The Cloud – Rebirth of the Data Center

Remember mainframes? Those gigantic machines with vacuum tubes, reel-to-reel tape drives, and terminal stations with a huge printer / tiny screen staffed by technicians in lab coats? Those were the days – days which the technology industry triumphantly declared dead during the birth of the PC in the 1980’s, as computing power migrated to the home / office and everyone got connected to the “Interwebs.”

Well, those days are back! Not with mainframes and lab coats, but with blade servers, banks of hard drives, load-balancing routers and very tight security. Why should you care? Simple – those data centers can save you enough money every year to justify pulling the trigger and moving your stuff to the 21st century version called “The Cloud.”

Ooooooo.  Pretty Lights!

Cloud computing, via data centers, has enjoyed a renaissance because the ever-growing complexity of buying and maintaining server resources for your business can be handed off to a company that buys in volume and develops a maintenance ecosystem (so you don’t have to.) Just a few years ago, companies had to build out server rooms, buy servers, routers, battery backups, etc. – and the staff to keep it running.

But what if you didn’t have to do this? How great would it be to run the same software on faster, redundant hardware, accessible anywhere on the Internet, and get automatic speed upgrades for you as the Cloud gets upgraded for all? I submit to you that the time to rent your slice of the Cloud is NOW, and here’s why:

  1. Cloud hosting is more cost efficient for smaller businesses – No hardware to buy and manage is especially beneficial for “Mom & Pops” (cash flow savings).
  2. Maintenance of your software is someone else’s problem – no downtime caused by upgrades, database corruption, etc.
  3. Ubiquitous accessibility (with proper credentials) – Got internet?  You’re done.
  4. Fast setup, and fast changes – Pre-made server “images” can bring up an application within minutes.  Need a new user?  5 minutes.  Time is money.
  5. Reliability is improved – your app is run on data-center-grade servers, with power, cooling and security systems you can’t even imagine, much less afford.

So where to start?  If you have a software VAR (Value Added Reseller), ask them about moving your app to Cloud Hosting.  If you’re looking for a particular application, check the company’s website to see if it can be virtualized, or Google it.  If it can run on a server in your office, it can definitely be run in the Cloud.

Here in Nashville, we have several hosting companies that offer virtual server hosting.  The best known of these is Peak 10 – I can’t recommend them highly enough.