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The role of the traditional outsourcer is dead

I work at a large enterprise client who has outsourced their IT estate: the outsourcer has taken on the client’s datacentres and operates the server estate, charging per server.

The outsourcer is possibly worse than others I’ve seen at other clients, but not remarkably so.

The server estate is a mixture of Wintel and Linux; the Wintel estate is a mix mainly of Windows 2003 and increasingly Windows 2008. There is still a stubborn Windows 2000 footprint. All new windows servers are built on Windows 2008. Again, there’s nothing unremarkable in that.

It will probably take another 2-3 years to remove all Windows 2000 and Windows 2003 instances, based on a mixture of active refresh and natural retirement/replacement, and it will probably take a specific request from the client, followed by at least 12 months of (chargeable) effort before the outsourcer even has a Windows 2012 image available. Contrast that with Amazon’s recent announcement that Windows 2012 is now available on general release, at the same price as the older versions.

Perhaps the cloud isn’t for everyone, but if you’ve already outsourced your datacentre and infrastructure, and are struggling with poor service and laborious processes, the cloud looks tempting now, and you can be sure that when contract renewal time comes around, unless your outsourcer has evolved, cloud providers will look even more attractive.