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Evaluating Private Cloud Versus Public Cloud Options

There are times when private cloud is the right option, such as in instances where customization is necessary.Legacy systems can no longer keep pace with the performance and agility requirements of today’s enterprise. As a result, CIOs are feeling the pressure to move workloads to a cloud solution — but the public cloud’s standard offering isn’t a great fit for every enterprise. In some cases, where customization or scaling are part of the equation, private cloud makes more sense.

While many enterprises do choose the public cloud, there are still plenty of workloads housed in legacy systems and some in the private cloud. Choosing private cloud requires careful consideration, because it’s not as simple as buying a standard, off-the-shelf public cloud offering. Here are a few reasons to consider a private cloud solution:

Customization needs: Public cloud solutions often require companies to alter existing business processes in order to accommodate system operations. If there are particular tasks that cannot be altered to adjust for public cloud requirements, you may need to consider a private cloud solution.

Regulations and compliance: If you are in the healthcare or financial industries, there may be regulations that prevent you from implementing a public cloud environment for your IT needs. This may be due to security or privacy concerns, or because the data center may be in the wrong geographical location to meet industry standards.

Security: It can be argued that security in the public cloud is superior to anything that an on-premises legacy solution or a private cloud server can provide. What private cloud offers is a higher level of control over security. This equates to better visibility and the ability to make changes as necessary, without going through a public cloud services provider.

Option to switch to a hybrid environment: If you choose private cloud, you always have the option to utilize public cloud solutions through a hybrid approach. Once you’ve established your private cloud, you can access a public cloud solution that easily integrates with your private cloud, whereas choosing public cloud first can introduce some limitations to your ability to choose a hybrid solution later.

Public cloud doesn’t need to be a default setting for enterprises wanting to access the speed, scalability, performance, agility, and cost savings of a cloud environment.

T2 is here to help you achieve your business goals, whether you’re in the Bay Area or anywhere else in the world. Contact us today to learn more.

Factors to Consider When Choosing Between Colocation and Cloud Services

shutterstock_328634297When it comes to storage options, colocation and cloud services both offer tremendous cost savings for budget-minded businesses in need of an affordable and effective data storage solution. However, there are a number of pros and cons for businesses to consider as they determine which solution offers the best fit.

Consider Talent and Equipment

Businesses that already have considerable IT talent may consider the choice between colocation and cloud hosting from a cost/benefit point of view. Businesses with the skill set and budget to purchase and maintain their own equipment may see colocation as a better fit for their needs. The cost of leasing shared data center space may be more reasonable than building and maintaining in-house server space, especially when power and cooling costs are factored in.

On the other hand, businesses with a limited IT talent pool may find colocation to be a tremendous burden on staff and a drain on resources. In cases like this, cloud hosting may prove to be a more attractive option.

Room for Growth

As long as a business has the equipment budget and IT talent, colocation can offer an extremely scalable option for quick growth. However, some businesses may find it more financially advantageous to purchase additional storage in smaller increments from a cloud hosting provider.

Although the majority of cloud providers are flexible enough to accommodate fast growth among businesses, others may assess additional fees and penalties for clients who scale up heavily.

Compliance Requirements

Businesses that are required to comply with HIPAA, SOX, and other regulatory requirements should consider the risks of non-compliance when choosing between colocation and cloud hosting.

Colocation places the burden of compliance on internal IT staff, whereas most cloud providers are experienced with handling compliance issues. Colocation can also expose businesses to compliance-related liabilities, which could reach up to millions of dollars in penalties and lost business in the wake of a failed audit.

Assistance and Support Options

Support options for colocation and cloud hosting services can vary among providers. Some offer genuine 24/7/365 service, while others offer support that’s strictly limited to business hours. It’s crucial for businesses to consider their support needs before committing to a particular provider.

Some colocation providers offer “a la carte” services that provide on-demand assistance with installation, maintenance, and upgrade tasks. These services can be advantageous during periods when internal IT staff is unable to attend to those tasks.

For businesses interested in colocation, on-demand support services can be affordable for intermittent periods. However, heavy reliance on on-demand support could result in costs that exceed that of a hosted cloud.

Uptime Requirements

When it comes to near-100% uptime, self-managed hosting options may not offer the best choice unless the client has the IT experience to enforce data availability. Cloud hosting providers, on the other hand, can offer uptime guarantees that ensure continuous access to critical data. Businesses should make sure that their chosen provider has an established track record of meeting or exceeding their stated uptime guarantees prior to finalizing a service level agreement (SLA).

In the face of tight budgets, businesses are under pressure to keep their IT infrastructure intact using existing resources. These and the above mentioned issues may factor into a company’s choice between colocation and cloud hosting.

Why Ethernet Is the Best Choice for Business

For businesses that are considering a network upgrade, the implementation of a new network, or the addition of brand new functionality to an existing system, Ethernet is becoming the de facto standard. Ethernet comes in three main varieties: Standard, Fast, and Gigabit. Standard will provide up to 10 megabits per second (Mbps), Fast runs at up to 100 Mbps, and Gigabit can push up to 1,000 Mbps. With software tweaks and hardware settings, it is possible to provide almost any speed between 10 and 1000 Mbps.

