The Tipping Point: Moving the Needle on Your Company with the Cloud

Posted on May 2, 2012

The enterprise tech question of the moment seems to be, “Should our company migrate to the cloud?” To migrate or not to migrate, a decision that has lasting implications as to how your company does business at a very basic level. While the cloud may not seem like universal technology, there are elements of virtualization that benefit any type of business. In fact, many businesses fail to keep a leg up on their competition by ignoring new technology business solutions, like cloud computing. But once you understand both the misconceptions about cloud computing, and the obvious benefits, migrating to the cloud may prove to be the move that takes your business to the next level.

Need proof?

Jaime Hopkins of Imagination Yoga, a Portland-based children’s yoga business, shifted to cloud computing last July and now has set her sites on international expansion.

From The Oregonian:

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“All of the sudden, in the cloud, it’s a universal thing,” she said. “We don’t have to think about just Portland. I can talk to somebody right now in China with this tool, face-to-face.”

As cloud computing becomes a viable option for small businesses like Imagination Yoga, Oregon is becoming a hub for the behind-the-scenes technologies powering the trend.

Some of the Web’s biggest companies, among them Facebook, Google and Amazon, have turned to rural parts of the state to host their massive data farms, attracted by low energy costs and the mild climate.

Living Social is an application based on social discovery that could not have achieved its impressive growth without the scalability offered by the cloud. Because the application exists in the Facebook framework it can go viral and reach critical mass at any moment. With a standard host, the server could crash when spikes in activity, but with the help of a cloud provider, in this case Rackspace, Living Social was able to move past their problems and grow/contract as needed.

Five Common Misconceptions about the Cloud

1. The Cloud is Only For High Tech Companies – This couldn’t be further from the truth. You would be surprised at the types of businesses trading in clunky old hard disk drives for dedicated servers and virtualization solutions. In fact, Imagination Yoga, a small Yoga studio chain based in Portland, Oregon recently moved all of their data from personal computers to cloud-based management systems. The company that once relied primarily on physical data storage, and face-to-face customer interactions, can now manage large data sets without leaving the comfort of their Portland office. There are plenty of cloud solutions available for any kind of business.

2. The Cloud is a One-Size-Fits-All Business Solution – On the flip side, not all cloud solutions are the same. Just because “Company X” used a cloud storage service to manage sales data, does not mean that is the best option for “Company Y.”

3. The Cloud Isn’t Safe – The truth is that there are risks associated with cloud migration. But not any more than there are in sticking with a traditional infrastructural system. Most concerns with data security is easily addressable in the cloud. Not only that; most reputable cloud service providers go to incredulous measures to ensure your data is protected by their servers.

4. Virtualization and Cloud Computing Are the Same Thing – This is a tricky distinction to make. But it can have a noticeable effect on dedicated server management. In very basic terms, cloud computing is about highly automated solutions, and virtualization is more focused on server consolidation and management.

5. Cloud Computing is Expensive – Historically, in the software and hardware world, new technology that makes your life easier comes at a much higher price than silly, outdated technology. So, you’d think that an emerging technology solution, like cloud computing, that gives you easy and immediate access to your data would be only available to the elite of the elite, right? Wrong. Cloud technology is relatively inexpensive to manage and implement with both basic and complex infrastructures.

Some Obvious Benefits of Cloud Migration

1. Scalability – The problem with many traditional data management solutions is that as your business grows, the technology can’t keep up. The cloud is easily changed, and managed from anywhere in the world, and requires little overhead.

2. Eco-Friendly – We are not entering a revolution of green data management. Electronic waste (e-waste) is a significant problem. Since server technology can become outdated rather quickly, migrating to the cloud protects the environment by requiring much less server processing power than traditional infrastructures.

3. Minimized Downtime – It’s estimated that 50 percent of websites who experience downtime on a regular basis will not recover. This means you can’t afford any downtime. With cloud backup services you can ensure your company’s website users experience the least amount of downtime possible.

 


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