During 2012, the shining star for cloud services has once again been Amazon’s web service (AWS) offering. It success and popularity has made it an almost household name for cloud based web services.
However AWS, or any other web services cloud offering, isn’t the only way to deploy web services and Enterprise IT. Questions are still being asked about the readiness of cloud offerings for mission critical work. In Amazon’s case there are also worries about its business model where margins are sacrificed for volume.
Although there is no doubt that using cloud based web services reduces the total cost of ownership (TCO) entrusting your web presence to a volume service provider does imply certain risks.
Web services are made up from a whole range of different servers and software packages. Along with the ubiquitous web server, there are components like databases, FTP servers, email servers (for processing automated emails sent from web sites). For more advanced installations there will be clusters, failover capabilities and load balancing etc.
Traditionally these servers and software components were designed, deployed and maintained as part of the existing IT infrastructure. The public Internet facing side of the web services were bolted onto the outside (on the other side of the corporate firewall) of the existing network.
This approach offers the ultimate flexibility in design but it is also the most expensive when the costs of servers, storage and network bandwidth are calculated. Moving the actual web services away from the physical corporate network and onto a hosted or cloud service reduces those costs.
Once the decision has been made to outsource certain aspects of a company’s web and IT services, there are still a variety of options. One such option is to outsource the hardware aspects of the web services. Servers, storage and bandwidth are leased from a hosting company but all the management, deployment and software maintenance tasks are performed by the internal IT staff.
The next level of outsourcing includes server management. There are degrees, but essentially everything needed to keep the servers running, up to date and patched with the latest security fixes is handled by the hosting company. However; design, deployment and improvements to the web services are handled by the internal IT staff.
There is also the option to outsource all aspects of the web services including website design, ecommerce implementations, back-end and front-end architecture, load balancing and failover. The hardware side would also be included along with full server management and maintenance.
Cloud offerings like AWS aren’t the only solutions for complex, robust and mission critical web deployments. Regardless of the hosting solution used, the key is to ensure that the right expertise and experience is brought to bear on the problem and a solution which can increased business revenue. Partnering with specialists like SPKAA will ensure that your companies web strategy will be effective.