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Cloudy time for IT SMEs

If you are a startup company, chances are you all already in the cloud, if you are a larger and older corporation, you may be able to force your client base into the cloud, but if you are an SME, things become more complicated. This is according to JAMES SMITH of idu Software.
“It’snan interesting time to be a medium-sized software company with a history ofnsome years,” says James Smith, Director of idu Software. If you’re a startupnthese days, you’re in the cloud from day one. If you’re a heavyweight playernwith market clout, you can push your customers into the cloud whether they wantnto go or not. But if you’re somewhere in the middle, things are morencomplicated.

Therenmust be hundreds of companies in the same position as ours: A relatively largeninstalled base including both large enterprises and medium-sized businesses,nrunning many different versions of the underlying Windows and SQL Servernplatforms on which most business systems are built.

Asnwe’ve mentioned before, this diversity already makes itnchallenging to keep developing new features while at the same time maintainingnand supporting older versions. The inexorable movement towards cloud-basednsolutions only adds to the complexity.

Therenare many reasons why supplying software as a cloud-based service is a good ideanfor both vendors and clients. It removes the pain of upgrades and incompatiblenversions, it makes possible much more flexible billing models, it supportsnmobility and it allows the development of software which will run on anyndevice.

Butnmigrating functionality from the desktop to the cloud is a challenge; doing thensame with data is, to be brutally frank, a nightmare.

Innour case, we develop software for better budgeting and forecasting. The data wenare working with is invariably the client’s core financial data – and the ideanof moving that into the cloud is, understandably, something most people arenvery nervous of.

Thenincident earlier this year in which Sony’s Playstation Network was hacked,napparently by someone using Amazon’s cloud servers as a base,ndidn’t help. The personal details of up to 100 million network users werenpotentially exposed, highlighting the fact that it’s not just your own data younneed to protect – it’s that of your customers as well.

Asnwe plan our own migration, it’s already clear that the public cloud –non-demand, publically available infrastructure, software and services that cannbe rented practically by the hour, from anywhere in the world — is not annoption. We are considering private cloud solutions that enable our clients tonmaintain control over their own servers, whether on-premise or off-premise,nwhile still leveraging the benefits of the public cloud.

Innsetting up a secure private cloud, the location of servers does matter. Thenpolitical situation of the host country, the quality of its infrastructure, thencredentials of the vendor – these and a host of other factors affect thenreliability of an offsite solution. Every private cloud solution, we believe,nshould include multiple locations for high availability and redundancy.

Thesenare just some of the issues we’re currently grappling with; fortunately, nobodynin the IT industry has ever been able to lapse into complacency. And we knownwe’re not alone.

* Follow Gadget on Twitter on @gadgetza

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