The Dev Null Blog

Cloud Computing Management

April 19th, 2011

Cloud computing has been one of the biggest buzzwords in recent years. But what exactly is it? Let’s clear away the hype, and talk about what it is, but also what it isn’t. Cloud computing allows for quick (under 15 minutes), provisioning of new hardware. That’s it. Think as if you can add additional hardware anytime you wish. The only the limit is your wallet. Years ago when you needed additional hardware, to say a run new web site, it would take weeks to get things up and running. You needed to:

  1. Order the hardware
  2. Wait for the hardware to be delivered
  3. Install the hardware within a data center

It was a tedious and manual process that could span over weeks, and was very costly. Cloud computing solved the problem of acquiring and provisioning new hardware. The additional benefit is if you need hardware for a very short period (ie. a big media event to promote a new service) you can spin up additional instances, and then spin them down when done. So you can potentially save money by not purchasing extra hardware that sits idle.

The more complex issue of managing the software installed on the hardware isn’t solved with cloud computing. If anything, with instances that can only span a few hours, it has made things a much more complex process. From our experience, once a customer ventures into the cloud, these common questions arise:

  • How can we make sure our instances are used effectively?
  • Are they configured correctly with the software needed to run our services?
  • How do we update software on all instances?
  • How can we make sure our instances are secure?
  • How do we monitor our instances to make sure services are running correctly?
  • How can we quickly create new instances with software and configuration already installed?
  • How can we safely and securely backup our data?

Empowering Media has system administration expertise for those customers who wish to use cloud computing. From a provider like Amazon’s EC2 service, to Slicehost, we can support them all. We are cloud computing neutral, and can work with any of the major cloud providers.

So for customers who feel they have outgrown the services we offer, or have mandates to use a specific cloud provider; Empowering Media can still assist with your system administration needs. From small business shared hosting, to managed VPSes, to customers who have their own data center or wish to provision hardware within the cloud. We can do it all, and can grow with you, as your IT needs change.

We’ve always believed Empowering Media is offering system administration expertise. Provisioning new hardware is easy; it’s the server management that’s very difficult. It’s the constant software updates, security, monitoring, backups, customer support, and scaling expertise is where we add value. When we first started, cloud computing was just a “pie in the sky” dream (pun intended). We had to no choice but to purchase, and provision our own hardware.

This does not mean we are abandoning our own cloud. On the contrary, we will continue to have our own cloud services. There are some advantages to owning your own equipment within our own data center cabinets. By controlling all aspects of the hardware and software it allows us to offer our services at a much cheaper price.

We have over 10 years of experience in automating, and managing our complex infrastructure. We can successfully rollout any of your technology requirements. We have developed many tools that automate deployment, and management of our network. This is what makes our own cloud network so reliable, but can also apply to third party cloud providers.

Contact us today to discuss your cloud computing needs. Moving services to the cloud can be a complex task, but we can make it easy and a worry free process.