Seek CIO sees outsourced hosting trend

Summary:Web-based jobs directory Seek's decision to outsource a critical aspect of its infrastructure reflects a wider trend towards greater maturity on the part of online businesses, according to the organisation's chief information officer. "I think online businesses are maturing," Tam Vu told ZDNet Australia in the wake of Monday's announcement of his company's three-year deal with managed service provider Hostworks.

Web-based jobs directory Seek's decision to outsource a critical aspect of its infrastructure reflects a wider trend towards greater maturity on the part of online businesses, according to the organisation's chief information officer.

"I think online businesses are maturing," Tam Vu told ZDNet Australia in the wake of Monday's announcement of his company's three-year deal with managed service provider Hostworks. Seek's infrastructure was previously hosted by a telco and managed by in-house staff.

"Online businesses therefore need to think about their core business, and why are they in business," the veteran of 16 years in the IT industry and former CIO of BP's global retail business added. Vu took up the Seek position in February of 2005.

"I think it would be fair to say for the successful online businesses, at the end of the day it's about delivering against their business strategy, and I think the days of these online businesses having to operate their own Web site as well is going to diminish," Vu said. "Because as I said there are vendors out there who can do this very well and can do this very cost-effectively".

That theory lay at the heart of Seek's move.

"For us, the reason why we wanted to partner with Hostworks, was to ensure that we focus on the business strategy, delivering that, and not having to worry about running and operating hardware and software," said Vu.

Seek's own outsourcing process will take place over the next three months, with the assistance of Vu's approximately 40 IT staff -- all of whom will keep their jobs.

Seek is a Microsoft shop using .NET infrastructure. The company's hasn't made a "strategic choice" on a hardware vendor, according to Vu.

"Hardware is something I think that Hostworks will recommend to us," he said.

One of the key elements of the Hostworks deal will be Seek's move to a so-called "N" state of disaster recovery.

"The N state for us obviously means having a fully operational [backup] site, so that if something should happen to our production environment, then we'll automatically switch over," said Vu.

The CIO declined to reveal which other vendors were in contention for his company's business, instead reiterating why Hostworks was chosen.

As a young company like Seek, Hostworks was a cultural match, he said, and also had a proven track record hosting large sites like ninemsn and Ticketek.

"Thirdly I think the way that they operate, and the way that they work, is aligned with how we do things as well," he said.

Vu added that Hostworks was "very cost-competitive", but noted cost was definitely not Seek's number one driver.

Topics: Outsourcing, Big Data, Microsoft, Software Development

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