‘The cloud’ is just a new name for hosted IT services, where a server is hosted by an IT company connected to the Internet. The cloud is as much marketing hype as a valid method of IT service delivery. In fact I’m not sure exactly what it means any more, with many people now thinking the cloud is what I thought was called the Internet. Whatever it is, it’s not the white fluffy, cuddly entity the marketers and big vendors would have us all believe.
The main argument for having services hosted is that customers don’t need to worry about maintaining on-premise servers, patching applications, and rebooting systems that crash. Even if this was true, which it’s not (see below), you will have lots of new things to worry about like where is your data, who owns your data, who can spy on your data, what happens to your data if you want to leave? Oh, and what impact is there on your business if you can’t access your data?
Even in the cloud, servers still need maintenance, patching, and rebooting, with serious impacts on customers when it goes wrong, as it did last week for Microsoft cloud customers.
Last week Office 365 users received a crash course in the reality of being in the cloud. First, Microsoft’s Lync instant messaging service suffered an outage followed by a nine hour outage of the company’s Exchange email service. Outages have been attributed to problems that arose during a data centre migration.
Rather than push people into the cloud, wouldn’t it have been better to have created on-premise servers that were properly engineered in the first place? We think so.
Imagine having a server that is so reliable that the only way you can stop it is to turn it off. And that never needs to be rebooted, and never crashes, and automatically patches and updates itself. That would be good, especially if in the unlikely event it did ‘blow up’ that you could be up and running again in a matter of minutes.
I guess it would also be less frustrating if you could instantly speak to a human being if you had a problem, rather than being kept at arms length by the vendor, leaving you to look in on-line forums to find out ‘what the hell’ was going on.
The Igaware Linux Small Business Server is just such a server. It can be hosted in your office where you can see and touch it, and still access it when the ‘lights go out’ in some distant data centre following a digital infarction of a ‘unique nature’, or ‘external network failures’.
Igaware has many customers, with remote workers and satellite offices, using a centralised Igaware Server hosted at a head-office using a decent Internet connection (you can have multiple WAN connections for fail-over and load balancing too!) who enjoy ‘the cloud’ – only it’s private and under their control. Many of these have migrated from the Cloud back to in-house as issues of latency, cost, control and support are very real.
Oh, and lastly let’s remember the core sales message from Cloud vendors that it’s low cost – it’s not. There are hidden costs for additional functionality, storage etc. that soon mount up. Not to mention the cost of downtime. And if you’re not happy at the point you realise it’s not all fluffy and white, you may find solace in on-line forums for the unhappy cloud people, or you can contact Igaware for a rock solid, alternative that is fully supported, and more cost effective.