SO you’re probably looking for the pros and cons of choosing either a cloud based solution or a in house based server solution for your IT infrastructure.At first the cloud based infrastructure seems so much cheaper because there are no up front costs; however, you have recurring costs each month and without any type of agreement the pricing could go up. There are a plethora of other negative reasons for choosing a cloud based solution and here are a few of them:

  • If the company is bought out your contract could change
  • If bought out the scope of the company could change or disappear altogether
  • Security is no longer in your control, you have to have faith that your provider is secure and cares
  • Over-utilized bandwidth can be an issue if the provider is trying to pinch dimes
  • Over-utilized hardware can be an issue if the provider wants to extract the most from the hardware at the cost of performance
  • Lack of control over configuration, you’re stuck with what they give you
  • The relative end user experience is a mixture of the bandwidth you have available and how saturated their bandwidth is, mileage may vary
  • Support can be outsourced at any moment, if it was not already. Good luck dealing with the 7-11 guy over the phone who wants you to unplug your modem
  • On site support can be non-existent and is typically the issue so you’re still relying on local support or in house IT support
  • Hope and pray that your provider pays the bills on time and doesn’t get cut off. No joke, I have seen this happen before
  • You’re relying on them to have a disaster recovery solution in place in the event something happens. No joke, this happens all the time – I worked for an email marketing company in RTP that had NO, I mean NO, disaster recovery plan whatsoever!

Thanks to VMware and other virtualized solutions you no longer need “specific” hardware to run a server. In fact, I have setup numerous companies on relatively inexpensive hardware and installed VMware ESXi on one machine and Server 2008 R2 with the Microsoft iSCSI target software on a separate machine and there was about a 3-5:1 ratio (small business here guys) on the VMware host and the iSCSI target with NO performance issues. This included Exchange 2010, Active Directory, SQL 2008 and a hosted EMR application. I think the hardware costs were roughly about $5000 total. Even then, they needed the processing power and RAM requirements. You can, if you wanted to, use a Desktop PC crammed with RAM and reliable storage for less than $1000, install VMware ESXi and use local storage for VMs and your investment is now less than $1000 total in IT infrastructure. It isn’t ideal; however, with a Core i7 and 16GB of RAM you can run most of what a really small business needs very easily and without any performance hits at all.

Cloud computing may make sense for some people; however, not for any solution I will ever install, ever.

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