6 Benefits of a Cloud IT Infrastructure

As promised, we are back with an episode all about the benefits of using a cloud infrastructure. If you missed our previous episode about having an on-site IT infrastructure, you can check it out here. The short answer is: cloud infrastructure is probably the right solution for you. In this episode, Cody and Cris break down exactly why we cover it all from flexibility to energy expenses!

Full Transcript Below:

Cris:

Sounds fairly flexible.

Cody:

It is, it’s incredibly scalable.

Cris:

Highly scalable.

Cody:

Yes. The biggest benefit of cloud is simply: you don’t got to worry about it.

Cris:

What are updates and kind of what does that look like now in the cloud world?

Cody:

A lot of the time people are just like, throw the image in the cloud, and it figures it out.

Cris:

We get to talk cloud IT infrastructure

Cody:

Ooh, my favorite.

Cris:

Oh, your favorite. Ooh, my favorite. So again, for those of you that may or may not have caught our video talking about on-premises IT, you can obviously check that one out. Today we’re going to be talking about the benefits, six of those, and why you should go with a cloud IT infrastructure.

Cody:

All right.

No Hardware Maintenance

Cris:

So, number one I would say is, there is no hardware to maintain. Let’s unpack that.

Cody:

Yes, that is definitely a big plus. The reality is that if you have a significant IT footprint of some form, like call it a mini-server farm to genuinely a NASA supercomputer, you’re going to have a lot of hardware to maintain that it starts kind of almost exponentially becoming a burden of your entire engineering side, and the reality is that maintaining those individual pieces of hardware becomes really burdensome and very expensive.

Fast and Frequent Updates

Cris:

What are updates and kind of, what does that look like now in the cloud world if you don’t have physical stuff to update?

Cody:

Well, there’s two types of cloud hosting. There’s unmanaged cloud hosting, which is basically you being in control of that update scenario. That’s kind of a hybrid between on-premises IT and what would be considered managed cloud hosting, but for the most part, updates are a lot easier because you don’t have to worry about at least physical firmware updates and things like that, stuff that’s onto the network transport layer of the OSI model. You don’t got to worry about those updates at all because they’re just part of the ecosystem. Now in terms of OS updates, if you’re unmanaged, yeah, you’ll probably have to install stuff or your server will just become out of date unless you’ve got managed hosting or serverless hosting. They are both becoming incredibly popular.

Cris:

Yes.

Cody:

Especially because of containerized development principles with software and all of that kind of stuff. A lot of the time people are just like, throw the image in the cloud and it figures it out and you don’t got to worry about any of the operating system level updates at all. The worst you got to worry about is your software-level packages.

Cris:

Sounds fairly flexible.

Cody:

It is, it’s incredibly scalable.

Cris:

Highly scalable.

Flexibility and Scalability

Cody:

Yes. Number three, flexibility and scalability. You can do whatever you want with cloud hosting. The biggest problem with on-premises in terms of scalability and flexibility is that if you want your things to operate more because your performance load has become higher or you need high availability because this stuff has to be working at all times, you physically have to buy that. You have to buy a server rack effectively or a multitude of super expensive enterprise-level blade servers and make that all work within a cloud hosting ecosystem. You really don’t, you can just scale up as many things as you want, especially nowadays on a lot of hosts there’s automatic scaling, both vertically and horizontally. So, oh, the server needs to be bigger. We can do that. Oh, we need more of them. It’ll do that, and just kind of figure it out for you based on parameters you set.

Lower Energy Costs

Cris:

What about energy expenses? Let’s talk about that. Number four, I think that obviously, you don’t have all this hardware. It’s not your physical office, you’re not maintaining it. You’re going to see some reduced energy expenses.

Cody:

Absolutely, so this is actually kind of a complex topic mainly due to the kind of economies of scale that are involved with hosting anything in general or doing any large, I guess you could say organized industrial practice.

Cris:

Sure.

Cody:

As you make a singular process larger, it becomes more efficient, and the reality is that while you’re going to of course pay hosting bills, which kind of wraps that energy expense.

Cris:

Sure.

Cody:

A lot of the time that is actually going to be lower than just the sheer energy cost of having a server farm in-house.

Data Collection and Backups

Cris:

Gotcha. I want to talk data collection. So number five, data collection backups, how is that all going to work in the cloud? What’s going on with my data? It’s just floating out in the ether now. Is that a good thing? Is that a bad thing?

Cody:

So, there’s of course a risk. Now that said, there’s also a risk of flying on airplanes.

Cris:

That is true.

Cody:

We all fly on airplanes for business. At least most of us, I won’t speak for everyone. Most people fly on an airplane for business. The reality is that your data being housed in a third-party hosting provider is incredibly safe because they have the highest level of trust. If you’ve ever seen a visit to a site where they have these data warehouses, it is like going into a prison. It is that level of security. They have armed guards, high security-

Cris:

That doesn’t sound fun.

Cody:

No, it’s not. In fact, imagine the inmates were replaced with servers because that’s what it is. They actually have physical locations within these data warehouses that are called the cages, and the cages house the servers, and they’re all locked off and physically inaccessible except for the most highly trusted people.

Cris:

I got you, now backups, what does costs look like? You’re needing to do extend extensive backups to your servers, they’re in the cloud. Obviously, you can pull those backups down, but man, it’s probably going to add up over time if I have all these backups. How do you manage all that?

