Heavy metal and the cloud

Heavy metal and the cloud

While it may seem that all technical transformation today is cloud-based, in the end all those software solutions are doing their head banging, including computing and virtualization, on metal servers no matter how they’re deployed. In this article we discuss the importance of the physical data center that powers your business.

We also look at the other side. While no app is viable without a machine to run it, cloud frequently offers the most efficient environment to improve your organization’s processes, keep up with customer demand, and generate more revenue and profits. So we’ll also take a look at the concerns SMB CTOs and CIOs often cite about transitioning an IT team to operate within a cloud infrastructure.

As with all things, the foundation enables the structure above it, so we’ll start with the key role that the physical infrastructure plays in running your application solutions, be they traditional or cloud-based.

Leverage data infrastructure for agility and cost efficiency

Host-Telecom.com has built our business providing the physical infrastructure and server networking that enable software solutions. Our staff are experts in data hosting and colocation of servers that we provide, configure, and manage, designing a custom solution based on your requirements. If you aren’t sure what those requirements are, we figure that out in our consultations with you and build what you need.

If your IT team has always handled your data processing on-prem, let’s consider the expense of that and the cost-benefit of working with an infrastructure provider.

In-house data operations can be more costly than you realize

Handling your own data center infrastructure internally comes with extreme capital expenditures for real estate, energy, and management. In addition, a staff spending its time maintaining current processes rarely has the opportunity to research and implement newer cloud technologies for more efficient operations-expenditure models that can handle the ebb and flow of customer traffic and expedite processes that increase profits.

Data center expertise for every software solution

Keeping you competitive, Host-Telecom creates an infrastructure solution for traditional apps on our servers, servers you colocate in our data center, or on servers you rent from us and house at your location.

We also accommodate cloud-based software on bare metal or virtualized in the cloud. We provide the infrastructure expertise no matter what solution you want to deploy and charge you only for compute time and backups. Our low energy and server costs keep our prices extremely reasonable.

Next we’ll look at how a real customer solved a serious problem working with Host-Telecom.

So what has Host-Telecom done for its customers?

An example of the physical infrastructure services we provide is an intricate environment we constructed for Mirantis’ OpenStack test lab. As a software company, Mirantis did not want to spend the money building a data center and buying servers to test their solutions in a real production environment. Neither did they have the internal expertise to install, configure, and manage it.

They turned to Host-Telecom to build the physical infrastructure and implement ongoing configurations that allowed them to test Mirantis OpenStack Cloud software just as customers would use it in production.

Rather than relying on a virtual mish-mash of test servers with unreliable results, with our help Mirantis was able to evaluate their solutions and address user issues before customers deployed it while avoiding the costs of building their own data center.

Cloud - To look or to leap?

While it’s comforting to realize a good data infrastructure provider can support your business, you may still harbor doubts about implementing cloud solutions. The head of IT and the staff may be leery of working in a cloud environment, and they often just don’t have time to research the best options, whether those are bare metal servers running cloud solutions or a completely virtualized server environment.

You don’t have to virtualize to take advantage of cloud

You should know that cloud can be your virtual friend as well as your bare metal buddy. According to the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), cloud requires on-demand elasticity and measured services, but not virtualization.

In fact, dedicated bare metal servers can be the best solution for applications with extreme performance sensitivities because all resources are dedicated to the application, providing greater processing power with more consistent disk and network I/O performance.

When virtualization is the the best option

The great advantage of using virtualized cloud is in a highly dynamic environment where performance isn’t the top issue. For example, apps that spin up or down quickly or for a temporary time are a great fit in a completely virtualized cloud environment.

So what else is on your mind about cloud? We know there’s something, so let’s get down to it.

The cloud is much more than an over-the Internet connection

While we see cloud doesn’t necessarily mean virtualization, maybe you’re still suspicious about using a data center provider and cloud solutions. To those concerns, I offer this rather blunt quote from an article by Mary Branscombe in ZDNet last year in which she describes what cloud has to offer at a fundamental level:

“... cloud is a hyperscale, automated computer farm run by someone who's better at automation and security than you, and can buy electricity and servers and network connectivity more cheaply than you because they buy so much of it and if you want all the benefits of cloud you have to design things to achieve that.”

While candidly expressed, Branscombe certainly conveys the larger issues to consider for data infrastructure transformation.

Enterprise pressures and SMB inhibitors

Equally candid is Jason Perlow in his ZDNet “Why you're still scared of the Cloud (it's not about security or reliability)” blog, in which he says that though it’s easy for SMBs to take advantage of cloud-based infrastructure and workloads, that they’re more resistant to make the move than the enterprise because they’re afraid of the unknown.

As an SMB consultant, Perlow relates that he can transform a company’s data infrastructure to improve processes and increase agility for business growth, but says that the enterprise C-Suite is under more immediate pressure to reduce capital expenditures and expedite operations so is often a more willing cloud adopter than the IT department at an SMB, although the latter can reap the same rewards.

Cloud too complicated for SMBs? No, it isn’t

As for other inhibitors, Perlow relates stories of SMBs citing concern about the reliability and security of the cloud as the biggest hurdle to adoption. Pulling no punches, he calls such excuses a “red herring,” saying quality cloud solutions are more resilient, reliable, and secure than any data center an SMB could build.

