September 01, 2019

Remain on Firm Servers, or Leap into the Cloud?

Carefully consider the costs and benefits of in-house servers versus those associated with the cloud.

Ronny Loew

In 2003 a colleague and I were the top two producers at our firm. We decided to go out on our own and started our firm with a group of six or seven people. There were lots of expenses involved in getting the doors open, and we were operating on a shoestring budget. One of the expenses was a small server that we purchased and set up with the help of a friend in IT who helped us out on the side. Within six months things were going so well that the server was no longer keeping up with our needs. After consulting with an IT provider, we ended up needing a new server.

We continued to grow. Within a year we added a second location 40 minutes north of our original location. As a result we had to abandon our second server and purchase a better, more powerful one along with a terminal server to connect the second location. Although we followed the advice of our IT provider, the team at the second location was unhappy with the speed and performance of the terminal server. They often complained that they were the “forgotten ones.” We continued to grow. The more people we added to the system, the slower and more bogged down it seemed to get. We got better internet, made sure our email boxes were limited in size and followed all the advice we were given. Regardless, we found ourselves requiring our third round of hardware upgrades in the short life of our business.

In an effort to reduce the constant complaints and turn everyone’s attention (including my own) back to production, I reached out to a company that was an early version of the cloud hosting companies in the marketplace today. That company offered to put all of our software and data in its data center, host our email and provide tech support. All we needed was internet and computers, and it would take care of the rest. It sounded too good to be true.

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