Cloud computing simply means that you put your programs and data onto a rented server and keep it in a hosting centre, not on your own premises.
Why Move to the cloud then?
Cloud is not for everyone.
Some businesses need local files because of interfaces to manufacturing machines, lathes etc. In this situation the interface between server and machine needs to be as short as possible and it may not be capable of transfer to the cloud.
Some businesses want to keep the same hardware for longer periods, either because of a local investment policy or because critical software is tied to older operating systems.
In this case cloud may not be for you.
Benefits of moving to the Cloud
If the key driver is to find up to date systems with hardware that is easily expanded and always fit for your business then cloud may well be for you
- Servers last longest when they operate at a fixed and fairly low temperature (around 19 degrees). Because temperature is fixed, parts don’t expand / contract and so don’t work loose. This simply means they last longer and are more reliable. However the cost of air conditioning is high for most businesses and so it gets ignored.
Hosting centres provide fixed temperature racks with intelligent air con. They reduce costs by recirculating heat into their office space and by economy of scale they can provide the service needed to keep your server reliable without the high cost.
- All connectivity will go wrong one day, probably because of road works or other manual intervention. This means that you will inevitably suffer from an internet outage at some point.
The way to make sure your system stays running is to install multiple lines that connect down different roads, or even using wireless, however the cost is prohibitive.
Again through economy of scale hosting centres can provide diverse connection, often with half a dozen connections to the once centre.
- There is a view that security is higher if the server is on your own site, managed by your own staff. However your own staff work in your own industry and therefore see the data as valuable. Data theft is a real possibility. In comparison, data centre staff are surrounded by data of all types. They are only interested in one thing, making a data centre as reliable as possible. The risk of data theft is lower.
There will be a service level agreement in place guaranteeing the level of AntiVirus and AntiSpam protection in place, the frequency of backups and the amount of time data is retained.
This means that the data centre will manage the protection properly and have procedures in place to ensure that your system stays running. These same procedures mean that if and when the inevitable happens, the your network is also recoverable.
- Cloud servers are normally built using virtualisation. This means that there will be a small number of physical servers connected to a shared disk(s). The servers you connect to will be virtual servers running on those physical servers. The benefit is that if a physical server needs repairing or upgrading then the virtual server can be moved even when while it is running. Users wont notice anything.
If you need more disk space, memory or processor power then it can be allocated dynamically.
Cost truly reflects your requirements and you don’t have to take into account future growth! You only pay for what you need rather than the full capacity of the physical servers.
So the Cloud model delivers flexibility and manages a balance of cost against usage. The on premises model means that you need sufficient capacity and licensing from the start.
The best way to decide is to speak to one of our consultants to discuss the pros and cons before making a decision.