Not sure if you should jump on the cloud server bandwagon? Not even sure why the cloud is so great? Considering purchasing new hardware for your on-site data closet? These are important milestones in your IT strategy for the next few years, so don’t rush them.
Start off by thinking about what the cloud is and isn’t. To put it simply, the cloud is an application that is not hosted at your site. The cloud isn’t a magical fix-all for all problems. Some servers and applications are good candidates for cloud implantation while others are not.
There are many benefits of migrating and upgrading on-site servers to cloud servers. We at North Atlantic Networks (NAN) have taken the time to put together a list of some of the most important factors to consider when deciding: To Cloud or Not to Cloud?
- The Network – this is an often overlooked but important factor when considering cloud deployment. How will you connect to and use your servers? Redundant VPN tunnels, private MPLS links, or public connectivity? There is a lot to consider. Does your application require Layer 2 connectivity to the end users? If you’re not a networking expert look to your cloud vendor to see what kind of networking support they can offer. Here at NAN, we can design fully redundant cloud networking solutions to ensure your connection to the cloud is never compromised. How you connect to the cloud is just as important as what you put in the cloud!
- Your Current Data Closet Stability – if you currently have an on-site datacenter and are not in a high-end collocation facility, then this can be a no brainer. A reputable cloud provider will have your cloud servers stored in a SSAE16 Secured facility. At NAN our IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service) is hosted in a collocation facility that has biometric access, redundant power, generators, cooling, cabinets, and is staffed and monitored 24x7x365. The servers in the datacenter are fully supported with spare hardware on hand. Can you say that about your on-site data closet?
- Operational Agility – One of the largest benefits of cloud and IaaS is you can spin up a new server quickly. Need that server backed up? Just add it to the backup job. Need Security software? Just add the server – no agent required. This means you can provision new servers, new services, and expand capacity within an afternoon, without the need to create a lengthy hardware procurement and maintenance schedule.
- The Application – Not all servers and workloads are right for the cloud. Be sure your cloud provider considers your needs and understands your environment before you move to the cloud. The cloud is great, but if you have an extremely performance hungry server, those are best left on physical servers. However, don’t dismiss the cloud entirely for that workload. The cloud can be a great temporary place for that server during a DR (disaster recovery) Or if you are hosting that server on site, you may want to consider putting it in a collocation facility so you can take advantage of the stability of collocation facilities while keeping it dedicated.
- Cost – Hosting servers off-site stops “surprise” IT expenses. Maybe a server failed and your company was down a full day, and you had to rush to purchase spare parts at a premium. Or maybe it’s time to add new physical servers on-site. Consider $30,000 of upfront costs for new servers and ongoing maintenance versus a few cloud servers for a few hundred per month. Reduce your capital expense budget and turn “IT” into a fixed operating expense.
- Save Time and Think Bigger – All of these advantages tie into saving your IT department time. The hardware, and all the challenges in managing, maintaining and refreshing it disappear. You can reduce IT “burnout” and turnover, one of the major causes of downtime. Let your IT staff focus on strategic initiatives instead of tactical ones.
If you think your business can benefit from any of the above technology advantages, please give NAN a call today. We would be happy to help walk you through the process of thinking about the cloud, and see if the cloud can help your business.