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back to article Will we still love the data centre seven years from now?

It seems there has never been a clearer understanding of how rapidly business is changing and IT technologies are evolving. With this in mind, we recently ran an online survey to ask readers of The Register how they thought data centres would develop between now and 2020. This is long enough for significant things to happen, but …

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"Although we haven’t shown it explicitly here, behind this chart we see that it is the smallest organisations, those with fewer than 10 staff, that are the least attracted to a world dominated by public and private cloud, perhaps assuming that such offerings are not designed to meet their needs. This is ironic, given how often we hear about the the potential benefits of cloud solutions for smaller companies."

Smaller companies do indeed stand to gain the most from public cloud offerings. Unfortunately the empire building IT staff at such small organisations don't understand cloud computing and wouldn't allow the company to buy into it if they did. It tends to be the well informed IT staff at larger companies who have no personal agenda where the cloud is having a bigger impact.

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Unfortunately the empire building IT staff at such small organisations don't understand cloud computing and wouldn't allow the company to buy into it if they did.

How ill informed you are, you realise we have done cost comparisons in our small companies, and the cloud is not yet ready to replace in house. Connectivity cost being the main reason but also ongoing vs fixed (or already paid costs).

Claiming that all people that do not work in large companies are just empire building is just plain wrong and shows your attitude more than it does any thing else.

We tend to get paid to provide the best solution for the money.

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Stop

> It tends to be the well informed IT staff at larger companies who have no personal agenda

The only people working for large companies that don't have a personal agenda are the cleaning staff - and some of those would probably recommend a model of vacuum cleaner if anyone cared enough to ask them.

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Meh

@Lusty

Empire Building IT staff....at a small company?

MY GOD man, I would love to have a fucking staff to start with...

What do you think we do? Still purchase a Physical Servers for each role we want to deploy?

Its not about not understanding the cloud (and redundancies are typically the Luxury of Large Corporate s). There is two major factors for us considering cloud. One is cost (and typically why we don't) the second is purpose.

Even if we shifted our IT infrastructure to a cloud based solution, our benefits don't out way the cost. We will still have the same quantity of IT staff our infrastructure is just located else. Our down times are not the same also, 10-15 min of email down time does not equate to the same loss (or care by execs) that large companies face, there for our redundancies in infrastructure are also not as robust.

I just think we have the freedom to do more at the SME level so we can create effective IT environments cheaper that give the openness that the cloudy marketing teams spew.

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Angel

I don't really think the lack of traction with small businesses to adopt the cloud is a real surprise. Making a decision such as going on the cloud is far more critical to a small firm, hence the readiness to cling on to what they have and know - even if it is unreliable/less cost effective/using obsolete apps etc.

Small companies can be conservative in regards to change, mainly as they prefer to see the cost effectiveness of ideas such as the cloud come down to a level where it makes no sense not to use them - and the technology is emphatically proven, reducing risk to their operations. And don't forget, many of them don't have access to decent data connectivity which rather hampers the online storage that is usually packaged with app hosting.

But the comments from 'Lusty' that small companies have empire building IT staff is just bong-eyed rubbish. Behave laddie.

PS - why can't I see the graphs?

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As the coach Yogi Berra is supposed to have said "In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice. In practice, there is."

At my previous place, I undertook a test of using a cloud based offering to see just how it would wokr for the business. The theory is that cloud provision should be easier to scale up / down as required, that it will cost less and be easier to manage.

What we found was that although the scaling up was reasonably easy, scaling down took a lot more work. Almost all administration took more effort and actually a lot more time and there were a number of problems as a result.

It was suggested that dept heads would be able to manage much of the work; in reality, IT staff spent more time fixing their issues and the dept heads simply didn't want to know where they were going wrong. The cost certainly appeared to be cheaper, but once we started double checking, the actual costs were a lot closer than the vendor had portrayed during the sales pitch (understated their charges, over estimated our costs).

But without question the biggest issue was trust. Senior managers were happy that if anything went wrong on site, they could come through and see us working on the problem; sometimes it would only take a few minutes. But when dealing with an outside supplier, you are reliant upon their help desk. Having called 3 times in one hour and still no fix, the CEO insisted on standing by me whilst I phoned again (to the upset of their helpdesk person).

That company are still very reluctant to go any further down the route of cloud provisioning; and I can't blame them. I'm betting a lot of other smaller firms take the same view.

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Holmes

Circle the Wagons!

This is an excellent study, and timely. I think some questions were missed, though.

First: "Do public clouds threaten your job security?"

Second: "What would an all-public cloud solution do to my IT staffing?"

Third: "What is the key reason for you not wanting public cloud service?"

Fourth: "If public clouds like Amazon are so cheap, could I hold back management pressure to migrate?"

Now those would really be interesting answers!

As would an answer to the question: "With three major outages, two viruses, and reqs for two more IT people this year, what is it about YOUR IT shop that will be better than the cloud?"

The bottom line is that people answer from their comfort zone. The answers in the article are real, but the motivations in the end are personal.

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Re: Circle the Wagons!

Fifth, when is dinner?

:D

But yeah 'the cloud' is a moveable feast and it's far from clear how it will impact IT and in my case software development.

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Anonymous Coward

The definition of cloud computing changes with each person you ask. Ask a non-It person and you will be amazed what people think it is.

Private clouds are the way of the future. More control, security and disaster recovery. Small businesses with one location can lease services. Larger companies cna invest in their own infrastructure.

I have my personal music and vids on a QNAP box streaming to my Android phone and tab wherever I go globally. You will see more personal clouds as well.

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Boffin

Speed of repair

I used to own a manufacturing company and I would evaluate online services by whether I could throw money at a problem or not. Online applications and storage are instances where my company could be brought to a stop by factors completely outside of my ability to throw money at the problem to get it resolved. I could invoice customers, pay bills, complete shipping documents and reconcile accounts even if my internet connection was down as my accounting software was on my computer. I didn't need to have a fiber connection to the shop since not everybody needed high speed access all of the time to do their work. With outside services, I also could not control the quality of employees that were there to (supposedly) help me. The outside company is out to make a profit. They don't care about my business, just whether my checks are good each month.

If the electric goes out, I can always run a generator. If the internet goes down, there is nothing I can do. So, I do not want to route all of my business functions through a bottleneck I can not control and could severely impact my profits and reputation.

Example of poor planning: My former web host uses VOIP for it's phone service. When they (and my web site) would go off-line, it's not possible to reach them by Skype or telephone. If they had POTS for even one local line with a system status message, I might have stayed with them. As it was, I could never reach them if there was an outage and could not find out if their problem was minor and would be resolved in minutes or if I was going to be down for a few hours.

Online services can be useful for backups in some instances or can facilitate having people working from remote locations. It's not a universal solution to every problem. Most enterprises are probably still better served from a local data center.

There was a nice article a while back where the author worked out some rough costs and timelines for restoring files from the Cloud based on several scenarios. It mostly pointed to the fact that it was cheaper and faster to buy a pallet full of hard drives and maintain on and off-site backups. Maybe a good business would be to fit a company's building with a fiber connection on the outside of a building and a back up storage vehicle would stop by on a schedule and back up a company's data (encrypted) and take it away for storage at a remote location. The vehicles could be electric and be getting a top up while they slurp the data. If there was a need for a restore, a data vehicle would bring the last backups to the company's location for a download. Hmmm. Gotta go write a business plan.

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