Perlow then makes his knockout statement about data transformation: “Here's a dirty little secret: The IT people [are] using redundancy and security as an excuse for saving their own jobs.”

OK… ouch. Let’s take that opinion under advisement rather than go down a rat hole and instead  turn our attention to how Host-Telecom can help you make your company more productive, profitable, and flexible. We’ll also address some excellent reasons for you to work with data infrastructure providers to move to the cloud, including increased job satisfaction and potentially greater personal financial rewards.

Getting IT on the lucrative happy train

Citing factors contributing to greater IT job satisfaction, IDG’s 2017 State of the CIO report notes an increased CIO emphasis on more complex, higher-value activities along with improvements in automation. Survey respondents see functional duties decreasing to 7% over the next few years from the current 20%.

With the growth in responsibilities, 63% of transformational CIOs and 71% of strategic CIOs said their work was more rewarding in comparison to 46% of functional CIOs.  Interestingly, SMB CIOs’ salaries increased to $214,020 on average compared to $190,000 last year, while enterprise CIO salaries, although higher on average, declined.

Instead of just surviving, IT can thrive

With decreased focus on just “keeping the lights on,” changes in CIO job satisfaction and salary seem to correlate to technology advances that allow them to focus “on higher-value, high visibility activities.” But how does the CIO start the company, and most importantly the IT staff, down that more strategic path?

Enable your team to learn cloud in a “safe” environment with outside expertise

A CIO with success moving IT teams into a cloud framework is Shutterstock and former Revlon CIO David Giambruno. Key to the transition, he says, is taking “the fear out of the cycle” and making staff feel safe exploring cloud alternatives for data center management, including consulting external data infrastructure providers.

Transform your IT team from firefighters into strategists

The combination of outside expertise and infrastructure while minimizing data center maintenance means transforming a company into a digital economy player, Giambruno says.

At both Shutterstock and Revlon, his teams stopped concentrating on putting out data center fires and instead learned to proceed with cloud solutions, moving all but five Revlon apps to the cloud. He maintains that IT’s role isn’t to stand around and look smart, but "to enable the business to turn around and move forward."

Making the first step, and second and third

Giambruno illustrates both the challenges and some practical advice for moving your business forward with data transformation. The first step is recognizing that you may be behind.

Even as IT Transformation in the data center is underway and many companies are getting serious about cloud, a recent study from IDG Research in conjunction with Dell EMC reports that 95 percent of responding IT leaders say that their organizations are vulnerable to competition from a small group of industry elites that are optimizing their existing infrastructures to meet business goals.

Host-Telecom.com solutions - a personal touch at a more affordable price

Now that you’ve recognized the need to transform your data infrastructure, you may need outside expertise to ask you questions and analyze your needs to ensure you get the solution that really works for your organization.

Contact the professionals at Host-Telecom.com to discuss your business goals and growth potential to ascertain your requirements. We’ll help you decide if you should offload the considerable capital expenditure of data center real estate, maintenance, updates, data backups and protection, or if you have a circumstance that’s better handled on-prem.

What’s included

At prices that beat the considerable investment of building and maintaining your own data center and the high cost of one-size-fits-all cloud solutions from competitors such as AWS and Microsoft Azure, Host-Telecom provides free installation and maintenance. You pay only for computing power and restoration time if you require a data backup.

Remote access allows you to connect to data center servers from anywhere using almost any device, including PCs, tablets, workstations, and handhelds. Cloud Virtual Desktops supplies you with the tools you need to connect from around the world with the assurance of flexible cloud services based on OpenStack.

We use our own solutions in-house to ensure 24x7 best-in-class Remote Desktop support with the computing power you need and the flexibility to expand on-demand. Our experts are ready to take your call at any time of the day or night. Hardware and software licensing for multiple servers are also included to enable replication, compression, and other needs without increased expense.

Subscription services for enhanced functionality

In addition, Host-Telecom.com also offers several subscription services for expanded cloud backup storage, disaster recovery solutions, VMware migration, and more.

Backup to the Cloud offers enhanced data backup security and retrieval even when onsite errors severely compromise its integrity. In case of complete infrastructure failure, our Disaster Recovery Service provides immediate deployment in Host-Telecom.com’s data centers in addition to data backup.

Based on the same technology, Host-Telecom.com also offers VMware vSphere to Cloud Migration to help you move to OpenStack cloud with minimal downtime while taking advantage of lower-cost infrastructure operations costs and support services without additional licensing fees.

Transform your data center for speed and efficiency

Like most of the the preceding quotes, this one from Giambruni cuts to the chase when addressing the need for data transformation with the help of infrastrastructure experts: "You need time to innovate and transform the company” he says. “There's no time to fix things. Getting to software-defined everything means massive efficiency.”

Contact Host-Telecom.com to begin improving your efficiency and increasing revenue with an agile, robust business infrastructure that keeps you ahead of the competition.


Why you're still scared of the Cloud (it's not about security or reliability)

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Latest IDG research: Strategic CIOs happier and better paid

Shutterstock CIO on Leadership: Reduce the Cycle of Fear

If Everything is a Service, Why Do We Need Data Centers?

The Right Questions to Ask About Data Center Strategy

CIO priorities: How to set goals that matter | ZDNet

Three ways to survive the rise of the cloud and 'big software'

Bare metal vs. virtual machine cloud: Which option is right for me?


Denise Boehm

Denise Boehm


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