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Saturday, February 20, 2016

Cloud Computing -- Buyer beware!

I am a huge advocate of cloud computing.  I've spent over 45 years managing IT organizations and have been responsible for equipment as well as application development.  I have agonized over hardware budgets, capacity forecasts, and performance analysis. 

I firmly believe that cloud computing offers the smallest to the very largest organizations a huge advantage of over traditional own it and run it yourself environments. 

In today's world we have many risks in operating computer systems.  Today it is assumed that your computer systems will be available over the Internet and reach out to your employees working in a distributed environment as well as trading partners and customers. 

This introduces issues of capacity, availability, and security.  If I am going to put my business into a cloud computing environment, I want to be darn sure I am dealing with a financially stable and secure environment.  I want my cloud vendor to provide 100% availability.  I want to be sure that my applications and my data are replicated not only across multiple machines, but across multiple locations in geographically diverse locations that will protect the site and my business from acts of nature such as earthquake, hurricanes, tornadoes, fire, or any other exposure that could disrupt a data center's operation.

I want to be sure that the vendor provides an extreme level of security for everything from their physical plant to Internet access and offer me services like ethical hacking as well as monitoring to protect against hackers.  I want to insure that the vendor provides a better team of security expertise than I could afford to employ via employees.

I want the vendor to handle all of the "systems programming" activities such as upgrading OS's, and middleware.  I want the vendor to provide staff that assists me in managing the deployment of new or upgrades to my software. 

What I don't want!

What I don't want is a "cloud provider" that has one data center with limited equipment and no real time fail over or disaster recovery program.  I met a gentleman selling IBM AS/400 based cloud applications.  The had a couple of machines in a data center in their garage.  They sold this to a large number of governmental entities that didn't do their homework.  This is a disaster waiting to happen. 

I met a sales rep for a much larger company, but they had one data center in Atlanta, Georgia with no mealtime fail over or recovery capabilities and very limited technical support. 

I personally support Microsoft, Amazon, and a few other major well established cloud providers that an provide continuous, uninterruptible computing environments that can withstand anything and companies that can provide the people that I no longer need to employ (i.e. the systems programmers, admins, architects, performance managers, etc.). 

Are you a small company?

If you are a small company with a need for one or maybe two small servers, why on earth would you NOT use a cloud?  You can obtain all the computing power you might need for about $100 per month with a major company.  You get security, reliability, performance, and technical support that you would never be able to afford on your own.

Large or Small?

Cloud computing can meet everyone's needs and save you huge sums of money.


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