A cloudiness has befallen Infrastructure-as-a-Service offerings as cloud hosting providers are challenged to deliver on the promise of the cloud. While these cloud hosting providers promise to help companies get their applications up-and-running quickly and at a reasonable price point, the reality is that only start-ups or companies that do sporadic batch computing without the need for 24/7 availability can benefit from the cloud model. Companies that don’t fit these criteria are financially burdened by paying more for cloud-hosted, oversubscribed hardware and are tasked with managing all of the technical operations themselves. Here are five challenges with the cloud that you should take into account when determining if cloud hosting will meet your company’s requirements:    

  1. Inconsistent performance – multi-tenant, cloud-based solutions on virtualized hardware are often oversubscribed, as cloud providers profit by packing as many customers as possible onto one infrastructure. This hinders the overall network performance and bandwidth. 
  2. No dedicated support – cloud “managed services” are actually “self-service” and many companies still need their own in-house team to handle the technical operations. The industry average customer-to-staff ratio is over 150:1. In fact, cloud hosting providers often rely on software, not dedicated staff to respond to any issues customers face.
  3. Limited transparency – most hosting companies limit what their customers can see in the hosting environment. If performance degrades, customers can only submit a service ticket and blindly wait for the problem to be resolved.
  4. Rigidity – cloud-based architectures are not easily customizable to fit specific customer needs and most cloud providers only offer a one-size-fits-all solution. This limits the number of configurations customers can use.  
  5. Scaling limitations scaling an environment and adding systems can be difficult. There are no guarantees that the new systems will be in the same general network of the existing environment.

So if cloud hosting doesn’t seem like the best option for you, what alternatives are there? When evaluating the options you should consider the people that will be involved. For instance, will the technical operations of your infrastructure fall on you and your staff to handle, or will the hosting provider take on this responsibility? Here are other critical questions your company should ask when assessing hosting options:

  • What levels of support does the hosting provider offer?
  • What is the expected turnaround time for the hosting provider to respond to any technical inquiries? 
  • Will the costs and responsibilities of sourcing, training and maintaining technical operations fall to you and your staff?
  • Will you have a shared hosting platform or a dedicated architecture?
  • How often and to what extent can you scale your hosting environment?
  • How much insight will you have into the everyday operations?
  • What approach to managing your technical operations will be the best possible path to achieving your core business objectives?

Now you may think that keeping things in-house will be the best option to maintain complete transparency of your technical operations; however, did you consider the total overhead and staffing costs? This could range anywhere from $600,000 to $1.5 million to account for the staffing salaries and other soft costs like benefits and vacation time.

What if there was a happy medium between cloud-hosting and the DIY model? There is – managed hosting. In terms of managed hosting solutions, Operations-as-a-Service (OaaS) supplies not only the dedicated hardware, but also the staff to manage it so you can focus on what you do best.