AIPs Shift Focus to Data Centers

Avasta, Loudcloud act as MSPs, offering outsourcing services for management of customer apps

Despite consolidation in the nascent MSP market, more AIPs are labeling themselves as management service providers and shifting gears to provide management of applications at remote sites.

Avasta Inc. next week will put in place a necessary component to its new RemoteServ application management service in the latest release of its MyAvasta customer portal.

MyAvasta 2.0 provides a view into the RemoteServ application management offering and gives customers real-time views of the health of their applications as well as control over the service.

Avasta is joining high-profile Loudcloud Inc., of Sunnyvale, Calif., in offering more flexible outsourcing services for managing customers applications—within the customers own glass house.

"This is an attempt to go after business where you have a more stable customer base. The place to go is the enterprise data center," said Gartner Inc. analyst Mark Nicolett of the reason behind the shift. "But the AIPs [application infrastructure providers] have built their offerings on a very structured environment. When you move from that to an existing data center, theres a lot more variation in whats being monitored and managed, and so its more complex. Its also a different political environment," said Nicolett, in Stamford, Conn.

Avasta initially targeted application service providers, very high-end e-businesses and small to medium-size enterprises with its FullServ offering, housed at Exodus Communications Inc.s Internet Data Center, in Santa Clara, Calif.

In shifting its focus to Fortune 1000 enterprise data centers, Avasta is taking a Willie Sutton stand, according to acting CEO and President Philip Bouchard, in San Francisco. "Thats where the money is. Enterprises are not going to outsource their entire physical infrastructure that theyve already financed and are still depreciating—its not a good investment for them," Bouchard said.

Although the types of applications that Avasta manages for enterprises—Oracle Corp., PeopleSoft Inc., Siebel Systems Inc. and J.D. Edwards & Co.—are considered strategic, Avasta said it believes that it has a compelling pitch for outsourcing management of those applications.

"With MyAvasta, we provide a transparent look into the performance of their own applications better than they can do themselves. Internal IT groups dont have development resources for platforms to make their IT operations more efficient," Bouchard said.

Loudclouds own about-face, announced earlier this month, goes even further in offering greater flexibility of application management options. Customers can buy the whole suite of outsourced application management services, or they can pick from a menu of service options, officials said. They include monitoring and reporting services; risk management services; application and database support services; and consulting services. Loudclouds application management service focuses on Web applications.