There are numerous advantages to utilizing Ethernet for a corporate network, including ease of implementation, scalability, and flexibility. It also allows for the implementation of a host of useful features like virtual private networks (VPNs), Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP), both audio and video teleconferencing, and shared whiteboards.

Easy to Implement

The corporate network is the foundation on which all other services are built, and Ethernet provides the strongest foundation for the greatest variety of services. An Ethernet local area network (LAN) connects seamlessly to the wide area network (WAN), making it much easier for IT to extend functionality to the local level.

Scalable

In addition to the enormous bandwidth range it makes available, Ethernet allows for easy incremental bandwidth scaling. A company isn’t limited to the 10, 100, and 1,000 Mbps solutions mentioned above. Increases or decreases in bandwidth are possible in increments of 100 Mbps or even 10 Mbps.

Bandwidth Independent

Ethernet is bandwidth independent. Increasing or decreasing the size of the data pipe doesn’t generally affect the hardware used at all; the same wires and switches can be used for almost any speed of network.

Ethernet is, justifiably, the standard for business networks. Its ubiquity is the direct result of its ease of implementation, scalability, and flexibility, in addition to the laundry list of valuable functionality it enables. That’s not to say, however, that all implementations are the same. Different business situations require different combinations of hardware, software, and bandwidth, and determining what combination of those elements is right for a particular business can be challenging.

For more specific information on the options that are best for your business,contact us today.

The Benefits of Using Infrastructure as a Service

shutterstock_184875824Despite the increasing popularity of cloud services, Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) is often underutilized. Many businesses may not be aware that IaaS gives CIOs and CEOs the ability to take advantage of infrastructure as a means of expanding the company and increasing efficiency.

 
 

How IaaS Works

IaaS specifically deals with virtual services, including security strategies, maintenance, and backup, all through an Internet connection. Because IaaS is a per-use service, companies only need to pay for what they use, which can ultimately help them save money while being able to take advantage of the latest in cloud technology to enhance their business operations.

Why Use IaaS?

There are several reasons to use IaaS in business operations. With effective IaaS services, companies can see positive results in the long term, including:

Lowered Costs.​ One large advantage of IaaS is that it is inexpensive. Companies only need to pay for the specific aspects of IaaS that they use, helping them avoid spending more than they might with set monthly payments for services they don’t often use. IaaS also gives business owners the ability to rely on a smaller team of IT professionals without any increased risk of breaches or other issues.

Access to State-of-the-Art Technology. IaaS gives customers access to many innovative technologies that business owners can customize to meet specific needs. The limitations that come with other services aren’t there with IaaS, with technology freely available to help businesses evolve.

The Ability to Expand. IaaS allows businesses to grow because of outsourced IT. The less time companies have to spend focusing on the technologies they use for business platforms, the more they can return their focus to running the business. With a managed infrastructure handled by a devoted team offsite, business owners can spend much-needed time promoting their company and developing better business strategies.

Complete Scalability Based on Needs. IaaS is flexible and scalable, and accommodates technological needs as the business evolves. Companies can easily make changes without the hassle of completely changing the workspace and altering hardware or software.

Implement IaaS in Business Operations for Simplified Technology

IaaS gives businesses the chance to focus more on developing the company itself, without the pain of having to decide on the right technologies and deal with implementation. Outsourced IT through IaaS can help ensure that companies’ business platforms stay secure and efficient, with the ability to change on-demand. Contact us today to learn how we help businesses implement IaaS.

Important Considerations When Setting up a Data Center

shutterstock_388249231The requirements for storage and handling of business data have changed rapidly and dramatically over the past decade, and the amount of data and the number of ways in which businesses need to interact with it will continue to increase. This is why data centers are becoming a more vital part of business strategy every day. The decisions made when implementing a data center can mean the difference between success and failure. Following are some issues to keep in mind when setting up a data center.

​Location

There are two location options available for data centers: in-house or off-site. The need to lower costs and increase reliability and security is quickly turning the in-house data center into a thing of the past. Unless a business has specific needs that can only be met by having its data center on-site, there is really no reason to take on the equipment, setup, and maintenance costs that go along with it.

​Reliability

When selecting an off-site data center, make sure to consider the provider’s track record and infrastructure with regard to power supply, networking, and geographic location – both in terms of how likely natural disasters are to affect the data, and how easy it is for IT staff to physically visit and inspect the site. Ask about a service level agreement (SLA) and guaranteed uptime, keeping in mind that 99.999% uptime is an industry standard.

Security

In addition to the standard questions about point to point encryption, firewalls, and other software-based security measures, make sure to look into the physical security employed by off-site data centers. All the network security in the world won’t help if it is easy to gain physical access to a company’s data.

Network Capacity

In addition to looking at current bandwidth needs when setting up data centers, consider future needs based on growth projections. Further, be aware of the possibility of changing needs due to increased functionality.

