Have you considered Cloud processing? There are significant benefits

by Frank 6. May 2012 06:00

Most of us have probably become more than a little numbed to the onslaught of Cloud advertising and the promotion of the ‘Cloud’ as the salvation for everyone and the panacea for everything. The Cloud is promoted by its aggrandizers as being both omnipotent and omniscient; both qualities I only previously associated with God.

This is not to say that moving business processing to the Cloud is not a good thing; it certainly is. I just wish that the promoters would tone down the ‘sell’ and clearly explain the benefits and advantages without the super-hype.

Those of us with long memories clearly recall the early hype about what was then called ASP or Application Service Processing or even Application Service Provider. This was the early progenitor of the Cloud and despite massive hype it did not fly. The reasons were simple, neither the technology nor the software (application and system) were up to the job. Great idea, pity it was about five years before its time.

Unfortunately, super-hype in our industry is usually associated with immature and unproven technology. Wiser, older people nod sagely and then wait a few years for the technology to catch up with the promises.

As an older (definitely) and wiser (hopefully) person I am now ready to accept that all the technology required for successful and secure Cloud processing is now available and proven; albeit being ‘improved’ all the time so still take care not to rush in with experimental technology.

As with many new technologies the secret is KISS; Keep It Simple Stupid. If it seems too complex then it is too complex. If the sales person can’t answer all of your questions clearly and unambiguously then walk away.

Most importantly, make sure you know all about all of the parties involved in the transaction. For example:

1.    What is the name of the data centre?

2.    Where is it located?

3.    Who ‘owns’ the rack and equipment and software at the data centre?

4.    What are the redundant features?

5.    What are the backup and recovery options?

6.    Is your vendor the owner of the co-hosted facility or do they subcontract to someone else? If they sub-contract is the company they subcontract to the owner or are they too just part of a chain of ‘hidden’ middle-men? It is critical for you to understand this chain of responsibility because if something goes wrong you need to know who to chase.

There are a lot more questions you need to ask but this Blog isn’t the place to list them all. I am sure your IT team and application owners will come up with plenty more. If they don’t, wake them up and demand questions.

Most small to medium organizations today simply do not have the time or expertise to run a computer room and manage and maintain a rack of servers. There is also a dearth of ‘real’ expertise and a plethora of phonies out there so hiring someone who is actually smart enough to manage your critical infrastructure is a very difficult exercise made more so by most business owners and managers simply not understanding the requirements or technology. It often becomes a case of the blind hiring the almost blind.

Most small to medium enterprises also cannot afford the redundancy required to ensure a stable and reliable infrastructure. A fifteen minute UPS is no substitute for a redundant bank of diesel generators and a guaranteed clean power supply.

Why should small to medium enterprises have to buy servers and networks and IT support? It isn’t part of their core business and this stuff should not be weighing down the balance sheet. Why should they be devoting scarce and expensive management time to activities that are not part of their core business?

In-house computer rooms will soon be become as rare as dinosaurs and this is how it should be, they are an anachronism in this time and age; out of time and out of place.

All smart and business savvy small to medium organizations should be planning to progressively move all their processing to the Cloud so as to lower costs, improve service levels and reduce management stress. I say progressively because it is still wise to get wet slowly and to take little steps. Just like with your first two-wheel bicycle, it pays to practice with the training wheels on first. That way, you usually avoid those painful falls.

I like to think I am a little wiser because I still have scars from gravel rash when I was a kid. I am moving my RecFind 6 customers to the Cloud and I am moving my in-house processing to the Cloud but just like you, I am doing it slowly and carefully and triple-checking every aspect. I don’t take risks with my customers or my business and neither should you.

One last thing, I have the advantage of being very IT literate and of having a top IT team working for me so we have the in-house expertise required to correctly evaluate and select the most appropriate technology and options. If you do not have this level of in-house IT expertise then please take extra care and try to find someone to assist who does have the level of IT knowledge required. Once you sign up, it is too late. Buyer’s remorse is not a solution to any problem.

Comments (1) -

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