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Entries in Cloud (1)

Monday
Jan162012

Have you considered the Cloud?

I’ve been in and around data centers my whole life.  My first job “in the business” was as the “3 until the work is done” computer operator for a large amusement park.  For years and years, the accepted norm was for companies to house their own data centers.

I’m a full convert now.  Unless a company’s needs are for large (over twenty thousand square feet) or ultra-secure data centers, using a co-lo or managed services provider makes imminent sense.  We’ve previously covered how to select a co-lo provider and we’ve helped many organizations with evaluation, selection and migration to co-lo.

Simply put, the facilities capital costs for smaller data center needs are often cost prohibitive.  Frankly, the bottom line is organizations should better use those funds for providing increased value.

Often organizations move an existing data center into the co-location facility.

If an organization is doing a co-location play, and buying new equipment for the co-lo, we ask, “Have you considered the Cloud?”  Often the answer is NO…and it’s time organizations open their minds to the “Cloud.”

Cloud computing is the delivery of computing as a service where shared resources, software, and information are provided as a metered service over a network (often the Internet). 

The “Cloud” is made up of industry standard components (although some high end cloud providers do their own hardware designs.)   The “Secret Sauce” is in the provisioning software providing the ability to spin up an instance and billing.

As an example, take NaviSite, a Time Warner Cable provider of cloud services.

 

Source : http://www.navisite.com/technology-navicloud-platform-architecture.htm

 

As another example, Access Northeast provides a base level of cloud support:

 

Source http://www.accessnortheast.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/SecureCloudBack3.pdf

Again, industry standard components.

We see a cloud as an excellent vehicle for an organization to buy services as needed, quickly deploying,  and without large technical staffs.

The same can be said of Managed Services.  If your organization is going to do an Exchange 2010 migration, why not migrate to a professionally managed external service?  Companies offering managed services think about service and support models much differently than individual organizations because of scope and mass. 

The key to understanding the use of external providers is making sure your company understands the risk associated with providers and makes detailed evaluations.  Two guys in a garage can, in theory, spin up a cloud offering without the kind of infrastructure behind them we would expect.  Often, third party services can be used in evaluating alternatives, understanding the contractual implications, and assisting in the migration.

At Harvard Partners, we have no technical staff whatsoever, yet have fully supported phones, Exchange, web hosting and the like.  We fully leverage external services. 

The only thing I wish we had was occasional deskside support.  I have a nice new laptop sitting in a box yet continue using my older underpowered laptop as I just simply don’t choose to take the time to migrate. 

Take the time to challenge your organization’s technology paradigm!  You may find you are able to do things better, faster AND cheaper.