2011 is looking like the year of the Cloud; there is more news about it now and the types that you can get than ever before. Although I think it would be pertinent not to forget dedicated server and co-location as well as complex hosting.
Cloud Hosting Research
Forrester (the famous research organization) recently surveyed 53 IT professionals at North American and European enterprises to find out where they run their email, calendar, contact, and task list services (what Forrester refers to as messaging or email services).
They spoke directly with IT professionals at 12 of those firms and with executives at 21 vendors. From that foundation of primary research, they analyzed the costs of moving email to a cloud-based service provider.
Of the 53 firms Forrester surveyed, 36 were considering or have considered a change in their email delivery facility. Cost was the motivation for 15 of these enterprises, and a further 13 were triggered by a transition, a consolidation, vendor switch, or version upgrade.
In the words of some of the IT professionals that were interviewed:
“Three years from now when my license comes due, I’ll strongly evaluate hosted email options. In the meantime, driving down to a consolidated environment is huge. If every group has its own email server, it’s a nightmare.” (Manufacturing company)
“We understand that IT isn’t a core competency for us; it’s a support mechanism. Do we need to spend time and resources to support email? We’re looking at ways to cut costs.Outsourcing email might be something we can do.” (Manufacturing company)
Not just for e-mail
Of course it’s not just for e-mail, people putting their whole system in the cloud, but this research just goes to show how important it’s all becoming. As a potential consumer of Cloud Hosting whether you’re a large blue-chip corporation or a small start-up I think it’s important to you to find out which of these really is what you want. Just because cloud is everywhere in the media as well as the buzzword of every blog, does not mean it is right for you?
Which way should you go?
I think you have to ask yourself some pertinent or probing questions about exactly the type of service you want. If you’re someone like Betfair or bettowin it’s likely that you’ll be under much more sustained pressure from outside influences, hackers and periodical shifts in demand than say someone like Argos (who could maybe have a couple of seasonal demands at Christmas and at new years sale time). Although it should be worth pointing out that both Argos and Paddy Power probably want the highest security possible to protect their customers from any sort of shenanigans.
When the Grand National is on, one would expect Paddy power and all the gambling sites have a much higher demand than just after Christmas…and of course House of Fraser, Argos and the main retailers e-commerce websites will always be under huge pressure before and after Christmas for the January sales
Buying this product is similar I suppose like with every purchase… buying a car is often a trade-off between quality and price and people like Skoda and possibly some of the Japanese and Far East brands sit well in between price and quality and do a very good job of it
The “IBM’ decision
In our industry I suppose there is a lot of what we call the “IBM decision”.
Way back in the last century (seems funny to say that now) in the 1980s and early 90s there was an old saying that “nobody got fired for buying IBM”. Today I think there is a certain amount of hangover from that in the data centre, co-location, dedicated server, cloud server industry.
People want to be safe, nobody wants to get sacked for helping out the little guy. I suppose the choice is to try and purchase from somewhere in the middle. But if you have the money to pay for something which is pretty similar but comes at a much higher price with supposed peace of mind.
As they say the choice is yours.