in handing the reins over to someone else. The reasons behind doing so make surprising bottom-line sense.

The Nature...

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Cloud computing adoption is one of the best ways to maximize the benefits of a data center. The cloud is a valuable resource for maintaining a data center and consolidating its initiatives. This, along with its financial benefits, is why many organizations are incorporating cloud computing in the management of their data centers.

Cloud Computing and Data Center Efficiency

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Some might think that trying to compare data center colocation to Shakespeare might be a bridge too far, but it's not too far wrong. Oddly, it describes exactly the issues that users will face when considering whether or not to colocate a data center or maintain one internally. The answer to the question is, as is commonly the case, it depends.

To Colocate

Cost...

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Relocating a data center goes beyond moving servers and installing them at a new location. It is a complex and challenging endeavor that requires caution to avoid losing critical data or damaging expensive IT equipment. When undertaking this exercise, keep in mind that a functional data center is a business necessity -- not a luxury.

According to the AFCOM Data Center, 53% of American firms will either expand or relocate their data...

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