Colocation or Cloud?
With so much media attention focused on cloud hosting, companies might feel compelled to move everything there. We all have those IT decision maker moments where the status quo no longer works and we realize that we need to stop mulling over the options and actually pick a new solution for X. Perhaps your current “X” is backups running on an old server in the closet which no longer has enough capacity, or your company web site on a shared hosting solution that’s cheap but too slow since you switched to a content management system (CMS)? Regardless, the challenge is the same: how do you pick the best solution for moving ahead?
With Cisco’s recent Global Cloud Index estimate that two-thirds of global data center traffic will be from cloud-based solutions by 2017, it’s hard not to feel pressure to jump into the cloud. With everything. Immediately. After all, it can help save operational costs, facilitate faster delivery to market, and provide virtual real time scalability. Those are huge value drivers but what about integration with your existing, even legacy, environments at your office and security concerns? Simply put, the cloud isn’t for everything. At least not yet.
Over the years, I’ve seen so many immensely bright individuals struggle over whether or not they want to clear out their office “NOC” to colocate everything in a data center. Honestly, I think the dilemma is typically because they’re asking the wrong question and think it is an all or nothing scenario when some things should probably stay at the office a while longer.
Rather than approach decisions like this with an all or nothing perspective, I strongly recommend you consider a hybrid approach. Host some servers and applications in the cloud but you probably need to keep some things at the office for now. And, for peace of mind, colocate at least your offsite backups in a data center.
For the love of God, yes, stop running your own mail server and switch to hosted Zimbra. Absolutely move your enterprise web site off the Windows IIS server and onto an XMission Cloud Server. And most definitely stop telling the CEO you’re doing offsite backups when that server has been sitting on the floor next to your desk blowing hot air at your calves for the last two years.
There’s a very good reason why both the cloud and professional services are so popular these days: it makes sense to outsource things which are not part of your company’s core competencies. It’s absolutely impossible to expertly handle all IT needs in-house. XMission provides colocation, cloud, and professional services but we aren’t shy about recommending a third party when we can’t best handle your needs ourselves.
Mix it up and find peace of mind. Ask the right questions to find the best solutions, remembering that a monolithic approach is no longer necessary or desirable. Deploy most new technologies in the cloud, remembering that the generic umbrella term refers to many different solutions. Keep the weird stuff at the office for now, hoping to figure out a creative solution to replace those odds and ends when you can. Colocate when a cloud solution doesn’t make sense for financial, security, or other reasons. Then, have more time to focus on what your business does best.
Is your company switching to a hybrid solution? What motivates your decision and what do you think will work best for your company? Please share your experience in the comments below.
XMission VP of Operations