We hear a lot of about Cloud Computing these days, and that technology looks to be a big part of the future of technology. Not that it’s a good fit for every company, or that it’s delivered on all the anticipated benefits, but increasingly, the cloud is a viable solution for a variety of applications.
How a business GETS to its data and applications on the cloud is not as a hot a topic, but it is a vital part of the equation. What’s in the cloud is of no use if a company can’t access it.
With cloud computing, a company’s demands on the internet connection is very different. Two very important factors to consider are bandwidth and redundancy.
Barely a decade ago, a T1 line (1.544 Mbps) cost over $1000 per month. But the extensive buildout of fiber connections in metro areas has brought those costs down considerably. Even home internet connections get multi-megabit connections for about $100/month.
When planning a foray into cloud computing, some careful consideration needs to go into determining the bandwidth required to deliver an optimal user experience. Not so long ago, a company’s internet bandwidth was used primarily for email and web browsing. When even a small office is using their internet connection for applications, email, phones (VoIP) and web browsing, it’s a whole different story.
Therefore, the costs of the necessary bandwidth will need to be factored into the business’ cloud strategy.
No matter how much bandwidth your internet connection has, if it’s down, you have NO bandwidth. Some internet connections are more reliable than others, but even a 99.999% (Five 9s!) uptime means 8.76 hours of downtime in a year. Can your business be prepared to have NO access to your cloud-based resources for a full workday?
If a business is going to go to a cloud-dependent model, then it would be wise to have an alternate route to the cloud. This could be 100% redundancy – an equivalent circuit from another provider (ideally, coming into the building via a different cable vault), or it can be a circuit designed to be just adequate to keep the business running until the main circuit is restored.
Don’t forget to factor in the costs for the extra circuit, and don’t forget to test the failover mechanism!
Depending on where in the cloud your computing assets are, you may not need to go through the Internet at all. Your bandwidth may be more reliable if the data and voice traffic go over a dedicated circuit. The prices on these have dropped considerably, too, so it bears looking into.
The bottom line is, the cloud holds a lot of promise, but before implementing any new technology, all the pros and cons and costs must be weighed to ensure the results will be favorable for the business. Clare Computer Solutions can provide a Cloud Readiness Assessment for your business and help you consider all the options when planning a cloud strategy.