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Taking Advantage of Managed Cloud Solutions
You may be losing a competitive advantage by missing out what managed cloud solutions offer.

By: John Shepler

Computing is a two-edged sword. One edge is the business purpose why you invested in technology in the first place. It may be the only way that a business such as yours can even exist. The other edge is what that technology does to hold you back. It sucks up massive amounts of capital and expenses. It requires special teams of experts to keep it going, especially if you require an uninterrupted online presence 24/7. Then, to add insult to injury, everything goes obsolete and needs to be replaced. Is there a way to gain the benefits of computing technology without the equal and opposite liabilities?

Enter The Managed Cloud
Gone are the days when you had to do everything yourself. Companies that have evolved their computing resources over the decades became complacent with the incremental creep of adding more and more central resources to support and ever growing and more sophisticated suite of applications. You don’t have to have it all in-house any more. It’s a choice.

The alternative is the managed cloud. Think of your data center as being magically levitated and swept away to a distant location. You still have all the needed resources at your disposal. They are just located somewhere else.

Isn’t that a zero-sum game? It can be, but if you do it right, you gain something through expertise, efficiency and economy of scale.

Do You NEED Cloud?
Managed services run the gamut from simple dedicated servers collocated in a massive data center to public, private and hybrid cloud services. Cloud and colocation might sound the same, but colocation servers are a relative fixed structure that takes time to physically upscale and downscale. Cloud services are based around hypervisors, software that can quickly increase or decrease resources as needed.

If your needs are simple and relatively unvarying, a dedicated server might be all you need. You can rent space and install your own equipment, or rent what you need from the data center, along with the technical support to set everything up and perform maintenance and repair as needed.

Where the cloud shines is applications with requirements that vary wildly. For example, you may run an online store that has seasonal or infrequent peaks of activity that dwarf the usual traffic levels. If you depend on buying and setting up more hardware servers, the peak opportunity may have come and gone before you have the additional resources in place. Your site will stall or crash, frustrating customers who will take their business elsewhere.

Choose Your Cloud Carefully
Cloud services generally fall into one of three categories: private, public and hybrid. A private cloud is something like a private dedicated server or your in-house data center, except for the extra ability to scale up and down rapidly. Cloud systems are based on virtualization that takes a pool of hardware resources and allocates the elements efficiently, based on need.

Private means that even through you are contracting for services from a remote provider, the environment is single-tenant. You are using these particular resources and not sharing with anyone else. That’s peace of mind knowing that your network, compute and storage resources are dedicated to your applications only.

Public clouds are called multi-tenant. There is an enormous pool of hardware resources that are divided up among many simultaneous users. Public clouds are popular because they offer a nearly infinite pool of computing and storage resources for any one user. It’s a more efficient way to allocate resources and is reflected in a lower cost to each user.

Hybrid clouds are a combination of public and private clouds. You run your most sensitive applications on the private cloud and general applications, such as ecommerce, on the public cloud. By mixing and matching to the performance and security requirements of your applications, you get the best of both worlds, without having to pay up for resources you aren’t using.

It’s Time For Your Cloud
You’re aware of industry buzz. Everyone company seems to be heading to the cloud, if they aren’t already there. It’s a major paradigm shift in how computers are used by business. You must be automated and connected to be competitive. But, you don’t have to be in the business of buying, running, maintaining and upgrading all of that equipment and software.

The efficiency of cloud solutions can’t be underestimated. By paying only for what you use at the moment, you get out of the business of having to anticipate your future needs and taking the calculated risk of buying too much too soon or losing business because you underestimated. The cloud will let you react to business surges, steady growth, or the unfortunate need for downsizing, should the market conditions dictate.

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