Neil Barton

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

The rise of the Server IMAC

The acronyms MAC, IMAC, and MACD all refer to Moves, Adds, Changes, Installs, or Deletes of computers from an estate.

It's been a growing trend for five years to see desktop outsourcing contracts price IMACs seperately from ongoing desktop support services. Desktop IMACs are one of the few IT services which cannot be automated or off-shored. You need to visit the user's desk, and the cost of an IMAC is therefore heavily influenced by the local labour costs at the user's location. Expect it to cost much more in Geneva than Warsaw.

Until recently it was much rarer to see server IMACs priced individually. Server IMACs used to be bundled in with the price for ongoing server management, since servers are much more likely to be located in one or two central locations, and are rarely moved after their initial installation.

Heavy virtualisation and cloud technologies are changing this. Now a virtual server instance may be added in one month and removed in the next. You can't guarantee that a server OS instance will continue in operation for a full refresh period of 48 or 60 months, so it's not possible to spread the cost of the server Add over the ongoing server management charge. Consequently it's much more common now to see the one-time costs of setting up a new server built into a 'Server IMAC' charge payable when a virtual OS instance is created. Refresh of the underlying hardware platforms, on the other hand, is still usually built into the ongoing charges, since the timing is largely at the supplier's discretion.