7 Nov 2011
With all the hype surrounding cloud computing it is easy to be persuaded into believing that the only way forward is a move to the cloud.
Although the private cloud is a comprehensive and robust enterprise hosting solution, it is not suitable for everyone. A thorough review of your business needs and ambitions will help identify which solution is right for you.
Key areas to review when considering your hosting options include:
Various hosting options offer differing degrees of flexibility. Do you require a system that can flex to changing numbers of users and size of operations? Or do you manage a user base that stays relatively stable? A private cloud certainly offers better flexibility than traditional dedicated routes. If however you have a fairly constant user count a dedicated solution can offer advanced features not available via the cloud.
Security and Compliance Regulations
Depending upon the industry in which you operate and the type of transactions you process, you will face a variety of security and compliance regulations. Regulatory commitments must form a central part of your decision making process. Ask yourself what data regulations you must follow. How sensitive is the data your organisation processes? What risks can you realistically take with your data? When it comes to security, a dedicated hosting solution offers the most comprehensive solution and allows you to make definite guarantees about data location and accessibility.
Ambitions for Growth
What are your organisations short and long term growth ambitions? If you have ambitious plans for expansion you will need a solution that can be expanded quickly and securely. If however, your organisation has already realised its growth ambitions and is in a stable position then certain solutions may deliver more significant business benefit.
The budget you have available, in addition to your finance departments preferences, are important considerations to make. If you have a pot of capex available, or a finite time in which to spend an allocated budget, and want to make the best decision possible with your investment then certain routes, such as dedicated hosting, may be better than others. Conversely, if you have limited budget, or want to spread your costs out over a longer period, there are options available to support your ambitions.
With a cloud solution you gain access to pay-per-month billing structures. This is attractive to many as it breaks IT investment up into manageable chunks. With cloud, the initial investment required is minimal as the majority of upfront costs are covered by the hosting provider. The main issue with this form of billing is that long terms costs can end up higher than if you made a one off initial investment in a dedicated solution.
Do you have a frequent upgrade cycle and policies in place to ensure you keep up-to-date with the latest patches, operating systems and applications? If so then some hosting routes offer speedier and less labour-intensive ways of completing this process. With a cloud solution all the updates are managed for you and rolled out automatically. This is great for those organisations that want to remove the administrative burden – but not always suitable for those that use specialist software or hardware that only works on certain operating systems/configurations.
Understanding your position in relation to these areas will leave you better prepared to discuss your hosting options. A quality provider will have a range of solutions in its portfolio and will be able to work with you to design a solution that best suits your needs
The only way is not cloud – make sure you understand your options.