5 Advantages Of A Cloud Utility Architecture For Younger, Fast-Growing Companies

by Yehuda Cagen 31. January 2011 04:12

As seen in Enterprise Features.


Until recently, many of today’s business executives saw IT as a financial sinkhole rather than as a profit center. As a result, many have opted with what, at first glance, seemed like the least expensive option. Today, many business leaders recognize that IT has become more integrated into the business process.

There are those, however, who believe that you can better control your own destiny by using in-house IT equipment. One argument contends that this option does not put the client company at the mercy of third-party vendors or tied into their long-term binding contracts.

Indeed, if you’re looking to outsource your IT function to cloud computing provider, you should always be careful about signing a long-term contract. Computer technology evolves so quickly that it’s hard to know whether your vendor has the resources to keep pace.

Security is also a great concern. It’s important for small businesses to choose their vendors wisely. The “cloud” provider should have proven skill levels, such as certifications or client references. Be certain that their services meet your standards by asking the provider to offer a trial period.

A proven vendor should have no problem offering a trial of their service or software. Be wary of those who do not. Generally, it’s important for the clients to compare the performance with their own pre-established objectives. Failure to meet the established service levels must result in a predefined penalty.

Certainly owning and managing your own equipment seems fairly innocuous for a small business. However, over time, key components - such as CPU, disk, RAM, and, to a certain extent, the network – begin to bottleneck, resulting in latency or crashing of your system. These problems grow exponentially in organization with satellite locations and remote users. All too often the typical in-house answer for these problems is to throw more money at it. Buy another server. Add more redundancy. Hire another IT support person. It can become a vicious, never-ending cycle.

Here are a few additional reasons why a cloud/utility architecture would be better suited to a younger, fast-growing company.

Better IT Budget Forecasting: IT has quietly assumed a larger portion of the corporate budget and has consequently become more integrated with the overall financial plan. Most pundits agree that the purchase cost of equipment represents only a fraction of the total IT budget. The volatile nature of IT, such as unexpected crashes, security threats and upgrades only increases budget uncertainty. Since in most cases, the cloud provider assumes virtually all capital IT and personnel costs, executives need only to forecast for a consistent per user monthly fee.

Rather than overinvest to meet demand, the organization can deploy IT resources on-demand – as the market dictates. This simplifies the task of budgeting for potential growth, particularly with complex expansion or merging projects when headcount is increased or reduced. The organization pays only for the resources it uses, and as head-count fluctuates, costs are adjusted accordingly.


Adapt More Quickly to Evolving Market Conditions: The conventional process of purchasing, installing, managing, protecting and supporting an onsite IT system has become a vicious cycle and runs contrary to management’s role to reduce recurrent expenditures. Organizations can leverage the cloud provider’s enterprise-level IT resources and deploy them as-needed. This helps break the cycle of recurrent IT expenditures and positions the organization to adapt to evolving market conditions.


Manage Risk Better: Simply put, the more IT investments, the greater the risk.  However, most organizations must over-invest in IT to meet growing demand, thus increasing expenditures and the involved risk of IT maintenance and management. Cloud providers reduce the organization’s dependence on onsite systems by assuming the costs and risks of the entire IT lifecycle: hardware, backups, security and support.  Liability no longer lies in the hands of the management to purchase, manage and upgrade equipment. Executives can allow the organization to pursue growth opportunities without incurring the risk of significant capital outlays.


Manage Rising Energy Costs: Powering, cooling, and operating PCs and servers make for huge electric bills. Since humid conditions can be detrimental to a computer system, office temperatures must be set at cool levels to keep a server running. Gartner Research estimates that the electrical bill alone per server can cost $3,700 over four years.  Going to the cloud helps companies reduce their electric bill by centralizing equipment and moving in-house IT to a safely monitored, disaster-proof data center. By centralizing computer equipment into a remote location, companies can also reduce the office utility bill.


Improve Employee Morale in Recessionary Times: IT problems such as computer downtime to due server crashes or security issues only add to an already elevated stress level. Downtime lessens employee productivity and company productivity. Cloud solutions allow employees to work from home using the same familiar desktop interface, drastically reducing commute time and costs and improving employee morale.  Remote users have ubiquitous access to the provider’s support team. Most providers have executive-focused management consoles that enable management to monitor employee activity remotely.


Even today’s multi-national enterprises have embraced cloud computing as more cost-effective, agile and efficient alternative to onsite systems. The only exception to this rule would be the use of onsite systems as a testing environment for IT projects.

We hope you have found this information helpful. If you would like to learn more about this subject, please feel free to contact us:

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Shopping for a computer? Here's what to look for

by Yehuda Cagen 24. November 2010 08:35



Are you shopping for a new computer this Holiday Season, but not sure what to look for?


Have you spent too much time perusing ads or websites?  


Understanding the specifications of the computer can be confusing, and sometimes even a little misguiding.


Houston IT Consulting expert, Cheryl Smith, gives you a few pointers on what to look for when shopping for a new computer:


1.     AMD and Intel Processor’s are the most popular and you really can’t go wrong with either one.

2.     2GB of RAM Memory is most often offered, but 3 or 4 would be better for most users.

3.     500GB hard drive is enough for the average user and is usually included. Anything less probably isn’t going to satisfy you.


If you are a computer “gamer” or media buff, these specifications might not be sufficient. Faster processor, more memory, upgraded video card, and most likely 1Terabyte hard drive will be necessary.


