Blogs & Articles

Monday, Jul 12, 2010

Get your head INTO the cloud

I receive daily Google alerts on various subjects, including “Cloud Computing” and I think I could spend half my work day reading articles on this topic alone. There are so many opinions - some that preach the benefits of the Cloud, others that put up warning flags - and a few that state the Cloud is one of those disruptive technologies that will turn the IT industry upside down and inside out. 

A common theme is that companies of all sizes should embrace Cloud Computing, but do so cautiously and with a well-planned strategy. Security, reliability and legal concerns are most often cited as the reasons behind adopting a cautious approach to the Cloud. 

Some Cloud Service Providers who are seeking to building out more innovative customer solutions are meeting these concerns head-on by affording businesses – particularly Small and Medium sized Enterprises (SMEs) - the opportunity to utilize the Cloud in a low-risk, high-value manner through provisioning of Cloud-enabled, high availability, business continuity solutions or Recovery as a Service. The key is that a business continuity solution or more commonly called “Server Replication to the Cloud” does substantially more for your IT infrastructure and capability than just protect it from failure. 

Server Replication to the Cloud in fact, affords its users with the capability to test out systems in the Cloud without having any immediate impact on your existing production systems. Essentially, the ability to “test” your server in the cloud with zero impact on your users or environment. (Now that’s what I call dipping your toe in the water!)

The message these Cloud Providers (e.g. is sending to the IT community is a simple one. By deploying Recovery as a Service technologies, you can maintain your production environments in-house, while continuously testing performance levels when operating from the Cloud. A zero risk, extremely low cost option, something that was not available in such a flexible and cost effective manner.

You have a scheduled maintenance window on your Exchange server? No problem. Do an Exchange failover to the Cloud where you have email redundancy, while you complete your work (and do it on a Friday afternoon, instead of 2:00 a.m. on Sunday morning), and see if your user group notices. In my experience, they won’t and if they do, it will be only because they are now experiencing superior response times from the Cloud-enabled environment. Superior performance leads us to the second benefit to testing out the cloud. Chances are your budget never afforded you the opportunity to throw the amount of resources (such as CPU and RAM) on your servers like the cloud does today. Anyone familiar with the Cloud Compute offerings knows very well the small, medium and large compute model.

So, if you’re reticent to embrace the Cloud, dip your toe in the water – or get your head INTO the Cloud – by looking at a low-risk, high value recovery as a service enabled solution. Once you’ve experienced the Cloud first hand, and are satisfied that there is no performance degradation, that all your security concerns are addressed, and that you’re on safe legal ground, you can then proceed with confidence in fully embracing the world of Cloud Computing, at your pace.

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