So you’re being encouraged to move your business in to “the cloud” – what should you do?
As IT professionals, we think that it’s right to be cynical about anything being championed as “the next big thing”. History is littered with dot.com-style failures. Those failures are often forgotten, but it’s important to remember that they are many…and legion.
It doesn’t help that we’re also bombarded with “next big things” as consumers as well. For every Google and iPod, there’s a Google Glass and iPod U2. It’s become a bit of a lottery as to what will catch on: what would you be willing to bet on the popularity of VR or smartwatches in five years’ time..? It’s only the very young or naïve who fall for every trend.
So you’d be right to be suspicious about “the cloud”. So what do you do as business?
There are the extreme options.
You could dive in to every new technological wave – but that way lie stormy waters! Early adoption is associated with being costly, but in its favour, trial and error is often how evolutionary leaps happen, in business as in nature.
Alternatively, you could keep a cautious distance and rely on the test of time. Remember those wise 90s businesses that waited for the “internet fad” to pass by? No - you’ve forgotten them. They’re not around anymore: being too cautious can also be costly.
The not-so-happy medium is for businesses to try to keep informed and updated, and perhaps trial and test new tech on a small scale, avoiding costly risks when possible. It’s “not so happy” because we know that it takes time and resources, and you’re never sure if you’re whether you might be missing out on the “killer” tech that a competitor might start using.
There is another route: listen to what “the experts” say.
A problem with that is discovering who the real experts are, and whether their opinion is independent. This is increasingly difficult online, where the loudest voices are sponsored by, or depend on, commercial interests.
We know what we're talking about
At Xynomix we’ve learned that it pays to be honest in the long term, so you’ll get unbiased advice from us. We partner with companies like Oracle and Microsoft, but that’s so that new clients can be sure that we’re experts in the field: we’re still proudly independent, as we have been since 2002.
With nigh-on 30 years as database specialists, we’d like to think that we have some authority when talking about the management of data. We have a team of database experts here, who’ve been watching the development of “cloud” services over the last ten years.
Our experts have come to a verdict on the cloud: it’s definitely worth investing-in now. Although you may well have been right to be suspicious about the cloud up to recently, the technology that drives it is now mature and reliable. The modern cloud is more secure, more flexible, and more powerful than ever.
This can be seen in the way that the IT world’s largest corporate interests - Oracle, Microsoft, Amazon, Google - have put their weight behind the concept. It’s become their focus, and they’re right to do that, since businesses have begun to lose their conservatism (understandable conservatism) about the cloud and are adopting it en masse.
We’re sure that some elements of cloud usage will be valuable to any company or organisation. It can save money, time and resource, and offer the opportunity for small, agile start-ups to compete with large corporate interests on a level playing field, using the same tools.
We can advise you on how cloud adoption would best suit the interests of your organisation, or you can read more about what we do in our Cloud Services section.
Despite our recommendation, there are still reasons to be a bit sceptic when someone offers you a “cloud solution”.
'Cloud' is just a marketing buzzword anyway
Where does the term “the cloud” come from? What does it mean?
Basically, “cloud computing” is about carrying out tasks over a network: remote storage and computation instead of on your “personal computer”. Another word for it could be…using the modern internet!
The term goes back a long way (thanks Wikipedia!), to even before the worldwide web: it was first used in ARPANET in 1977 to describe networked computers. The term as we know it was first written down in a Compaq internal document in 1996. However, it wasn’t until 10 years later when Amazon started to promote their Elastic Compute Cloud that it started to gain popularity.
It’s useful shorthand: a catch-all term to describe the many different aspects of remote and distributed storage and computation. But it’s been marketed to heck!
So it’s completely understandable that you might be a bit suspicious of anything cloud-related. Not unlike the “internet of things”… but we digress. The point is: buzzwords, that’s all they are. Cloud computing has been around as long as personal computing.
In the end, you know as well as we do that it can be useful: you probably make use of the cloud in many ways already, from webmail to the crowd-sourced traffic levels on Google Maps.
Trial it with help from Xynomix
Cloud computing isn’t a panacea: there are some things that may just work better if they stay in-house, on premise. For example, last year’s EU “safe harbour” ruling means that if your cloud storage isn’t in the EU it could lead to legal problems in the future. Or perhaps instant access to your data is too business-critical to risk losing to an internet outage?
For that reason, terms like “private cloud”, “hybrid cloud” and “on-premise cloud” (our favourite) have been developed. We won’t detail them here (see our cloud database page if you're interested) but they can be put to good use in some environments, if you know what you’re doing.
The Xynomix data management team know what we’re doing when it comes to the cloud. We also know it’s hard to determine which cloud services are right for you. You’re busy, and there are manifold options. That’s why we’ve put together packages where you can trial various cloud services to the full.
We’ll set things up and configure everything you need, so all you need to do is evaluate their usefulness. We’ll sit down with you and learn about how your organisation works, and tailor the right cloud offerings to your business needs. We’ll support you through the trial process and beyond, with 24-7 support or whatever service level is best for you. Put another way: we do the boring stuff while you get to play with the shinies! See our Xynomix Cloud Trial page for more information; we also offer a similar Oracle Cloud Trial.
Discover more about how we can help you find out which Cloud service(s) are right for your business in our Cloud Services section. Or maybe you need more convincing? See our Cloud: 9 reasons why the cloud makes business sense.
But stay vigilant: just because something makes use of “the cloud” doesn’t mean it’s always better for you. A healthy level of scepticism is encouraged…in all areas of life!