The word “cloud” is thrown about widely in IT as a bus everyone should be on or be getting on. Everyone seems to be having their own cloud considerations. The truth is most data centers today are operating ‘cloud-style’ or nearly so. The ‘on-premises private cloud’ is the technology foundation for most organizations. Here Evan Hildebran from the Services Team answers some commonly asked questions about the Cloud.

Q: Under what circumstances might a business choose to deploy an off-premises cloud—either private, hybrid, or public?

A: This is case-by-case and it would be up to the company to decide how they could use off-premise cloud. I would need a use case to architect the solution. Once you have a use case for a customer’s environment established then you can build a cloud solution around it. Every situation is different. There isn’t really a way to build a use case for each cloud offering without knowing how the company operates its IT department first.

Q: What is important to watch out for in your SLA?

A: This is completely up to the company and their needs. It will also dramatically affect the price. Uptime, security, environmental, backups, disaster recovery, data integrity, data snapshots, replication, response time, support levels – this can get very detailed. Supported hours, software, OS, and hardware update requirements…this is just a very, very small part of the list. Every SLA is different and every company’s needs are different.

Q: When would you move apps to the cloud?

A: This is difficult to answer because I feel like cloud is just a form of outsourcing but, I can see where moving commoditized applications to the cloud makes sense. Applications like email or Blackboard require a lot of specialized hardware and labor skills that a lot of companies don’t have and cannot afford. That’s when it is a good idea to have an application in the cloud. When a small company cannot afford a proper data center to house production equipment or support the environment it is always a good decision to put the environment in the cloud and it can be very competitively priced. It’s a win-win for the company and the IT department.

Q: What if you have seasonal workloads?

A: Seasonal workloads or end-of-month workload are very good candidates for onsite or offsite Infrastructure-as-a-service. Depending on the workload you can have extra infrastructure onsite or offsite that can be turned on during the workload spike. Then you are only billed for the infrastructure you use during that time. This could save a company thousands or even hundreds of thousands of dollars over time.

Q: Does “cloud” save on labor costs?

A: In the long run it might save on labor cost but typically “cloud” is more expensive overall than keeping hardware, software, and labor all in house. In some organizations it may be more palatable to outsource than to add more individuals to the payroll. The organization’s ability to attract and retain tech talent is a consideration, and due to cost of living differences, geography can be a big factor as well.