Choosing your cloud hosting provider is an important decision. How to choose the correct provider depends on what your priorities are concerning your data and your computing needs.
Cloud Driver: Features vs Price
Often a hosting provider will offer all you ever need, but at a price that s not sustainable. Sometimes the price may be perfect, but there are a few missing features.
It all comes down to what your priorities are as a business. If cost is no object and you are planning on using at least some of the features of the more expensive provider, by all means do a case study and compare the cost vs features. Often, such a comparison shows you either that you can only use that cloud provider as no one else can or will provide those features. In this case, you are increasing risk due to vendor lock in.
Do some research and investigate alternative providers. Often the less featured providers are planning to increase their feature offerings, but need to see interest before proceeding.
Introducing a new feature needs research and costs a lot as any new feature needs to be fully integrated into the current cloud ecosystem. Anything else leads to prohibitive resource abuse as non-standard features are high risk-low reward for the cloud provider.
This is because new features are often tied to a small pool of developers and will have little support and no integration. Should one or two developers leave, this feature may be abandoned and have no future.
Any feature worth offering will be properly planned, integrated and supported. This is not to say that trial features should not be tried out, but keep tabs on how active the uptake on such a product is and what future interest there is.
Cloud Driver: Data vs Application
Where is you data in relation to your application ? If your cloud provider hosts your application and the data used by that application is on premise, it may work if the provider is in the same
country as your application. If your data and application are on different continents, the delay (latency) between application and data may be so large that the application does not run properly.
This is not even taking into account possible legislative requirements around keeping company data within your country or around the protection of personal information. At Host Africa we host all our data in South Africa. Legislative requirements are thus not an issue. We have options to host within the EU as well and these are clearly differentiated, thus there is no ambiguity. Our Online Backup currently stores the data in the EU (well encrypted) but will be moving to South Africa within the next 6 months as the product gains traction.
Some data and application combinations are so connected and data heavy that you cannot run them in separate environments. You then have to choose your cloud provider according to their ability to host both or decide to keep it all in-house.
The current break-even point between cloud and on-premise hosting is around R250 – R300 ($20-$25) per server per month.
This assumes that: a.) You already employ virtualisation on site at an average density of 30 Virtual servers per hardware server and b.) Have a write-off period of around 48 months per server. Cost of connectivity is also taken into account.
IT staff costs are NOT brought in as it does not matter where your servers are. On premise or in the cloud – you still need IT skills to properly manage them. With cloud hosting, your computing costs are largely Operation Expenses (OPEX). These can often be dynamically reduced if the company no longer has a need for a server.
On premise equipment is usually a Capital Expenditure (CAPEX). These can not be reduced according to demand. It is also a large capital outlay on a depreciating asset that needs to be maintained and eventually replaced. These hidden costs are all carried by the cloud provider.
If your business is still small and growing, capital expenditure is best allocated to product or marketing. Your IT costs should be kept to a minimum. The best way to do this is by hosting your services in the cloud as this allows you pay for your IT on a monthly basis. It also allows your IT to grow as your business grows.
If you buy your own servers, you have 2 problems:
- You have a large expense early in your business which rapidly depreciates
- You have a fixed amount of IT infrastructure which may be outgrown faster than you can afford to upgrade it
Cloud Computing alleviates both these issues. At Host Africa, we understand business growth and needs and offer packages to fit your needs and support staff who understand.