Getting the Best from Cloud-Based Computing Services
This topic is running hot right now, for very good reasons. There are strong marketing campaigns identifying the benefits of migrating all or part of your IT infrastructure over onto cloud-based service companies.
Take what most independent advisers are saying about the benefits of the cloud. One government site in Australia had this to say…
“Cloud computing offers your business many benefits. It allows you to set up what is essentially a virtual office to give you the flexibility of connecting to your business anywhere, any time. With the growing number of web-enabled devices used in today’s business environment (e.g. smartphones, tablets), access to your data is even easier. There are many benefits to moving your business to the cloud: Reduced IT costs, Scalability, Business continuity, Collaboration efficiency, Flexibility of work practices, Access to automatic updates”
That’s as good an endorsement as you could get from a person who is not trying to sell to you. Certainly, you can build a strong case supporting a decision to migrate some or all of your IT onto the cloud.
However, once you are a cloud-based service consumer, what should you be looking for? With such an impressive list of benefits, could there be any down-side?
Thinking of this, I remembered a phrase that President Ronald Reagan used when negotiating one of the most important deals in modern history. Speaking of making an agreement with Russia over arms limitations, he said “Trust but Verify”. It’s one thing to have your high expectations, but never let this blind you to the need to keep measuring the results to make sure you are getting what you paid for.
Take some advice … Trust but Verify ( Доверяй, но проверяй)
Hidden inside the cloud is the possibility that what you end up with is not what you started with. This can be accidental or maybe a deliberate move by the service provider.
For example, one of the great positive aspects of cloud-based services is the guarantee of high-availability. Failover servers, virtual servers, shared storage, parallel networks, etc are all there to provide immediate switching in case your native server stops. But there’s no way to guarantee that the new server, network or drive that kicks in to replace it has the same performance characteristics as the one you are used to. The first sign of a problem will be complaints from your users of delays in responses, like idle times waiting for a screen to display. Equally, there’s no guarantee that when the problem that switched you out of the original service is repaired (if it’s ever repaired), you will be switched back on to it.
To keep you on top of the situation, you need a strong monitoring service that keeps track of the performance of every aspect of the physical and operations environment. AimBetter does this for you, tracking over 400 metrics of server behavior, and just as importantly, in the case of cloud-based services, reports on changes in the infrastructure when they occur. If you’ve been switched over to a different server – AimBetter will alert you. If there’s a degradation in network speed or bandwidth – AimBetter will alert you. If switching to different storage impacts on speed and capacity – AimBetter will alert you.
Don’t just rely on your cloud-service providers’ promises – trust … but verify – with AimBetter.