A word about numbers

A word about numbers

In the course of preparing this article, Image & Data Manager asked many ASPs a list of questions which we thought would help our readers figure out which provider might be the right one for them. However, we discovered that identifying a metric by which to judge the relative focus, size or scalability of ASPs was problematic at best, and misleading at worst.

As can be seen in the listing in this feature (starting on the page opposite), we asked companies to list their target markets, and some technical details which might be indicative of the nature of the business, like storage capacity and inbound bandwidth.

Neil Richardson, MD of Sydney-based ASP Managed IT, pointed out that in the modern age of hot-swappable storage media which are relatively cheap and easy to install, capacity of the data centre used to host customers' records can be a poor yardstick by which to judge an ASP.

"The storage capacity of the data centre is a metric of the capacity required by the client base," he said. "There is no theoretical limit to the storage available for a client, however we operate with an approximate tolerance of 30 per cent greater than current utilisation."

Inbound bandwidth purchased from an "upstream" Internet service provider can also be a fallacious metric, as it only applies to ASPs whose customers rely on the Internet to connect to the data centre. Many providers rely on leased lines to connect separately to each individual company, and the lines are purchased on a client-by-client basis.