​Scalability

As the business grows, downsizes, or shifts from one market to another, how easy would it be to make changes to the data center? It is important that data centers are as responsive as possible to accommodate changing needs.

Backup

One of the key components of a data center is data backup. If disaster strikes, are there copies of the data? How many iterations are kept? Are backups stored at a separate physical location?

Every business has its own unique needs that must be taken into consideration. Contact us for more specific advice on how to account for your business’s data center requirements.

Cut Through the Confusion to Understand the Benefits of the Cloud

shutterstock_127598501One of the most powerful benefits of cloud computing is that it creates a virtual work environment that can accommodate an increasingly distributed workforce.

More and more employees work in the field or from remote locations, which creates challenges when team members must work together. The cloud facilitates collaboration among employees in different locations by allowing them to access common data and applications wherever they are.

Businesses of all sizes are embracing the cloud to capitalize on this and other benefits, including the ability to access files on different devices. But many companies, especially small businesses, remain confused about what cloud computing is and if it’s the right choice for their company.

Cloud Benefits

Any major shift in IT operations deserves careful consideration and evaluation of its pros and cons. Following are three major benefits to consider when contemplating a move to the cloud.

Scalability. A business considering an investment in IT assets should assess which assets are currently needed, as well as how much capacity is necessary to meet existing demands. Further, planning for long-term needs is equally important.

Determining current needs is not too difficult, but understanding future requirements is a different story. The downside to guessing incorrectly is overspending for capacity that is never needed, or underspending and having to buy additional equipment later when the budget might be unavailable.

The cloud offers a tidy solution for companies that prefer not to roll the dice on predicting future requirements. When buying into a cloud service, companies can purchase the capacity and services they know they need now and then scale up or down later to meet future needs. The cloud also allows companies to adjust to operational peaks and valleys by allowing them to purchase capacity on an as-needed basis.

Simplified Project Management. In today’s electronic world, documents and files move easily among people and devices. Yet files and applications are still largely decentralized. Cloud services allow companies to centralize their data and applications, which allows for increased collaboration among employees and easier project management.

Document and correspondence history are stored and automatically updated, tasks can be created and tracked, and calendars can be generated to keep project members up to date. These tools can eliminate less efficient manual project management tools that require multiple platforms, such as spreadsheets and even handwritten notes.

The Bottom Line. Saving money usually tops the list of goals for any company looking to make an IT system change, and cloud computing offers several opportunities to realize cost efficiencies.

  • Eliminating capital expenditures on expensive physical equipment and software is a huge cost savings from day one.
  • Cloud services can eliminate some costs associated with employing in-house staff to maintain equipment.
  • Cloud computing services often provide a predictable and manageable pay-as-you-go billing model that is easier to fit into a budget than a large purchase of in-house equipment.

While many companies have already made the jump to cloud computing, some companies are waiting on the sidelines, trying to sort out fact from fiction. In reality, the cloud provides several potential benefits worth considering.

There are a number of cloud models to evaluate when making a cloud decision. Understanding the company’s current requirements and future goals will help determine the best path toward unlocking the potential of the cloud for any business.

How the Cloud Can Benefit Small Businesses

MSP & the cloudThere has been much buzz about the cloud in recent years and how it benefits big businesses, especially those with large storage and computing needs. Yet, small and medium-sized businesses can also realize great benefits from utilizing cloud resources.

Here are three ways small to medium-size businesses can benefit from leveraging an off-site, cloud resource.

Minimize Deployment Times and Increase Scalability

In the past, it was necessary for businesses to procure hardware and software systems to use as servers. It took time for the vendor and the IT department to install and deploy the necessary computers and software.

Now with cloud offerings available from service providers, businesses can be up and running within a very short time. The other benefit to using the cloud from a managed service provider (MSP) is increased scalability. The computing power can grow as the company grows or shrink accordingly. The customer only pays for what is used. Because it can grow as the company grows, there’s no need to purchase new equipment or software that can quickly become outdated.

Predictable Budget and Reduced Cost

Computer servers tend to be expensive. They require maintenance, upgrades, personnel, and other costs. No matter how knowledgeable and efficient the IT staff is, servers can and will have downtime issues. Because of their unpredictable nature, it’s hard to budget for data servers.

On the other hand, cloud services have various pricing levels and models. This can be attractive to small and medium-sized businesses with strict budgets. In addition, the business only pays for what the business uses, and payment plans make it easy to meet specific company needs and budgets.

Easier Online Collaboration and Coordination

One of the greatest benefits to working in a cloud environment is the ability to coordinate efforts on data and documents. No longer do employees have to email files to other team members, customers, or vendors. Files can be modified immediately and in real time. This allows for efficient collaboration and enables the company to be more flexible and agile in response to customer needs.

By utilizing the cloud, small and medium-sized businesses are able to take advantage of increased savings due to reduced cost, resources, and waste. Companies no longer have to worry about purchasing equipment that will quickly become outdated and overburdened. By leveraging the cloud, companies can focus on getting the job done rather than worrying about technology.