With the piles of data that most companies are accumulating at a rapid clip and increasingly strict regulations on how it must be handled, storage and management are becoming hassles that many companies are happy to foist on someone else.
A recent TheInfoPro survey found that nearly 20 percent of Fortune 1000 outsource at least some aspects of their data storage activities. For example, 42 percent of survey respondents outsource archiving of e-mails, while about a third of them outsource daily backup duties.
Outsourcing is resulting in big savings for some companies. The UK's National Housing Federation, for example, saves about $14,600 a year by outsourcing its data backup to an outside provider.
The outsourcing strategy works especially well if companies also utilize tools to help tame data before turning it over to a services provider. Cisco used tools to identify over-allocation of storage, and offered cash incentives to database administrators who allocated fewer bytes to storage. Doing so helped it recover nearly $2 million in storage costs.
Outsourcing also makes companies more confident about business continuity. Respondents to an IDC survey said they could increase system availability by nearly 50 percent by hosting certain parts of their storage infrastructure.