Do I really need to purchase a new server or can I just go to the cloud?
In January of 2020, Windows 2008 Server software will reach end of life. Often when we notify clients that it is time to purchase a new server they will respond with, “Do I need a new server or should I just move my server to the cloud”. This is an excellent question! With all the marketing and hoopla surrounding the cloud today, it just makes good sense to consider the cloud for your organization.
First of all, before you consider moving your crucial business data to the cloud, we should identify what the cloud is. In a nutshell, the cloud is using someone else’s servers instead of yours, and connecting to it via the internet. The reality is you are already using the cloud for your email, as almost all email systems originate on someone else’s servers and then forward the emails to your location.
Second of all, the decision does not have to be all in or none. Beyond email, most businesses will utilize cloud systems for a portion of their IT processes. Some systems lend themselves to cloud solutions better than other ones.
In answering this, one must consider the pros and cons of moving your servers to the cloud.
Benefits of moving to the cloud include:
- Eliminate expense and inconvenience of periodic replacement of server infrastructure.
- Greatly reduce your capital expenditures.
- Eliminate the hosting of your data on your premises.
- Eliminate need to manage systems internally.
- Energy & insurance savings with removal of internal data center.
- Benefit of multiple redundancies with hosting sites over your on-premise location.
Challenges of moving to the cloud include:
- One time-expense of migrating your data & processing to the cloud.
- Ongoing increased monthly expense.
- Loss of control over your data location & management.
- Increased complication of securing your data.
- You still need to manage your systems. Just because they are in the cloud does NOT mean they are automatically updated, backed up, & secured.
- Reliance on internet becomes much heavier, requiring a second internet connection.
A case for the cloud:
There are situations that make the cloud ideal. Say you have a system that requires people in many locations to access your data, and you want it available 24×7. To do that internally, you need to make sure that you have a generator, along with redundancies in all of your systems. To purchase all of this extra equipment and maintain it would be a large investment. The cloud is ideal for a situation such as this.
This cloud might produce a lot of rain
Some situations are not as ideal for the cloud. For example, say you have many users who work with CAD, requiring very large files to be accessed and processed in an 8 to 5 work environment. Moving this kind of environment would be very expensive in both cloud costs and possibly bandwidth costs, and also require multiple internet connections. Keeping this in-house would be a much more economical solution.
Security must be considered
As you can see from the list, while the benefits are several, the challenges are also many. The decision to move to the cloud requires a significant investment in time and resources. In addition, hardly anyone talks about moving to the cloud to save money, as the reality is that when you adopt a monthly, pay as you go model, expenses tend to increase. Another consideration is security. If your systems are currently in-house, your security efforts are focused on securing the systems under your roof, and your remote users. If you move processing to the cloud, you still need to secure your internal users, and your remote users, and your cloud processes need to be secured as well.
What about an outage?
Other considerations are backup and restoring. Once you have identified the costs of any outage, just as internally, you must have your cloud system have the redundancy and backups to minimize that expensive downtime.
In short, moving to the cloud doesn’t eliminate the need to manage and pay for IT. It moves the managing and expense to another location. Or in the case of security, it shifts your risks to vendors. Do you trust that they will take your best interests into consideration? Moving to the cloud requires thoughtful considerations of the benefits, challenges and costs. This requires an in depth conversation with a consultant to help you make these decisions. Buchertech can help. Call us and one of our consultants will be glad to review with you these options.