Competition in the growing systems infrastructure services market is set to intensify with Auckland-based Hosted Data Services aiming to tackle Telecom and international services companies.The 40-employee firm, formerly known as Hitachi Data Systems, is introducing a raft of new services, says head Roger Cockayne (pictured).
HDS will expand beyond its data-hosting services to offer infrastructure for needs ranging from centralised computer operations, to provision of data storage and remote monitoring services. Cockayne says “all the processes to run a data centre — change management, capacity management, security” will be on offer.
Cockayne says such outsourcing of services to HDS has the appeal of reducing an IT department’s capital costs.
Market analyst IDC says HDS will be competing with established service providers such as Telecom, and possibly HP.
IDC services analyst Mark Cribbens says “resource issues” are driving New Zealand firms towards infrastructure providers.
The company estimates the systems infrastructure service provider market was worth $25.1 million in New Zealand in 2001, growing to $33.2 million last year and it will reach $43.2 million this year. By 2006, the market should be worth more than $70 million.
Cribbens says firms will be seeking such services through a pipeline, or by a utility model, so they do not have to worry about owning hardware or infrastructure.
Smaller firms will be saved the trouble of thinking about IT issues, so they can concentrate on their core activities, while larger firms can take a more strategic view.
A “one-to-many model” of smaller firms buying services from a larger provider would offer economies of scale, he says.
Cribbens says the market for these services will be “good and fast growing”, but HP, Unisys and IBM are also wanting a share. HP has acquired Compaq and various data centres and Telecom was also “gearing up in a new way”.
The marketing manager for Telecom’s advanced solutions group, Ingrid Cronin-Knight, says the company is providing the kinds of services HDS wants to start offering. They include firewalls, network intrusion detection and email and web use remote monitoring, and a range of Microsoft-hosted services.
Telecom is targeting large customers, but services are being developed for smaller businesses with less complex requirements.
“For example, if a customer wanted to outsource their Microsoft Exchange servers or their file servers to Telecom, we would provide that service at an agreed price, to an agreed SLA [service level agreement]. Telecom would take care of all the technology involved in providing that service to the customer, including data networking, LAN switching, routers, servers and licensing and operational support services,” Cronin-Knight says.