Remote server management makes inroads

Managed services provider (MSP) Agiliti Inc. next week plans to begin offering remote monitoring and reporting services for servers, networks and applications located at customer sites.

The types of services being offered by St. Paul, Minn.-based Agiliti could catch on with corporate IT managers looking to lower the costs of running their IT infrastructures while maintaining ownership of their equipment.

According to Tier 1 Research Inc., a Minneapolis-based market research firm, just 3 percent of U.S. companies outsource all or parts of their IT infrastructure. Therefore, “there’s a huge opportunity” for companies such as Agiliti that offer services to a customer’s site without forcing it to move equipment, said Andy Schroepfer, president of Tier 1.

Agiliti and IBM are among the first in what Schroepfer expects to be a wave of companies to offer “facilities-free data center services” this year. “Almost every MSP in the sector has been looking at doing this,” he said.

The concept caught the attention of AHL Services Inc., an Arlington, Va.-based provider of marketing support services to Fortune 500 companies. Agiliti recently began monitoring transactions and data that cross a wide-area network hub it houses for AHL to 25 “touch points” with AHL’s customers. Now, Agiliti will begin monitoring servers located in AHL’s Twin Cities operations center.

AHL’s desire to lower its infrastructure costs while retaining ownership of its equipment played into the company’s decision to extend its relationship with Agiliti, said Mary Madryga, vice president of technology at AHL.

One of the benefits of the deal, said Madryga, is that the remote monitoring services prevent AHL from “having to invest in infrastructure across our entire client base.” She wasn’t able to quantify the monthly cost savings she anticipates through the remote services agreement with Agiliti.

Earlier this month, IBM launched a service aimed at managing Web servers that are located at customers’ premises (see story). As part of the offering, called Services Anywhere, IBM will remotely deliver a variety of managed security, monitoring and storage services. Though prices vary, the monthly fee for Services Anywhere runs about $25,000.

Pricing for Agiliti’s services starts at $50 a month per device, with increases based on the device type and service level.