Is It Time to Move to a Cloud Based Server?

Applications are running slower. Productivity is suffering. So, you’ve decided to face the music and  update your network servers. But your business partner is singing a different tune. He wants to go with what’s trendy. It’s what all the kids are talking about, he says. It’s called Cloud Hosting.

In our respective business spaces, we all want to be the Rolling Stones, not Gnarls Barkley*.  With that in mind, do we go with the traditional dedicated server or the trendy, cloud server? Cloud server vs. dedicated Server. You can look at this as the IT version of American Idol or, for the baby boomers among us, Dick Clark’s American Bandstand.

Cloud Hosting – One Hit Wonder or Here to Stay?

Are cloud based servers the one hit wonders of IT or are they in it for the long haul? Before we proclaim cloud hosting as the greatest thing since The Beatles, let’s examine the pros and cons.

What are the Advantages of Cloud Servers?

Backup & Recovery – This is a huge upside, especially for small and medium size businesses. Backup is automatic and Cloud based backup service requires no large up-front investment. In the event of an unexpected event, disaster recovery is as easy as 1-2-3.

Software Updates Are Automatic – Providers roll out regular software updates so you don’t have to. This includes the all-important security updates. Best of all, it frees up more time for business as usual.

Low Upfront Cost – Cloud servers are subscription based so there is no upfront hardware expense. You simply pay as you go.

Remote Workstations – You can have access to your documents or desktop from anywhere. Additionally, you can offer remote opportunities to employees, making it easier to attract the best talent.

Security – Lost a laptop? No problem. As well as having the safeguard of a cloud backup, one can wipe data from a lost laptop so proprietary information doesn’t find its way to a competitor.

This is just a short list. There are other advantages, too.

What are the disadvantages of a cloud based server?

Downtime – You are at the mercy of your internet connection. When it’s offline, so are you. If your connection is reliable, then all is good. But, if you’ve experienced frequent outages in the past, think carefully before you take the plunge.

Data Breach – While hosting companies have made significant strides in this area, hacking still occurs. Despite added security features, your data is not 100% secure here or anywhere, for that matter.

Data Transfer Costs – While transferring data to the cloud is generally free, you should be aware that outbound data transfers over the basic monthly allowance of the agreement are charged a fee.

The Votes Are In

If this were American Idol, we’d invite this contestant back. In American Bandstand terms, it’s got a good beat and you can dance to it.

How ‘Bout a Dedicated Server?

Dedicated servers are like Elvis. At one time, they were the hippest thing out there. And let’s face it, who doesn’t want “a hunk, a hunk, o’ burnin’ love”? I know I do. But there’s a little bit more to it than that. So, let’s look at the advantages and disadvantages of having your own dedicated servers.

What Are the Advantages of Designated Servers?

It’s Dedicated (Not Shared) – In some cases, the resources of a single cloud server can be tried by other clients who suck up CPU and RAM. This cannot happen with a dedicated server, by definition.

Performance – Since you know that you’re not sharing the server with tons of other people’s traffic, performance should be great. However, if you’re seeing a large influx of your own traffic, you may have outgrown it.

Unique IP Address – On a cloud server, you share an IP address. If your neighbor is spammy, your performance, rankings and more could be adversely affected. This is never an issue with your own dedicated network server.

What Are the Drawbacks of Designated Servers?

CostUpfront cost can be prohibitive.You’re purchasing a lot of hardware that, in the case of a cloud hosting arrangement, resides elsewhere.

MaintenanceUnless IT is a core competence of yours, you’ll need a full-time IT staff or someone to troubleshoot problems as they arise. You’ll incur expense from tech support as well as possible revenue gaps from downtime.

The Kids Are Alright

Just as with cloud services, we’d invite them back. And the kids say you can dance to this, too. Truth is, either solution may be right for you depending on your organization’s individual and unique needs. Feel free to contact us at 336.447.3473 with any questions regarding your server needs and situation. One of our BITS experts can help you determine which solution is best for you and help punch your ticket to your own Rock n Roll Hall of Fame.

*Gnarls Barkley’s “Crazy” peaked at #2 in the charts in 2006. The duo never made it to the top 40 again.

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