Many businesses are reluctant to move key applications into the cloud because they fear high bandwidth costs and unstable connectivity – but, says Alexander Mehlhorn of Framework One, the reality is exactly the opposite.
“If you have even one branch apart from your head office, moving your applications into the cloud will actually increase stability,” he says. “For most businesses, cloud-based applications offer greater speed and higher reliability at a significantly reduced cost.”
Cloud-based applications come with other advantages, he adds. “Nowadays, you want as much of your processing as possible to happen in a data centre where they have the fastest servers, and massive capacity that will enable you to increase your processing power, bandwidth and storage whenever you want.”
“There is also a lot of wonderful new technology, especially when it comes to backup and data replication, that’s only really economical to run at massive scale. Unless you’re a Fortune 500 company, you can only reap the benefits of that scale by being in the cloud. Then there is the advantage of never needing to install new software or updates – it all happens automatically, for every user in your organisation simultaneously.”
Framework One specialises in developing custom enterprise applications based entirely in the cloud, using Windows Azure services. “If your application is running out of an Azure datacentre, every branch links directly to that application – and it’s a safe bet that the pipe going into that datacentre is fatter, faster and better protected than the link to your head office,” says Mehlhorn.
This means, he says, “that even if someone digs up the Telkom lines outside your head office, your branches won’t be affected.”
Mehlhorn says awareness of Windows Azure services in South Africa is growing rapidly as more businesses become aware of the benefits. “The move towards the cloud is unstoppable,” he says. “More and more people are realising that it delivers far better return on your IT investment than trying to run all your own hardware.