When you think of cloud computing, there are multiple things to consider, cost and usability are two important ones, as is elasticity, load bursting, and storage when it’s needed. Those are the advertised benefits and the ones spread across the net, and they are certainly severe considerations for either using third-party cloud services or your virtualized datacenter.
But the question is, what happens after the agreements are signed, the systems are up and humming, users retrained, and then something unexpected rears its ugly head. There will always be unforeseen errors, that’s merely a fact of life in this technological age, however, think of cloud hosting and cloud computing as having benefits, that our first realize, only discovered when the going gets tough.
Over the past few years, as cloud computing and cloud hosting has gained popularity, we’ve had the opportunity to speak with business owners worldwide. In these discussions, while we covered the gamut, there were similarities, and pleasant surprises, listed below are some examples of the unexpected benefits available with cloud projects.
There is a high degree of flexibility in cloud hosting, particularly for new businesses. Many times the stumbling block in the pursuit of new ideas is the time and money involved in making them happen. For instance, should you want to design and test a new product line, while previously this may have been an expensive undertaking, with on-demand cloud resources, new configurations, and complete websites can be up and running within hours, often minutes, significantly reducing the time commitment of IT staff?
Since users, for illustration purposes, the business we are discussing, are only charged for the amount of time that they use the cloud and the needed resources. This factor alone can have a significant effect on the bottom line. Even within the largest companies, including Fortune 500 companies, innovation comes from experimentation, trying new ideas and seeing what works. With on-demand cloud hosting and resources, entrepreneurs, and business owners can experiment with new ideas without significant investments in new servers and accompanying equipment, allowing significant shifts in business structures, to happen within in a short period.
Mergers and Acquisitions
Business moves at the speed of money, and mergers and acquisition are a large part of that equation. However, one of the difficulties of many mergers is the amount of time, measured in months, sometimes years; to integrate data and records from one system into another, which happens in small businesses, as well as government agencies.
While it may seem arcane, there are agencies this minute that have staff manually coding information from one system to another. When your operation is in the cloud, many of these difficulties are negated, or, at least, they make transitions faster and easier for the end user.
One fear that is circulated concerning cloud services is they are homogenized to level the playing field for all business customers. While there is an element of truth in that statement, cloud services are based on the collective experience and input of clients, mainly new clients who are immediately exposed to the processes and interfaces. While that may seem simple, it is beyond the education most would receive in a university business program.
Tech Savvy Executives
In the early days of the Internet, computers, networking, and websites were a mysterious entity, only understood by the IT department. And while IT departments remain crucial, executives are becoming more tech savvy. The reason for this is not to push out IT experts, but to stay competitive in a global economy, where it is crucial to utilize the latest technology to ensure customer satisfaction. For this to happen, companies need the leadership and guidance of those at the top, and while the executive may not install and service software, they are pointing their business towards the future.
INTERVIEW WITH IT PROFESSIONAL
MACSINET: How do you feel that cloud hosting has affected you and your team?
JERRY W.: When I first interviewed for this job I was asked if I could work with and oversee a team. I said yes, and the team concept hasn’t changed too much with the cloud, although users have become savvier about the terminology and functions they need.
MACSINET: What about the executives, have they caught up with the tech?
JERRY W.: Well, that depends on the person of course, but if you’re asking for a general thought, then yes, but like anything you need to keep things simple and functional.
MACSINET: Speaking of usability, has the cloud make things easier or more difficult?
JERRY W.: The actual moving of the data from our internal servers to the cloud, did take some time and a lot of back and forth with other techs, so from a movement standpoint, it did make a good deal of effort.
MACSINET: And after the move?
JERRY W.: Pretty smooth sailing really, the great thing about the cloud service we’re using is scalability. We’re able to handle high loads nearly instantly, then scale back when traffic is less intense.
MACSINET: Overall then, you’re satisfied with moving to cloud hosting?
JERRY W.: Overall, yes, it’s allowed us to concentrate more on development without the worry of if our servers could handle the loads.
MACSINET: Would you recommend it to other IT departments?
JERRY W.: Yes. As tech moves forward, you have to adapt or get left behind. The guys in accounting like it since it saves on the bottom line. If you’re considering a move to the cloud, just have a good and long conversation with the tech heads who run the servers, they’ll tell you how to get prepared.
MACSINET: What about job security, has the cloud affected your department.
JERRY W.: That’s not a simple question to answer since I’m senior with the company, my job was secure, but yes, we did lose a few people after the move was complete, but they did okay. One guy moved to another company with a bump in salary.
MACSINET: Nice, but why did you lose staff?
JERRY W.: We just didn’t have the need to maintain our servers on site any longer, so we lost two low-level engineers, but that’s merely the way things happen, and they understood.
end interview with IT Department
INTERVIEW WITH CEO
MACSINET: Thank you for taking the time to speak with us, I know you have a busy schedule.
ROBERT M. CEO: Always happy to talk with you and Matt, you’re the guys who put us online.
MACSINET: Thank you, glad we could help. I’d like to ask your thoughts about cloud computing and cloud hosting, have they been beneficial?
ROBERT M. CEO: Well, for the most part I leave all that to the IT heads, but I can say they’ve been very positive about the move.
MACSINET: Can you give any specifics?
ROBERT M. CEO: Hmmm, I have to say the fact they no longer have to be concerned about software updates, when we access our frontend, it’s always up to date.
MACSINET: Yes, that is a benefit of the cloud. What about your hosting costs?
ROBERT M. CEO: I don’t have the numbers handy, but I can tell you it was a perfect solution for our recent ecom launch.
MACSINET: How so?
ROBERT M. CEO: Well, we knew we were going to get a lot of hits when our PR hit the wires and I wondered if our servers could handle things. So I asked them if they had any concerns and they didn’t, so I asked them to explain a bit. Some of the terms they used, like “burse load” escaped me, but they said they were prepared to immediately increase both storage and burst loads should the system require it.
ROBERT M. CEO: Exactly, that was the term they used. They said the mechanics of the cloud operated on a “when you need it” basis. They said there was no danger of overloading the servers and we should proceed with the launch as planned.
MACSINET: And you did?
ROBERT M. CEO: We did, and it worked flawlessly.
Moving into the Cloud
Many of us and many businesses fear change, undoubtedly true in the earlier days of the net. , when few had websites, then companies struggled to catch up and build an online presence. As technology moves forward, the cloud will become more and more prevalent, and organizations who are forward thinking should welcome cloud computing, cloud hosting, and cloud implementation.