For larger businesses, where its their phone system, web site, or any other applications their is very little reason to not leverage online applications.
On premise servers are great and have their place but moving to the cloud is best for most businesses.
As part of a sponsored project with Rackspace, one of the leaders in online solutions I’ve asked Joseph Palumbo, Team Lead – Managed Cloud Technical Account Managers at Rackspace Hosting to give us some deep dive insight into cloud computing solutions.
As a bonus to this article check out the very neat Rackspace – Managed Cloud Infographic that shows how your web site benefits from being manged by professionals in the cloud.
Most businesses already know about the cost savings available by moving data storage and management into the cloud. But there are other substantial advantages that particularly benefit SMBs and start-ups, some of them quite inventive. These include rapid deployment of new IT, the ability to scale up and down quickly and cheaply, a superior IT architecture that’s easy to use, and rapid, tailored troubleshooting and remediation.
Cloud-based storage management is, of course, less expensive than conventional IT, because you only pay for the capacity you use, and it eliminates the expense of buying, installing and maintaining software and hardware in-house. That can be a big factor for a small or start-up company, because it shifts expenses from capital expenditure to ongoing overheads.
However, the other compelling advantages to utilizing cloud-based managed IT services can put more black ink on your balance sheet, and give greater peace of mind.
First off, adopting cloud services means harried senior executives who already have to juggle multiple roles – marketing, financial, human resources, strategic and tactical – can significantly reduce the amount of time they must devote to serving as IT manager. Placing the bulk of responsibility for keeping data traffic flowing and Web sites fully functional into the hands of experts dedicated to doing just that also frees up the time of your in-house IT staff to focus on core tasks, boosting productivity.
Cloud computing also unleashes creativity, because it empowers employees at every level of a company to unilaterally deploy powerful software tools and resources to do their jobs better and cheaper. Employees today are taking matters into their own hands by launching websites, applications and other tools quickly and inexpensively as they need them to get more done. This power is unleashing a creative spirit for the frontline employee that will transform many businesses.
NO BREAKS ON COMPANY GROWTH
On a more practical note, cloud services won’t get in the way if there’s fast or unpredictable growth. Because you’re not limited by the size of in-house servers, there’s no headache if your business grows. You won’t need to install a whole new data management system to keep up – the managed services grow with you. The capacity is simply there when you need it, ready to use. Cloud services are particularly well-suited to the kind of dramatic, temporary spikes in traffic that can happen. One mention of a company’s product or service on a primetime TV show, and a Web site can suddenly get pounded with traffic. With inadequate computational resources, the site will crash, missing the opportunity of a lifetime. With conventional IT, a human being would literally have to run across the data center floor, find your server in the rack, unrack it, make sure you had enough RAM, and physically adjust it. With cloud, the same changes could be as simple as making a scripting call to your processor to add the needed extra processing power. We’re talking about the difference between hours and minutes for significant architectural upgrades or adjustments to cope with changing traffic conditions. And the beauty of it is, of course, once the spike is over, you can go back to the capabilities you had before. You haven’t had to invest in a permanent solution for a temporary problem.
For the same reasons, getting up and running with cloud tends to be fast, too; it’s faster to adopt than internally-managed IT, because the infrastructure is already built, and is managed by dedicated experts who know how to plug you in.
But it’s in problem solving that managed cloud computing really comes into its own. Say you’re running a retail Web site and one of the product pages is giving visitors an error message. The rest of the site is running fine, and producing revenue, so you don’t want to take the whole site offline while you figure out a fix.
Using the ability to temporarily access massive amounts of extra data-processing power in the cloud, the managed services support team can build an exact mirror of your current site in the cloud, and without affecting the “real” site, try out various fixes for the problem to find out which works best and will result in the absolute least down time. This is crucial, because Web sites are usually extremely complex, and there are a number of different potential options for identifying and correcting a blockage. Your partially functioning Web site is still running, still producing revenue while the support team works their way through the options.
Then, when the support engineers have figured out how to fix the “mirror” site, they can turn to the actual site, take it offline for the minimum amount of time while they make the necessary changes, and return it to 100 percent working order. Another advantage for organizations that have a small technology team is that the “mirror” option is a tremendously adaptive and critical training tool and will ultimately generate more confidence and targeted knowledge for later planning and deployments.
ADVANCED RESOURCE ALLOCATION
Another way cloud-based managed services allow small and start-up companies to punch above their weight in IT sophistication is by providing the opportunity to spread data storage and management over several different servers, so that even if one goes down, another can take up the slack, and the effect on the business will be minimal or even unnoticeable. Also, by distributing the burden of traffic across multiple nodes, you’re mitigating the risk of shared resources. Of course, with managed cloud, you have guaranteed resources, such as virtual RAM and processing power, but there are shared resources such as disk input/output (I/O) and network throughput. A good analogy would be, if you bought a Corvette, you’re guaranteed that level of speed and performance on the open road. Nobody can take that away from you because it’s under your hood. But you cannot control the need to pass through a busy intersection or run into highway congestion. By spreading data handling out on multiple host machines, you’re less likely to get “caught in traffic”. For a small or start-up business, Website downtime can be a make-or-break issue. Cloud-based managed services reduce that risk to practically zero.
In all, based on this compelling array of proven benefits for the SMB and start-up market, most analysts predict a significant uptick in cloud adoption in this sector of the business community. The rate of new start-ups is beginning to accelerate again as we pull out of the recession. In the years ahead, start-ups will turn to managed cloud solutions at an increasing rate, as they look for smarter, cost-effective ways to manage their IT infrastructure.
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