With every new technology comes new surprises. The cloud is still an ever changing technology, as well as being a marketing term that means different things to different people. Here are a few of the surprises we have seen companies encounter since we started working with clouds (in 2007!)
The cloud brings multiple advantages: redundancy and reliability, scalability and more. A server in a datacenter only gets you a few of those advantages. When looking at cloud providers, gather data on how many datacenters they have, how much redundancy you will get, and service level agreements (SLAs). A true cloud should be geographically redundant (i.e. your servers can run in more than one physical location).
It may surprise you to find out that many cloud systems only include redundancy and not true backups. While a robust cloud will make sure it is close to 100% accessible, it does not protect you from things such as users deleting files. There is now a large industry of companies providing backup systems for cloud systems, such as Spanning which provides backup for Gmail and Office 365.
Does your new cloud platform accept scans from your existing equipment? How about username and password synchronization with your existing system? A whole new system to integrate and manage can cause your costs to quickly escalate, as well as cost your company more time.
One of the biggest selling points for the cloud is that any size business can leverage it and grow. If you are having to wait days or weeks for changes to happen, that can hinder your growth and ability to react to needs. Also watch out for long term contracts with the cloud, these hinder scalability by locking you in to what you need today, not necessarily tomorrow.
Despite the marketing hype, the cloud can and will break. Who do you call then? When using a large public cloud such as Amazon's AWS, Microsoft's Azure or Google Cloud Platform, find a reputable partner to work with. While the included support may be able to help you occasionally, a partner is going to be much more accessible and can help with planning implementation as well. A smaller provide should provide service level agreements (SLAs) outlining how quickly they will start working on issues, as well as how soon they will be resolved.
Private Cloud? Public Cloud? No Cloud? We can help. Technology Pointe is a Microsoft Cloud partner and also has provided private cloud solutions to our clients since 2007. Give us a call today!