With the rise of Software-as-a-Service and cloud-hosted online services, many tech companies have moved to an always-on model. An increasing amount of software is being bought and delivered as an online service, which only contributes to the prevalence of always-on businesses in every aspect of our lives. For example, we do not install programs on a local device but simply access them securely in a web browser. DVD’s are no longer rented but streamed on online platforms.
In fact, the entirety of media, gaming, software, tech – and much of the regular service industry – is moving to always-on platforms. For companies running these always-on businesses, the explosion of growth brings on an entirely new set of opportunities and challenges that need to be considered.
1. Where to Host Your Infrastructure
Will you host it yourself or partner with a cloud provider? This is the first and most crucial decision to make and will shape almost every aspect of your always-on business.
Both options have their own respective use cases. For example, hosting everything in the cloud works as a pay-per-use model as it is ideal for scalability – but always-on workloads have very high usage. This quickly translates to high costs (read: 5 Common Online Service Costs and How to Avoid Them). Hosting it yourself may mean more predictable costs but can also mean complications in assessing and adjusting your capacity needs – with expensive overprovisioning as an unwanted outcome.
The Solution: A middle ground in the form of a hybrid setup is usually the best starting approach. A hybrid approach allows you to host workloads requiring scalability in the cloud while developing and building primarily in a tailored on-premise data center. (It’s also important to remember that every case and balance is different, too).
2. Managing the Back-End
While hosting workloads for your always-on business is one thing, managing it is a whole other story. This, too, is a question of DIY or outsourcing that many companies struggle with. Some are still very used to running an operations team, while others have cloud-native development in their DNA and find the idea of managing physical hardware daunting. In many cases, deciding on back-end management holds companies back from moving and growing.
The Solution: Good news – running a data center next to your cloud workloads has never been easier. Advanced and highly virtualized servers and storage are now quite simple to run (even with a limited team). The cloud-like management experience of these systems can be seamlessly integrated with your public cloud or private cloud environments, allowing you to easily manage your back-end so you can focus more on what matters most: your business.
3. Keeping Costs in Check
Keeping costs under control is a critical task for companies providing always-on services, as costs can pile up quickly. Calculating and comparing the TCO between a public cloud environment and an on-premise data center is the first step in creating a solid baseline for your costs.
The Solution: Ask for an independent and objective TCO calculation from your prospective service provider or invest in a third party to help calculate your TCO for host-it-yourself solutions. This ensures you receive accurate information and do not end up with costly surprises on your bill at the end of each month.