There are many reasons that could result in why your business is in need of more compute. Maybe you run a seasonal business, which spikes in the summer months, causing you to run out of capacity. Or you’re developing a mobile app, which will eat up a disproportionate amount of your compute resources during the six months of design, prototype iterations and testing.Or your business-critical applications are performing poorly, and you want to create more room for them.
You’ve got two choices. First, you can invest in extra computing power in the form of new physical servers, along with all of the storage, networking and associated resources they require. Or, you can go to a compute service in the cloud, on a pay-only-for-what-you-use basis.
On a cost basis alone, the answer is clear: get your additional compute from the cloud. You’ll save on both capital expenditures and operational costs. After all, your increased compute needs aren’t permanent. When autumn comes, or after the app is developed, your compute needs will go back to normal. If you invested in physical infrastructure, that investment would go unused until the next high selling season or the next app development cycle.
In such situations, a cloud compute service can be exceedingly useful.
Rent, Don’t Buy
Let’s face it, infrastructure provisioning and management takes time – time that you’d rather spend focusing on your business.
In the recent past, you had no choice. You had to overprovision your IT environment to make sure you always had enough. In fact, in pre-cloud days, it wasn’t uncommon to have “server sprawl,” with numerous servers that were vastly underutilized. It also wasn’t uncommon to have server utilization numbers hovering below the 30% range. And of course, in addition to the hardware and software you had to buy, you needed budget for the team to support and manage all of these servers.
But adding more compute is easier than you might think. Whether you want to move an app or a database to the cloud, or free up some compute space for your developer team, an on-demand cloud compute service could work for you.
A cloud compute service allows you to “rent” compute capacity in the cloud rather than buy it and keep it on premises. This option allows you to cost-effectively grow your compute capacity on demand – and shrink it down again when it’s no longer needed. This virtualized environment can be accessed over a public or private network and save you time, data center space and the OPEX costs involved in provisioning and maintaining a complex IT infrastructure.
What to Look for in a Cloud Compute Service Provider
There are a few things you should look for when evaluating cloud compute service providers.
- Flexibility: Your cloud compute vendor should be able to host virtually anything and make it accessible from anywhere in the world. This includes the proprietary apps and databases your business depends on, such as CRM and ERP systems.
- Performance: A leading cloud compute vendor will use native load balancing to ensure that performance is acceptable, even when processing or transactions peak. Load balancing involves dividing the amount of work that a computer has to do between multiple computers so that more work gets done in the same amount of time. Load balancing is critical for successfully accessing compute resources in the cloud.
- Service-Level Agreement (SLA): The SLA tells you the percentage of time that the compute resources are guaranteed to be “up,” or available. Choose a cloud compute vendor that offers a minimum of 99.9% SLA.
- Compliance: You may want to move applications to the cloud that contain sensitive information protected by regulatory mandates. Make sure your cloud compute vendor offers strict security for confidential things like online payments and user data, allowing you to meet PCI, HIPAA and CSA compliance requirements.
- Business Continuity: Your cloud compute vendor should also give you the advantage of protecting your business against disasters – natural or manmade – by storing your data in the cloud instead of locally at your premises.
- Pay-As-You-Go Cost Model: A great thing about cloud compute services is that you only pay for what you use, no CapEx required. The cloud provides the competitive agility and elasticity your business needs to get ahead.
- Support: Make sure your cloud compute vendor will be there when you need them. Support options should include self-service and live-person support available around the clock.
Just because you sometimes go over your compute capacity doesn’t mean you have to overprovision your data center. Today’s cloud compute services allow you to expand and contract your compute resources on demand – helping you become a more agile business while maintaining costs.