Michael Reynolds in General on Tuesday, April 2, 2013
"Put it in the cloud!" This seems to be the battle cry of the decade as more and more organizations are moving to a cloud-based hosting structure. At SpinWeb, we make use of cloud-based website hosting to serve our clients and we sometimes get questions about it.
One of our trusted hosting partners is Verio, and so we decided to sit down with Fred White, VP of Product Management at Verio, for some answers. We think you'll find our conversation illuminating!
SpinWeb: How do you define cloud hosting?
Fred: Verio would generally define Cloud Hosting as convenient, on-demand access to a shared pool of computing resources that enables users to leverage servers, storage, and apps anywhere in the world, any time. However, we internally believe that Cloud Hosting is really about making high-quality, scalable, and reliable resources available at a price people can afford and at a very high level of customer satisfaction.
SpinWeb: Why are some people still confused about what cloud hosting means?
Fred: It’s understandable that there are so many different notions about Cloud. For nearly a decade, there has been enormous hype around the concept of Cloud, and endless ideas have been presented about the benefits that it can provide. This is actually a good thing: the public discussion has been a very effective way to move Cloud innovations forward, and it also provides a strong incentive to deliver solid solutions. So, while people are still confused, the reality is that Cloud Hosting and Cloud Services in general are becoming absolutely pervasive, and it almost won’t matter in a short period of time because virtually all hosted services will be some variant of “Cloud.”
I’m not sure if that means the term “Cloud” will go away over time – after all, it’s not like you hear a lot of people talking about Application Service Providers anymore even though that was the hot sector for quite a while, but they are still all over the place (as “Cloud” providers, mainly) and we just take the term for granted – but it really will become more trivial because so much of what we do in our personal and professional lives will happen “in the Cloud.”
SpinWeb: What is the biggest misconception about cloud hosting?
Fred: There seem to be a lot of worries around security with Cloud. The fact is that most of your data is already stored on servers in a datacenter today, and Cloud doesn’t change that. What does change is that Cloud usually means you get high availability, high durability, and overall better management and maintenance of servers. For most users, this means improved security with Cloud vs. traditional servers.
SpinWeb: How do you know if you need cloud hosting?
Fred: Cloud is perfect for companies who are technology-dependent, but not technology-centric. So, if you want to focus more on your business and less on the technology you need to run it, Cloud-based solutions are a great option for you.
SpinWeb: What are the biggest advantages of cloud hosting over traditional web hosting?
Fred: The biggest advantage of Cloud is that you can “outsource” much of your IT. Cloud enables you to get rid of the ongoing overhead associated with running your own network, hardware, and even applications. With Cloud, you go to a specialist (a Service Provider who knows what it takes to keep things moving) so that you can spend your valuable time growing your business, not your IT department.
SpinWeb: What are some of the biggest disadvantages of cloud hosting?
Fred: Perhaps the biggest problem for the current state of the industry is providers who aren’t willing to admit that not every workload is appropriate for the Cloud, and they try to force solutions that just aren’t in the customer’s best interest.
A classic example is an environment where very large files are worked on collaboratively – so think a graphic design firm or an architect’s office. In that kind of environment, having everything on a very fast, local area network is more appealing than having to rely on an external network or an internet connection. The performance simply won’t be appealing to the end-user. Now, that isn’t to say that there aren’t still some great use cases in for these situations – like long-term file retention as an example – but for real-time collaboration on large files, Cloud would be cumbersome. This will change over time as quality, high-speed connectivity is available pervasively, but can present a problem in the short-term.
SpinWeb: Besides Verio, who is doing cloud hosting really well?
Fred: A lot of service providers are doing a great job of Cloud: Amazon, SoftLayer, Rackspace and more are providing solid Cloud Hosting. This is another great thing about Cloud: you don’t need to be limited to one service provider, because Cloud is more of an ecosystem. You can find providers whose strengths match your needs, and even combine solutions between providers.
SpinWeb: What types of organizations are typically showing up as "early adopters" of cloud hosting?
Fred: Technically-oriented business, such as application developers and MSPs seem to be the first to the starting line. However, many more general businesses are beginning to see the benefit of outsourcing their IT as well.
SpinWeb: What is the future of cloud hosting?
Fred: A lot of the solutions that companies pay big money to have as part of their IT today will become available to smaller players. Because the tools you have at your disposal can help you run a more efficient business, this can be big news. It can begin to level the playing field for SMBs who want to grow but don’t have the time, budget, or tools at their disposal today.
SpinWeb: Anything else you would like to add?
Fred: Our focus has always been on the SMB market -- and particularly the partners who service this market. We have been fortunate to have our partners provide input on Cloud over the past several years – and continue to provide input – to help us shape our future Cloud development. We see our partners changing their approach to business and solutions with the increased adoption of Cloud Hosting and look forward to working with partners in the future to help them adopt this technology as a standard part of their business.
As Vice President of Product Management, Fred White leads all of Verio's product initiatives including its core service offering as well as identifying and evaluating emerging technologies for inclusion in the company's future product portfolio. With almost two decades of success in bridging business and technology, White works collaboratively with Verio's customers and partners worldwide to ensure the delivery of innovative, market leading solutions that meet both current business requirements as well as future business growth.