Turning business habits on their head to get better results is always a great way to change the game.
If you take a traditional approach to installing a new business application or database on a server, you follow a traditional path of scoping the requirements of the application and specifying a server infrastructure. You are careful not to go too big on the server hardware as you will pay for what you purchase and be stuck with it for three or more years.
When you get it wrong, you either spend a lot of money on an oversized server, by many thousands of dollars, or you finish up with a server that underperforms and needs to be upgraded, which is typically an expensive project in itself.
Now, in the era of cloud servers, you can turn this on its head. Order a larger than anticipated virtual server before you go live. Make sure it has more capability than you could possibly need and then over the first month, monitor its performance.
Now you can dynamically scale back the specifications for storage memory or processor capacity to suit what is needed and you have only paid a few dollars for the extra capacity during the initial stage.
Going forward you will pay for exactly what you need and be able to dynamically upgrade if the demand on the server increases over time. This approach means there no longer needs to be wasted capacity in single purpose servers across your business. The cost savings to an organisation can be in the many thousands of dollars.
The technology I am talking about here is virtual private cloud, often called Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS). There are many reasons to adopt private virtual servers in the cloud: speed of delivery, flexibility, scalability, ease of including DR even on short-term requirements, centralisation for dispersed workforce, mobility and so much more.
Today there are many options for hosted infrastructure, from Amazon to Microsoft to Telstra, who have invested $800 million on their platform and smaller providers all competing for your business.
These services are becoming more robust and more competitively priced as there are more players in the market with suitable products. Different applications do require different technology platforms and security, and privacy still needs to be considered, so design and selection is as important as ever.
Of course, there are also hosted applications for some tools that remove the need for any server at all. Do keep an eye on these developments in 2014 to ensure you are making the right infrastructure decisions for your business systems for the long term.
You don’t want to be the only person using old technology at high cost when your competitors have moved on to reduce the cost of doing business.
David Markus is the founder of Combo – the IT services company that is known for solving business problems with IT. How can we help?
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