The direction of the hosting market

Gartmer Evolution of the data centre

Blue Chip’s market research suggests that over the next three to five years there will be continued development of Data Centre and Hosting Facilities with increasing emphasis on external hosting by end-user organisations.

This will be partly driven by the need across all market sectors for improved facilities availability and resilience, which often demands significant investment for most organisations. Hence an increasing willingness to look outside for infrastructure that can meet the demands being placed on the server and storage infrastructure itself.

The move towards Cloud Computing and the Virtualisation of converged infrastructures will also continue but many organisations, especially with the economic challenges of the last three to four years, cannot justify the expenditure to buy themselves into the flexible infrastructures that provide expanded computing resource as and when required at to match changes in business demand. This opens up many more opportunities to service providers such as Blue Chip, which as described below, is evolving itself and the product offerings to keep ahead of the market direction.

Many medium to large organisations have now achieved or planned some level increased flexibility and/or cost savings through consolidation and virtualisation, so the next stage in this flexible demand-driven evolution is to utilise infrastructures and services whereby the cost can be directly related back to business demand or volume changes. This is particularly important where demand and hence cost increases, and again drives looking externally for the provision of IT resource. The chart from Gartner below reflects Blue Chip’s analysis:

Source: www.gartner.com

The availability of the IBM® iSeries® IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service) platform in 2011 places Blue Chip in a market-leading position for Hardware Infrastructure Providers providing cost-effective utility-based “pay as you go” services across more technologies than most other providers. Recognising the market and competition do not ‘stand still’, Blue Chip is planning the next enhancements to IaaS with potential for an AIX® Server on Demand offering to be launched in 2012.

In the same manner, as hardware is now a commodity compared to 5 years ago, a number of software environments are also moving in that direction, with a number of widely used applications such as Microsoft Exchange available on a Software as a Service (SaaS) basis in the marketplace.

Whilst Blue Chip is monitoring the market and customer base for demand in such services, and will react as required, it is also focussing on partnerships with a number Independent Software Vendors (ISVs) to support them in the development and release of SaaS offerings for their applications, building upon Blue Chip’s expertise in IaaS and recognising that both software vendors and customers alike wish to remove unpredictable expenditure and/or revenue peaks in their finances.

Additionally, Blue Chip is not leaving behind its traditional offerings in Hardware Maintenance and Disaster Recovery, adding optional features to the former that are not available from our main competitors, and recognising the increasing need for improved system availability, by investing in new products and partnerships for Data Availability.

A focus area with Data Availability is enabling customers to remove the constraints imposed by having to perform regular backups and to have a complete second infrastructure in place for High Availability.

Blue Chip Continuous Data Protection (CDP) allows customers to have both local recovery from server failures in minutes with restore from backups, as well as having data replicated offsite to Blue Chip, and able to be presented to servers supplied only on disaster recovery invocation. The CDP offering is designed to provide high availability at a cost in between that of traditional restore from backup solutions and high end duplicated infrastructures.

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