Enterprises Stay on Course with Managed Services

Outsourcing sections of IT infrastructure that are difficult to maintain or require expensive manpower and constant vigilance has become more common as enterprises with unwieldy corporate structures look to focus on core competencies and steer towards top-line revenue, rather than getting blown off course by stormy back-end operations requirements. Managed services and the need to take complexity and risk out of enterprise telecom are the subjects of todays panel.

Peter Juffernholz, director of business development for managed network solutions for the Americas at T-Systems North America; Boyd Chastant, director of business development for OnFiber Communications; and Tony Tomae, senior vice president of marketing for WilTel Communications Group Inc., will join session leader Kate Gerwig, principal analyst of network services, Current Analysis Inc., for the discussion.

Budgets are tight and IT staff is critical, says Tomae. Most enterprises want to apply what they have to other things besides managing routers and network security.

Chastant says several drivers are creating a perfect storm for managed services, including a need to build out business-continuity and disaster-recovery solutions in the wake of 9/11, convergence to a single infrastructure for voice and data, which requires a higher level of standardization and reliability, and the need for video, packet and content solutions that are reliable and performance-intensive.

The focus is on Layer 2 and below of the OSI stack, he says. Basically, how do I ensure connectivity services? Well, with end-to-end monitoring, ongoing maintenance and guarantees of performance [from the service provider], all of which is easier and more cost-effective in a managed solution, he adds.

WilTel offers professional services that include upfront consultation, network design, installation, and end-to-end management, monitoring and maintenance. The managed services portfolio includes firewall and intrusion detection systems, customer premise equipment and custom managed solutions for private networks around specific application needs. Meanwhile, T-Systems offer is packaged around applications and include managed voice, IP VPNs, storage and hosting solutions, along with systems integration and custom solutions.

T-Systems Juffernholz says finding the right mix of outsourced and in-house functions depends on the customer requirements, stressing the need for diversity in the managed services space. Theres a necessity for carriers to go beyond network services and up the value chain into applications and special communications solutions, he says.

OnFibers Chastant says his companys focus has been bringing regional managed services to enterprise, so he will go through several case studies that examine high-capacity, customized designs and how metro solutions can interact with long-haul networks.

Well talk a bit about partnerships, says Juffernholz. No one has a true global network so how do you tie those apps in across interconnections?

The border between customer and carrier is equally important.

There will be a healthy discussion around internetworking, predicts Tomae of the panel. Ethernet is becoming a more popular standard, and where the service providers leave off and your control begins that border contains options.

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