Clouded Judgment?

Monday 21 November 2011

At the start of this year I was really excited about what the Cloud can offer and how the current economic downturn was the ideal draw for companies to start taking it seriously.

How tempting is it to be able to off-load some of your back office systems and more mission critical systems and services onto the Cloud and save yourself a load of time, effort and money?

At the start of the year, I blogged enthusiastically about the Cloud.

It’s out there, it works and our own Business Intelligence software, CXAIR is a perfect fit for this kind of environment.

We have had some success! We have had some disappointments—

We have partners who are now deploying our software in the Cloud, however the take up of subscribers is slower than we had expected due to a mixture of paranoia and misconception.

Over the year there have been availability issues with the Amazon and Microsoft Clouds and of course the big hoo-ha surrounding hacked data from the Sony PlayStation Network—

All of these incidents strengthen the argument for having your software hosted on premise or in a secure hosted environment and weaken the argument that you’d be better off in the Cloud.

So what’s the perfect profile of a potential Cloud customer?

Someone willing to stick their toes in the water by moving non-critical systems to the Cloud?

New startups that don’t want any upfront hardware costs and don’t have the technical resource or time to run things for themselves?

Organisations deploying new services where the systems can be designed specifically around the Cloud without the legacy of a version that’s “worked” perfectly well as an on-premise solution prior to switching to the Cloud?

I have been approached recently about moving our email services to the Google Cloud.

What’s more, I have also started looking at some of the document and collaboration services available in the Google stack which are, lets face it, cheap as chips—

My main bug bare and probably most critical resource is Email.

We run Exchange internally and the hardware is starting to creek a little. Today I lost my email and was fiddling around on Microsoft Knowledge base, grasping at any straw available for a potential fix that would not result in me having to do a re-install.

To help, I asked one of our techies to try a few things out, wasting valuable time and money.

When I set off for work this morning with a list of tasks as long as my arm, I did not have “arse around with Outlook and Exchange for 2 hours” on my “todo” list.

So what’s the perfect profile of a potential Cloud customer?


Time is money and I’d rather log a call with a help desk and leave people to it to get a fix than spend my and my team’s time trying to track down a fault at the Companies expense.

Perhaps to move to the Cloud we all need to be bitten a few times by machine crashes and internal delays before we see the bigger picture. On premise is not without its issues and fixing these issues are often an intangible cost that might be more than you expect.

So going back to our Cloud solution, I think patience is the key. In the end we’ll all recognise that the Cloud is our friend.

Every Cloud has a Silver Lining—

Security will get more secure, networks will get faster and costs will get driven down.

And in the meantime, I’m never going to ask for our own Companies email server to get re-booted again! Google here we come.

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