Unless you’ve been living off the grid, you’ve probably heard about this thing called “the cloud.”  It sounds cool, right?  But do you have any idea what it is?  And what it means for your organization?  Or how to leverage it to benefit you and your customers the most?

The cloud is just someone else’s computer!

They make t-shirts to that effect, anyway.  But it’s true.  When you put an app out in the cloud, you’re actually putting it on somebody else’s computer.  Sure, it may be a virtual machine (VM), but it STILL exists on hardware that is owned by somebody else.

So why should I care?  Why would I want to use somebody else’s computer?

The answer is threefold:  costs, scalability, and flexibility.

Please explain.  In English.

Sure!  First, costs are a big concern when you are embarking upon an IT infrastructure.  Costs of hardware, costs of internet connection, costs of maintenance and updates, cost of disaster recovery.  In three years when that high-end $10K server sitting in your closet is out of date, what do you do?  In the meantime, if that server turns out to be too slow, what do you do?  You have to upgrade.  Buy a new server, add memory, new processor, whatever it takes.  You have downtime, you have to buy the hardware, and you have to pay somebody to configure it all.

Which brings us to scalability and flexibility.  When the server in your closet runs out of steam, you’re out of luck.  You have to analyze the problem and throw more hardware at it.  As mentioned above, you have downtime and expenses. What happens when you launch a promotion and your server needs a temporary capacity increase?  You can’t buy memory and CPU power and then return it.  If you need to ramp up your server’s power, you do so permanently.

Another problem with hosting your own hardware is power.  If you don’t have a generator or massive battery backup, a simple power outage will cost your company huge amounts of money.  Likewise, if a construction crew down the road digs through your area’s internet backbone and you lose internet for three days, you have no recourse.

We’ve worked in environments where all of our servers were hosted internally, and we’re all fully aware of the challenges and the setbacks.

So how can the cloud help?

If you go with the right provider, the cloud can be an amazing tool for your business.  You only use the resources you require. You can auto-scale to meet demands.  Somebody else has to worry about uptime and hardware and internet connections and upgrades and resources.

In the right hands, the cloud will scale to meet your demands.  You can start with a simple server and as your business grows, with the click of a mouse, you can add memory and CPUs and disk space.  You can even add more servers when you need them. And if you get REALLY big, you can create server farms with failover capabilities.

You can schedule backups to the cloud.  Your cloud setup will have excellent power management capabilities along with redundant internet connections. Disaster recovery can be as simple as spinning up a new server instance from a disk image.

The costs of cloud computing are also much lower because you are spreading the hardware costs out among other businesses.  And in many instances, you are only paying for the computing power you use.  For example, you might shut down your cloud servers after business hours to save money.  Or you might scale up only under certain circumstances or loads.

How can Ravine Software help you with the cloud?

We can certainly help you!  We have several cloud computing partners, including Amazon AWS, and will help choose the right solution for you.  We will set up and manage your servers and help you host your email in the cloud.  We also develop apps that store data, including images and other files, on cloud storage solutions.

We offer backup solutions so that your servers and desktops are properly prepared for a disaster.  And we can monitor your system resources and work to scale them up when appropriate.

The cloud shouldn’t be dark and stormy. The cloud should be a happy place for you and your business, and that’s where we excel!  Please contact us today for more information!