Saturday, December 29, 2012

Part 4 - Cloud Storage

Understanding Cloud Storage

In this segment of my “Cloud” discussion, I’d like to explore the recent growth in businesses utilizing the “Cloud” for their storage needs……

In past years, businesses would purchase servers and maintain them at their business locations.  IT staffs were responsible for maintaining the servers, constantly updating storage capacity and maintaining adequate bandwidth for the business’ customers to access the information.  Sounds simple?  Well, it worked OK, but not great.

IT staffs needed to order new equipment to add storage capacity.  This came with lag time in getting the equipment and the added capital expense (CAPEX) of buying the additional equipment.  Throw in the need for additional network bandwidth and the time to have it installed, we’re now looking at a significant time period before a new program or offering could be implemented.

There were other detriments to this approach…..  Disaster recovery.   Take the recent super storm Sandy.  It knocked out businesses all along the eastern US seaboard.  Many companies were unable to open their doors for weeks, resulting in unknown loss of business.  If you’re an auto parts store in NJ, when a loyal customer calls from California looking for the custom part they always get from you, and no one is available to take their order and fulfill the shipment, do they wait for you?  Nope, they feel sorry for your situation, but they call your competition whose business remained open and get the part.  You might or might not ever get that customer back!  Think about it, what is the value of a lost Customer?

How can all of this be avoided?  The latest advances in technology have created an opportunity for small and mid-sized businesses to improve their IT solutions.  “Cloud Storage” enables a business to take advantage of virtually unlimited storage capacity, unlimited bandwidth, disaster recovery, and data backup.  All in a one-stop location, and at VERY reasonable prices.  By determining the size number of CPU’s, amount of RAM, size of required storage, and amount of bandwidth, companies can easily and quickly upload their IT needs to a cloud provider and free up both CAPEX dollars and their IT staff’s time. 

Today’s cloud providers have large data centers throughout the United States, providing inherent redundancy for a business’ vital data.  Gone is the lag time to add storage or bandwidth.  Additional storage or access can often be added in minutes from a computer terminal through the cloud provider’s portal.  Imagine adding 100Mb of additional bandwidth for your new promotional video in a matter of minutes.  Using the outdated method of self-hosting, this could take 60-90 days and involve substantial upfront build out costs.

The use of a “Cloud Storage” solution makes sense for every business.  No longer does a business have to maintain equipment rooms, back-up generators, off-site storage for retention, etc.  The cloud solutions solve all the problems, and help a business focus on what they do best….improving profitability. 

The advantages of entering the “Cloud” are vast.  A business can upload any number of hundreds of supported platforms for use on the “Cloud”, including Microsoft Office, Exchange, Lotus, Salesforce, VMware, etc.  The cloud package can be customized and/or the business owner can choose from a pre-packaged option.  Monthly costs can start at under $100.  A very small price to pay for peace-of-mind and an upgraded IT solutuion.

I’m always happy to help explain any of my topics….to get more information on available cloud offerings, please contact me either via email at or via Twitter @DaveHanron