What is the Cloud and why do I care? Part 3
Are you tired of the cloud blog posts yet? Well you should be, however this is the last one, promise.
A quick recap:
Cloud Category 1- Focused on ASP (Application Service Delivery) where an application is on the internet and hosted online. You use the internet to access all of your data.
Cloud Category 2- Focused Online Service Delivery. This service delivers data to you via webmail, file hosting, or spam filters.
Cloud Category 3- Is Server Hosting.
Have you seen the Charles Barkley TV Commercial about Cloud Services?
In a nutshell, this is an example of our third part of cloud delivery.
Most business have a server to perform some function within their business. This can be user management, application hosting, data hosting, print servers, remote access or email. If you have a server in your business, most likely it is for one of these reasons.
The cloud is a product which integrates servers, storage, software and networking and delivers this to your business as a service. The service can replace the need for an on-site server for your business.
Replacing a server at your business with a cloud solution requires a great deal of planning to see if the cloud will work for you. The single biggest problem we have with cloud hosting is access and speed. As I have written before about internet speeds in our area, (see the blog here), the local server at your office is connected to your computer via your local network. A server hosted in the cloud is connected to your network via an internet or dedicated connection from outside of your office.
Your internet or connection speed determines how fast you access data and process functions on your server. In essence, this controls how fast you are able to work.
Take this for an example: The business is a medical office which uses the server to store and access local digital images. You move your server to the cloud and try to use imaging from a remote server. When the server was local, you had a Gigabit connection (1 billion bits per second) to the server. When you move your server to the cloud, you connect in a VPN to the server via the internet and connect in at 5Mb (5 million bits per second) to the data. Your connection to the server is over 200 times slower than it was when the server was in your office.
Here are the pros/cons to consider with a hosted server:
PROS of cloud-based server hosting
- Less hardware on site.
- No expensive hardware replacement every 4-5 years.
- The backup is done behind the scenes.
CONS of server hosting
- The speed of connection to data is greatly reduced.
- The improvement of speed requires a faster internet or connection.
- If the internet or circuit is down, so are you.
- The cost over a five year period is typically three times higher than a physical in house server.
- Someone else holds your data.
- You share a server with other users who may be on the same server.
Here is another example: The business is an accounting office who needs to replace their application server. The application server is going to cost $10K for the hardware. The hosted cloud based server costs are $360 per month. To accommodate the cloud server, your connection speed was increased for an additional $90 more per month. Over time, the five year cost is $27K.
Are you tired of hosting your own server?
Are you ready to move your data away from your facility? Did the cleaning people accidentally hit the power cord and knock you offline for you to only find out two days later you have not been getting email?
There are options that will house your data for you. This option allows you the flexibility of moving your on-premise server to a hosting facility. The hosting facilities have redundant internet, power, and cooling to ensure you don’t experience downtime.
The hosting facilities are customizable and allow you to match the services with what you need.
I AM TOO SMALL TO NEED A SERVER
Most small businesses don’t open with a list of clients, 25 employees, solid business processes and a solid revenue stream.
A hosted application server may be something you can consider at the beginning, but keep in mind, the cost per user goes up. Each user requires more resources and bandwidth.
If you think you want to start small, a hosted server may be good for you. However, make sure the hosted server allows you the ability to transition to a local server when the time and business growth permits.
There is a buzz about the cloud and it should focus on the first two sections of the cloud offering. Hosted servers have a place in the market but may not be something for your business. With the right technology partner and hosting options, you may find this model meets your business needs.
Still need help? Just ask. IRIS Solutions is here to help.