How do you choose the infrastructure that hosts your business’s applications and services? If you’re like many small business owners, you hit on a solution and are stuck with it. Perhaps you adore the public cloud and use it for everything. Or you swear by bare metal dedicated servers and wouldn’t host your applications on anything else. Or you think colocation is the bee’s knees — what’s better than owning and managing your own infrastructure?
But here’s the thing: each infrastructure solution serves particular needs and each has strengths and payoffs. You can host just about any application or service on them, but a business is unlikely to achieve the best cost, performance, and reliability if it insists on an infrastructure monoculture.
Cloud platforms make life so much easier than it used to be for small to medium-sized enterprises. When you need a server, it’ll be ready and waiting in seconds. Even better, you don’t pay for servers you don’t use. The days of servers sitting idle in data centers are in the past (in theory, if not practice). Cloud platforms inaugurated a thorough change in business processes, development workflows and infrastructure management.
While cloud platforms are the ultimate in flexibility, flexibility isn’t always the right factor to optimize for. If your business relies on a critical application that demands uncompromised performance to crunch through large amounts of data very quickly, the cloud might work out for you. But a bare metal dedicated server would almost certainly be less expensive, more reliable over the long-term and deliver better performance.
Many companies develop the need for private infrastructure but want to maintain the benefits of virtualization that the cloud provides. The optimal solution in this case is a private cloud.
My point is not that any platform is superior, but that an effective approach to infrastructure starts with the particular needs of your application and budget, choosing the infrastructure hosting platform that best fulfills those needs. Starting with the platform and then trying to shoehorn every component of your application into that platform is suboptimal.
Proponents of one form of infrastructure hosting or another naturally argue in favor of their chosen platform, which can influence business leaders to believe that there is a one-size-fits-all solution that matches every business case. But, in reality, the businesses that maximize their infrastructure investment choose a diverse range of hardware depending on their scenario that best suits their business goals.
In conclusion, business should avoid cookie-cutter infrastructure solutions. There’s a wide world of options available to them. And in 2017, integrating multiple hosting modalities into a cohesive whole — a hybrid cloud — is more feasible than it once was.
About the Author
Karl Zimmerman is the founder and CEO of Steadfast, a leading IT Data Center Service company. Steadfast specializes in highly flexible cloud environments, robust dedicated and colocation hosting, and disaster recovery.