Cloud solutions have waxed and waned in popularity, as people waffle over whether they embrace the technology or fear it. This gets a bit confusing when people consider the different options for cloud deployments, as terms like hosted, hybrid and on-premises are thrown around. What do these terms mean? Which is best for my business? These questions and more were discussed in a panel discussion at ITEXPO Las Vegas 2013.
The panel, moderated by Frank Ohlhorst of eWeek, featured three expert speakers: Kevin McMahan of nexMatrix Telecom, Skip Chilcott of Microsoft (News - Alert), and Bobbi Chester of Interactive Intelligence.
Chilcott dove right in to discuss the most important aspect of this topic: security. Companies need to consider cost and flexibility as well, so these three pillars must be considered and prioritized for each individual company trying to make the decision whether or not to move to the cloud.
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McMahan took the telecom point of view, explaining the managed services perspective, describing the advantages of this model while acknowledging that there are additional expenses. He pointed out that cloud does not necessarily mean managed, and the differences are important, as are the distinctions between these models and on-premises deployments.
The discussion turned to total cost of ownership, and Chester described how companies need to take a long-term look at the options, deciding which type of solution made better economic sense for an individual company. Chilcott broke it down to examine the issue of CAPEX vs. OPEX (News - Alert), explaining how each option related to the types of expenses, stating how enterprises and small businesses have different budgetary needs and restrictions.
Companies have different needs, from seasonal fluctuations to geographic diversity and more, so companies need to ask themselves what their needs are when considering a move to the cloud.
Reliability and cost were two topics that were discussed at length, exploring the pros and cons of each type of deployment. Failure and security concerns are prominent in the minds of business owners, and companies need to decide if they want control over their own equipment or put their faith in the hands of cloud providers who have SLAs that promise consistent uptime.
When deciding whether to move to the cloud, companies need to consider their networks, as heavy use of cloud solutions will put a strain on the network, which can lead to frustration.
In the end, it boils down to due diligence: what solution is the best will vary from company to company, situation to situation, but as long as companies do their research, they’ll find the best solution.