“The Cloud”, everyone’s favorite buzzword from 10 years ago, what has it become, is it a viable solution? Let’s unpack this. There’s a joke in the IT world that the cloud is just someone else’s computer, and that’s basically true. When it comes to the cloud, there are basically two options, vendor hosted/provided, or a build your own solution in something
like Microsoft’s Azure (now Entra) or Amazon’s AWS. Let’s breakdown the main considerations when contemplating a possible cloud migration.
Performance needs are one of the first things we think about when discussing a possible cloud migration with a client. For low performance simple needs such as file sharing, the cloud is fantastic. However, if you have anything that is database driven, or needs a lot of resources, you can often buy a new on-prem server every 8 to 16 months and still get
better performance than most cloud hosted solutions, especially when it comes to disk I/O, which is what databases such as SQL and SAP need to be performant.
Cost vs cashflow is another consideration for our clients. Sometimes, you have an incredibly stable and steady income, whether you are providing services to your clients for a monthly fee, grant money, or other contractual recurring revenue streams. In these cases, it may be easier to simply pay a higher monthly cost for cloud services vs a large lump sum payment every three to five years for server hardware and software upgrades. This is the same trade off you get for buying Office 365 at a monthly subscription vs paying a lump sum every few years for a perpetual license.
Location and infrastructure are also key considerations. Many locations that are further off the beaten path may have only slow internet connections available, perhaps they’re more prone to power outages and/or Internet outages. Some areas don’t have a reliable secondary Internet connection available at all. These concerns can play into whether it’s better to have your data and software running under your roof or out in the cloud. What good is it for your systems to maintain uptime if you can’t reach them?
Radcomp’s recommendation is usually, let your vendor host it unless you have security/compliance concerns, reliability concerns or it’s incompatible with your needs. This is advantageous because if they are both the software provider and the hosting solution, there is no opportunity for finger pointing when an issue arises. When you’re hosting your own environment in Azure or AWS and then install their software, they can, and often may, claim that the issue is not with the software, but the way it was installed, or the cloud networking configuration, etc. When they’re responsible for it all, they may have those conversations internally, but you don’t have to be the one to prove to them that you followed their instructions.
The second reason why having a vendor host the solution is because it’s typically a more affordable option. They already have the platform running in their hosting solution of choice and it doesn’t cost much more to add a new client to that environment. When you spin up your own environment to run the one product, you must provide, and pay for, all the
foundational bits to make it work. It’s very similar to making a batch of cookies, it’s nearly as much work to make two cookies as it is to make a dozen cookies. You still must measure the flour, the baking powder, the sugar, eggs, water, etc.The amounts used are slightly different, but nothing was really saved.
The cloud has become much more viable for many businesses and definitely deserves a closer look at your current needs and whether those can be met with less on-prem infrastructure.