Cody:

Well, of course, it’s going to add up. The reality is storage space always adds up, but it’s kind of a moot argument because if you have your own on-premises IT and you are making backups of it. The number one thing people are backing up for a lot of the time is physical property destruction, and if you have it on-site, that’s totally not going to work. So, you’re probably paying for off-site backups, which is basically the same, if not more expensive than cloud backups.

Cris:

Gotcha.

Cody:

And, I would say almost every cloud hosting provider has backups available pretty cheap. Depending of course on your volume of data, it’s usually integrated as part of their hosting package. You’ve got options on pretty much everything. It’s almost overwhelming a lot of the time when you start like… Especially if you’re on the business side of the administration of an IT or engineering department, the amount of options you can be presented with is immense, and that’s the reality. It’s a nice situation to be in, but a little overwhelming because you have so many different ways you can do the same thing and there’s always going to be one that’s a little bit better custom cut for you.

Cris:

That makes sense, which I think leads perfectly into the sixth point I wanted to talk about, which is standardized security, and just standards in general because I think when people were first talking IT in the cloud and infrastructures, I don’t say it was the Wild West, but it’s like people sort of, I think, have their flavors of how they would do things, and it’s like, “Oh, well you can really only containerize if you’re going with this server host over here and if you’re doing this and they secure in this manner.”

Standardized Security

Cris:

But, it’s like now we live in the age of just these high-end IT infrastructures in the cloud for all the major corporations and even just mom and pop stores and everything in between, there’s so much standardization that’s happened now across all these hosting solutions, and one of them specifically also being security. So it’s like, you’re good wherever you go. It’s not, “Hey, just make sure you stick with Amazon because if you go over here, oh man, your security… It’s going to be pasted all over the internet.” Standardized security I think is a big thing.

Cody:

Oh absolutely, standardized security in general… For one, the industry has become self-regulated.

Cris:

Yes.

Cody:

Mainly because the industry has become very interested in hosting government infrastructure, which as mentioned in the last video, is of course very sensitive to breaches of any form.

Cris:

Sure.

Cody:

So because of that, they’ve adopted the industrial standards of basically the military complex, which are very high.

Cris:

Which are very high.

Cody:

And so, that kind of insurance is somewhat passed down to customers who just need regular hosting. That’s why I was talking about that these data warehouses are crazy on the security to the level of, are you sure that’s not like a CIA outpost or something? No, it’s that level. They’re very big, so standardized security is a huge thing, both for physical security, but also in digital security. Now, that does depend on what hosting provider you have, of course, because if you’re doing somewhat unmanaged hosting, it’s kind of on you to secure your own software and firewalls and make sure that your stuff’s up to date, but generally, things are very standardized now, especially with containerized hosting.

Cris:

If you’re having them manage it, there’s going to be some standards there.

Cody:

Yeah, exactly.

Cris:

Anytime you’re putting the actual human element of you or me or someone else back into the equation, you’re starting to go into more of an onsite infrastructure. Even if it’s still in the cloud, but you’re managing, like you said, those security updates and things of that sort, if you’re still managing at some level, well, that’s less that you’re actually standardizing.

Cody:

Exactly, and also one other thing to talk about too, especially if you’re a large company that has extremely sensitive data, if you’re paying for managed hosts of any sort that include security, that’s also a transfer of liability. That’s a big deal when it comes to breaches because ultimately the hammer comes down on someone for why all these poor people’s information got leaked to the public, right?

Cris:

Sure. It’s because their passwords are 123.

Cody:

That is also very common too, but when it comes down to an actual system breach, if your security company was managing it and there was a hole that was found that was someone’s fault because of a misconfiguration, not just like core software issues, that’s no longer something you did. It’s no longer something your company has to worry about in terms of liability.

Cris:

That’s good. Well, it seems as we’re kind of wrapping this up, that an IT in the cloud infrastructure seems to be the fit for most people, and I think it’s the way that everything is going, it’s the way we’re going to continue to grow just as a world and the way that we do these infrastructures. Cloud is not going away, it hasn’t been going away. It’s growing, growing, growing, and it’s really, for the most part, the actual fit that’s going to actually customize even to what you need. But again, if you really think you need that on-premises type stuff, you can always check out our video on that, but for the most part, IT in the cloud is the way to go.

Cody:

It absolutely is. It’s almost kind of become ubiquitous in a way. I remember probably back in the early 2010s or so the cloud was a buzzword, and now it’s just like, “Oh yeah, that’s just how we host things.” No one says, “I’m going to put it in the cloud now.” It’s like, I’m going to go throw it on AWS or whatever, and that’s like the accepted norm. It is ubiquitous. It is probably right for upwards of 90% of people or organizations who need hosting, and I completely agree.

Alexandra:

Thank you for joining us for this episode of Bixly Tech Tuesday. I hope you got a lot out of that conversation between Cris and Cody as they talked all about the benefits of using a cloud IT infrastructure. If you have any questions about what they talked about today, go ahead and leave them in the comments section and we will get right back to you. Also, don’t forget to check out our description box down below. We have a ton of really helpful links in there, including a link to our custom software guide, and that’ll give you a little bit of insight into what that process might look like. You can also check us out on bixly.com. Right at the top, there’s a button that says start my roadmap, and that actually gets you a free 60-minute call with Cris to talk about your next project idea. Until next time, this has been an episode of Bixly Tech Tuesday.

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