Byte Me Article 162 – Keep your head out of the clouds

Keep your Head Out of the Clouds

Businesses should be going to cloud computing – what a load of glossy advertising!  Businesses need to be well aware of the costs and limitations of cloud computing before jumping on this band wagon!  Just because we have been logging into our Internet Banking sites (a cloud site) for years without hiccup and haven’t had any IT costs directly associated with this doesn’t mean that we can have our own cloud without IT costs.  Quite the contrary as the banks spend millions of dollars each year on hardware and to employ the smartest techs around to keep their cloud sites secure.  Can a small / medium business afford to do the same?

Australia’s largest Telco’s are banding together with some of the world’s largest software companies to sell you a ‘purportedly’ better solution than the traditional ‘server in the back room’ solutions that have existed for years.  Do you think that they are pushing these solutions just to be good guys and because they want to help us?  No way!  It is all about revenue streams and ongoing profits.  If they are going to be making more money out of your business, then the obvious flip side is that your costs are going to increase – regardless of the sales speak to the contrary.

2014-02-22 Byte Me Article 162 - Clouds are bad

If you go to a hosted server solution in the cloud – it still has to run on a physical server somewhere in the world.  This physical server will still need an operating system which still needs to be managed by the customers’ own technician.  This server will still need the occasional reboot.  This reboot now has to be performed through a remote console – which often does not respond in itself.  The cloud server still needs to have enough ram and CPU power to work efficiently and still requires updates and anti-virus solutions & software licencing to be provided by the customer.

So what are you achieving?  If you are used to having your own server and used to seeing your screen change almost instantly as soon as you click a button then forget all about this previously ‘normal’ experience.  Cloud computing will NEVER be this responsive because you are communicating with a server that is probably in Melbourne and the link between is operating at 10Mbps at best.  The same links in an office with a local server run at 1000Mbps – which do you reckon will work the best?

The responsiveness and speed that you see when doing Internet banking is also as fast as you get with cloud computing – fine for a few banking transactions, however a ridiculously slow system if you are trying to run a point of sale program.  A proper national broadband rollout would have helped our Internet speeds as the 100Mbps mark would have been attainable – however again this falls way short of the speed of having your own server on your own premises.

Unfortunately the mega million dollar advertising campaigns supporting cloud computing brainwash the average business owner into thinking that they are missing the boat without it.  Before signing up to one of these services you need to be crystal clear on who is actually benefiting.  Is it really going to improve your business’ bottom line, do you know all of the facts, costs & limitations or are you simply padding this months’ commission for the bloke giving you the sales pitch.  Don’t forget, once trapped in these cloud contracts it becomes extremely hard to get back to solid ground. 

Future Byte Me topics can be emailed to [email protected] and Bruce is contactable at Kerr Solutions, 205 Musgrave Street or on 49 222 400.

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