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Does the cloud have to be so complicated?

It’s been more than a decade since the launch of the first rudimentary cloud platforms. We’ve come a long way since then. Billions of people interact with the cloud every day. Many of the largest companies in the world run their IT operations on cloud platforms, and so do hundreds of thousands of smaller businesses. But there are still reasons for businesses to be cautious.

Many business leaders recognize how useful Infrastructure-as-a-Service could be to their company, but they are hesitant to make the leap from on-premises or colocated legacy systems to cloud hosting for business-critical applications. That is partly due to inertia: if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. But it is also in large part due to concerns about the risk posed by the potential for a botched cloud migration. We’ve all heard stories of businesses sinking millions of dollars into a cloud migration that didn’t work out, costing vastly more than it would have to do nothing at all.

No doubt cloud consultants think there isn’t much wrong with the way things are, but cloud vendors who take responsibility for helping their clients with cloud migrations would have a strong competitive advantage.

  • Security and compliance

When I talk to businesses about moving to the cloud, their number one concern is regulatory compliance. How does a cloud user know that their applications and services will remain compliant with HIPAA or PCI DSS once they no longer control the infrastructure layer?

Certifications and business associate agreements go some way to solving that problem, but it would allay worry if cloud vendors were prepared to work with individual clients, including smaller businesses, providing the help they need to build infrastructure deployments suitable for hosting sensitive workloads.

  • Cost

Cloud server hosting is less expensive than buying, maintaining, and managing server hardware. Cost reduction is one of the major motivations for adopting cloud platforms in the first place. But maximizing the cost benefit isn’t a given; it is possible to mismanage cloud resources, spending more than necessary and undercutting any potential cost benefit.

Of course, it is not in the financial interest of most cloud vendors to stop their clients from spending more than they have to, but providing utilization monitoring services and consulting with clients on the efficient use of cloud servers would go a long way to helping them use the cloud as efficiently as possible.

  • Complexity

The issues we’ve discussed can be reduced to a problem of complexity: mainstream cloud platforms are simply too complex.

Convoluted pricing structures, Byzantine management interfaces, and a lack of meaningful support from cloud vendors increases the chances that a cloud migration will go awry and decreases the chances that businesses will have the confidence to embrace a beneficial technology.

There is room in the market for a wide range of cloud vendors, from platforms that provide services and no support to hands-on service providers who are happy to help clients build solutions and achieve the full potential of on-demand, elastic, and flexible cloud infrastructure.

Also read: In the cloud era, Dedicated Servers remain an attractive option

About Guest Author-

Karl Zimmerman is the founder and CEO of Steadfast, a leading IT Data Center Service company. Steadfast specializes in highly flexible cloud environments, robust dedicated and colocation hosting, and disaster recovery.

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In the cloud era, Dedicated Servers remain an attractive option

You have to hand it to cloud vendors — they have incredible marketing. If you are new to infrastructure hosting, you might be forgiven for thinking that the cloud is the only option, that anything else is just so last century.

In reality, dedicated servers remain the go-to infrastructure platform for many experienced engineers. Why? Because dedicated servers are cost effective, offer unbeatable performance, and, most importantly, control.

A dedicated server is just what it sounds like: a powerful computer with on-board processors, RAM, and storage, located in a data center that provides power, cooling, and redundant connections to the Internet.

Cloud platforms use virtual servers, on top of which they layer a hypervisor, guest operating systems, and the user’s software. Dedicated servers are sometimes called bare metal servers because your operating system and software run as close to the physical hardware — the bare metal — as possible.

There are good reasons for a virtualization layer: if you want to deploy dozens of servers in seconds, you want a cloud platform. But that’s not what most server hosting customers need.

  • Cost Effective

Dedicated servers have a reputation for being expensive which isn’t entirely undeserved. On average, a dedicated server costs more than a cloud server, and the cheapest cloud servers are less expensive than the cheapest dedicated servers. But if you compare the price-to-power ratio, dedicated servers come out way ahead. A cloud server with equivalent resources to a particular dedicated server is almost certainly more expensive.

Dedicated servers provide the most bang for the buck.

  • Performance

Because dedicated server software runs close to the bare metal, there’s no virtualization overhead. Every resource is applied to your workload. Additionally, dedicated servers scale further vertically than cloud servers — if you need a really powerful server, go dedicated because you’ll pay less while benefiting from a more powerful machine.

  • Privacy and Security

Public clouds are multi-tenant hosting environments: many organizations use the same underlying hardware. Now, while that’s not necessarily a problem, cloud users have no insight into the underlying network, virtualization layer, and hosting environment. They simply don’t know how seriously the platform takes security or privacy.

  • Control

Most importantly, bare metal dedicated servers provide complete control: it’s your server and you can do whatever you want with it. Managing the server is your responsibility. It’s up to you to keep it secure. But if you know what you’re doing, that’s by far the best scenario. I can’t tell you how often I’ve commiserated with experienced system administrators as they wait for their cloud vendor to fix something that they could fix in minutes if only they had access and control.

For experienced server admins, it doesn’t get much better than an enterprise-grade dedicated server.

Also read: 5 Cloud Computing Predictions for 2018 that will define the cloud industry for good

About Guest Author-

Chris Schwarz is the CEO of Cyber Wurx, a premium colocation services provider with a world-class Data Center in Atlanta, Georgia that also specializes in Dedicated Server Hosting and VPS Hosting. Check out their hosting blog at https://cyberwurx.com/blog/.

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