“The Cloud” is a marketing term meaning “hosted services.” Hosted services have been around forever, of course, but in the past few years we’ve seen corporations such as Microsoft and Google offer “big” hosted services. At BDPNetworks, we’ve used some hosted services for many years–offsite backups and e-mail security services are good examples of things that are better handled off-premise. But not all IT services are necessarily better “in the cloud.” Security concerns around sensitive data prevent many from moving major IT services to the cloud. (See “Cloud providers are no less bulletproof than any other industry.”) Hosted services are full of promise: easier management, reduced problems, simplified billing. But does “The Cloud” really live up to the hype?
1. Our Cloud services will be more reliable than our on-premise services. Not necessarily: Our own internal studies show that services such as Microsoft’s Hosted Exchange or Google’s GMail actually have a higher amount of downtime than the majority of our client’s internal e-mail servers, believe it or not. Microsoft promises “99.9% uptime” with their Office365 services. This is actually up to 44 minutes per month of downtime. Many of our clients’ Exchange e-mail servers have less than two hours total downtime per year–and only because of maintenance windows. For more information about uptime percentages, check out this Wikipedia article about High Availability Also note that the availability of Cloud-based services is also dependent on the stability of your Internet connection – a fact often overlooked.
And in our experience while cloud services may allow you to cut down on the number of internal servers you need to manage, end-users will still need support. Things will still break–and with the addition of mobile devices there are a lot more places where things can go wrong.
2. Our Cloud services will be easier to manage than our on-premise services. Not necessarily–Microsoft’s Office365 services are extremely intricate. There are dozens of management consoles and lots of different ways to plug your business resources into their services.
3. Our Cloud services will be cheaper than retail “boxed” software. Not necessarily–If you’re used to purchasing retail versions of Office every few years you may find that the cloud-based Office365 ends up costing more over time. But Microsoft sweetens the pot by offering a LOT more functionality.
4. Our Cloud services will be more functional than our on-premise services. Most businesses need a hybrid model. Businesses don’t need to fall into the “all cloud trap.” There is no “one size fits all” model.
5. The transition/migration to cloud services will be simple. Depending on the system you are moving to/from, the duration of migration can take time, of course this is contingent on if you are transitioning an entire system or just a few files. The bottom line of the cloud is to do your research and make sure what you are looking for meets your business needs.
Need help considering cloud options? Contact us and we’ll steer you in the right direction.