Re: SaaS just shifts the single point of failure
@Alan Bourke: The cost of broadband (especially a "Basic" package for emergency use only) is negligible. Yes, even to SMEs. Even to startups that are just a few months old and in the process of acquiring their first customers (as my personal company). It is one cost I have never had a problem convincing any one of my customers about. An additional $40 a month is – all things considered – fairly minor.
As for the bloke spreading FUD about the “unreliability” of cloud passed services…put in your teeth grandpa, we ain’t on yer lawn.
First off: you only achieve high uptimes if you constantly recycle the equipment. Eventually the stuff just gets old. Disks die. RAM failures increase. Even RAID cards start to go. (I should know; my largest customer is sitting on a hardware estate that ranges between 4 and 10 years old, averaging 6 years old.)
Do I have a better uptime than Amazon? Yes. But only just barely; even with active-passive backup systems, (let’s be realistic: few if any SMEs have true HA,) switchovers take time. You have to bring the tech (me) in from wherever they are at the moment, the switchover process has to be completed, and the data verified good before you fire up.
If the particular system you happen to be restoring to service isn’t backed up by an synchronised partner of some variety then the restore process is going to take even longer. You’re in even more poo when it comes to desktop restores. People do save files where they shouldn’t, and SME’s don’t have the money for the software that finds the buggers and moves them. (They also don’t tend to let you lock the systems down far enough that you prevent the users from writing to the local file system.)
Being an SME admin is a complicated job. Business owners and CxO types are often MUCH closer to the decision making and accounting of projects than they are in larger organisations. There are interesting compromises and IT issues that vary per company and you really can’t wrap up “all” SMEs in any nice generalization. You can’t say “well you should do this instead” and wave dismissively nor can you can’t simply treat all SMEs as though their infrastructure requirements, budgets or IT demands were the same.
Well, actually, you can, but you’ll look like an idiot.
A few hours of outage is not the end of the world to most SMEs. Even in the middle of the day, even at the height of busy season. There are workarounds. The critical systems that need computers in-house (say to run the printers or the widget stamping machine or the hullablooo creation mechanisms) will probably never be cloud-based. They will survive a cloud outage.
The point-of-sale systems can be worked around with ten cent pencil, and entering the data when the cloud comes back up. I’ve seen this failover mechanism in use with my own mark one eyeball and it works just fine. Office packages loss for a few hours can be overcome by simply doing something else that is on your enormous pile of shit to do that day and coming back to the office package later.
If the middleware is down, life sucks, but again; ten cent pencil to the rescue! Jotting down the information that staff would normally enter into whatever portion of the middleware they normally use allows them to enter that info when it comes back up. If you are going into graph-and-chart withdrawal from the BI side of the thing being offline for a few hours, get checked out by a psychiatrist right away.
Yes, there is alwys the possibility something customer facing goes down. That would suck. I solve that with a script that took me 5 hours to write that interrogates the existence of critical systems. If it detects an outage, it posts a “we’re sorry, Velociraptors and internet forum commenters ate our servers. They’ll be back in no time. Click here if you want to receive an e-mail when everything’s back online.” I can usually name who is out, and why…customers love it. No complaints.
So I’m right back to “what the hell are you rambling on about?” Judicious use of cloudy whatsit widgetry is a boon to SMEs. Full stop. Quit fighting the future. You’re starting to sound like one of those nutters from ten years ago screaming “virtualisation is a stupid plan. There’s overhead! It’ll never catch on!”
*patpat* Have fun with that.