Cloud Computing - Should I Eliminate my Server?
You may find it funny (I don't!) that while I was writing this article on Cloud Computing, "art imitated life." We found ourselves with a bad drive in our server this week. Normally this wouldn't be a big issue. We just swap out the bad drive with an identical replacement (we had one ready) and the system rebuilds itself in just a few hours. But this time it wasn't to be that simple. The rebuild failed and we were left with having to restore data from backups. (Ugh!)
Unfortunately for us, as with the notorious cobbler whose kids have blisters on their feet, while our restoration plan would work, it would take us days to get everything back the way it was, or so we thought.
This brought me to wondering... why do I have a server ANYWAY? Why should my data be subject to the whims of power outages and hardware failures? With my staff very mobile and often working from home, isn't a server in the sky better than one in my office?
Over the years, LeBlanc Communications has partnered with many great businesses who share our same philosophy in helping customers achieve success. William Abram of Pragmatix, in Westchester, points out benefits for small to medium size businesses in a recent blog post about cloud computing. It's one of the top technology buzzwords for 2011 that crept onto the scene over the last couple of years. However, as Abram indicates in a recent blog post titled "Cloud Computing, What You Need to Know (part 1)", the term has been around a lot longer than we think. He writes, "Most of us have used some form of cloud computing services well before any of us started using the term. Some of us remember, from early in our careers, the days of time-sharing computer services. Or perhaps you remember, over 20 years ago, the early days of AOL or Prodigy or Compuserve. Those were all forms of a cloud service."
But what does it mean for today and can it help my business? Can I, at some point, eliminate my server and store my information in the clouds? Is it really cost effective and safe? Another of our valued partners, The Network Support Company explains that there are many options for small to medium sized businesses. In order to see what's right for your business moving forward, you have to examine costs to upgrade and maintain your current equipment. The Network Support Company explained in recent workshops on cloud computing that you need to look at costs such as server and workstation replacement costs, labor to maintain hardware and software, and electricity and cooling costs, to name a few. Then, compare this with a cloud solution and many of the monthly savings that will accrue.
There are reasons to think about cloud computing, as Abram explains, such as hosting email and calendars through a cloud service which would have better reliability, would be less costly than having your own server and can provide continuity even through an outage. Or, if you have remote workers, file sharing and collaboration can impact your business with increased productivity. Employees can access files anytime and anywhere they have an internet connection. Additionally, most cloud services offer desktop and server management & monitoring where 70 - 90% of issues are resolved remotely. These are just a few solutions with a cloud service.
How We Got Our Server Back in Business
Personally, I don't know why I waited for a mishap to occur in order to make the move to cloud computing. Surprisingly, it didn't take days to get back up and running; it took less than 12 hours to move all our services online. That's amazing! It was funny that I was forced into writing about my own incident on this topic. (I should be careful about choosing future subject matter!) I'd love to share our experience in moving to cloud computing with you. Email me to find out more!
LeBlanc Communications at CT Business Expo
Also, please come see LeBlanc Communications at the 2011 CT Business Expo which takes place on Thursday, June 9th at the Connecticut Convention Center in Hartford. We'll be part of a panel discussion titled "Upgrade Decisions & Improving Efficiency Through Technology". For more information on the CT Business Expo, visit www.ctbexpo.com.
Call LeBlanc Communications today at 203-493-0267 to schedule an appointment or to do a no obligation review of your carriers and/or your phone system.
We're always looking for a better way to
Give Your Network a Voice!®
Michael LeBlanc, Founder and CEO
LeBlanc Communications Group, Inc.