Computers with remote pc support can be a worthwhile investment, but knowing what is included in the plans needs to be clear. How long does the technical support last? How do you contact your computer services consultants?


You may also want to keep an eye out for how many USB ports are included. These days, we use these ports for our printers, scanners, cameras and portable, and memory drives.


Lastly, be sure to know exactly what is included in the computer purchase prior to handing over your money. Is there a monitor, keyboard, mouse, printer, etc. included? What is the warranty?


We hope you have found this information helpful. If you would like to learn more about this subject, please feel free to contact us:

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Computer Services Guest Blog: Employee Productivity and your Internet Connection

by Yehuda Cagen 1. November 2010 05:30


If you follow this blog, you know that we’re proponents of the utility / cloud computing model.  Of course, the value of cloud computing depends greatly by the particular computer services provider. And since this model is Internet based, the way you connect to the Internet is just as important.

Puja Saraiya Abid, VP of Strategy and Operations at Mushroom Networks, shares her insight on finding the right Internet connection for your small business.

For large enterprises, making the decision on which method with which to access the Internet is easy. Pay for a dedicated T-3 line and move on with the work day. However, a small or medium sized business owner has to take much more into account.

For these businesses, having a basic Internet connection is no longer enough. Because being online is an essential part of almost every operation, a one has to consider more than simply the costs of the line. A business owner will also want to think about reliability and speed of the network. 

An employee’s time spent waiting for pages to load is time that is wasted. Additionally, if an employee has unreliable Internet service, that employee may be unable to send time-sensitive responses to customers and vendors. Employee time that is idle due to slow or unreliable internet connections is time that could be better spent elsewhere.


DSL allows high data transfer rates over regular copper phone wiring by using frequencies to send digital signals. DSL typically offers downstream rates of 1.5 to 6 Mbps and upstream rates of 128 to 768 Kbps. However, DSL is not always reliable. Service depends largely on the distance from the Internet service provider’s central office (CO). DSL is a cost effective solution if you are close to the CO, and have a very small office that needs the internet for mostly downstream traffic. 

Cable Internet

Cable often offers speeds equivalent to DSL with greater reliability. However, because cable has historically been used for residential service, it may be difficult for a business to get service in their area. Also, because you don’t usually have multiple cable providers in a given area, as with DSL, the lack of competition often drives the prices up.

Dedicated Leased Lines

Increasingly, a DSL or cable modem connection provides insufficient bandwidth, particularly in the uplink direction. Also, because business these days relies on having a reliable internet connection, it may be beneficial to consider dedicated line options. This is usually in the form of T-1 line, which is reliable and can provide speeds of 1.5 Mbps in both directions of traffic. These lines can cost anywhere from $500 to $1500 per month, depending on your location.

While dedicated T-3 lines are extremely fast and reliable, the cost can run into thousands of dollars a month.

Bandwidth Aggregation with Broadband Bonding

A new type of technology, Broadband Bonding, performs true aggregation. For even a single file transfer, all available communication resources are used.

Smaller businesses for which high monthly costs are prohibitive should consider Broadband Bonding to aggregate lower speed connections. A small business may opt to combine multiple DSL lines, which are often unreliable and too slow when used individually. Additionally, businesses that are heavy users of high bandwidth operations may combine multiple T-1 lines, or a combination of T-1 and DSL lines for greater bandwidth.

Multiple lines can be combined for increased reliability, and in the process significant benefits are realized—both in terms of Internet cost savings and increased employee productivity.

Puja Saraiya Abid is VP of Strategy and Operations at Mushroom Networks, a privately held company based in San Diego, CA, providing patent pending Broadband Bonding solutions to a range of Internet connection applications. www.mushroomnetworks.com


We hope you have found this information helpful. If you would like to learn more about this subject, please feel free to contact us:

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Can IT Services Help How Clients Perceive Your Company?

by Yehuda Cagen 29. July 2010 12:27

In the IT services world, we always hear buzzwords like TCO (total cost of ownership) and ROI (return on investment).

But what about using IT as a tool to maintain or enhance public perception? Determining the ROI of keeping a well-kept lobby or hiring friendly staff may be difficult, but it can mean all the difference in the world in creating a credible and professional image.

Constant technology problems send a bad message

Though we may beg to differ (wink, wink), no computer service is perfect. But if you’re constantly apologizing for server downtime or systems malfunction, your clients might start searching for a competitor whose technology does work.

If you’re having a hard time dealing with your in-house IT systems, IT outsourcing can be a viable option. But make sure you’ve done your homework first. Here are a few tips to finding the right IT outsourcing partner.

Whatever you do, make sure to keep your systems available. You never know when a client might take his or her business elsewhere.

Never lose your client’s data

Losing your client’s data makes you look irresponsible and unorganized – no matter how justified it may be.  In today’s marketplace, there’s just no excuse.  

Make sure to back up your data. You can do it yourself or choose from an array of hosting services that will do it for you via the Internet.  Here are a few tips for backing up your data.

Remember, there are only two kinds of users—those who have had a hard drive crash already, and those who will. Make sure you have a solution in place.

A solid IT infrastructure can make the difference in the eyes of your clients and prospects.

We hope you have found this information helpful. If you would to learn more about this subject, please feel free to contact us:


·          Questions about this article?

·          Suggest a topic

·          Learn more about our Houston IT Consulting


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Utility Computing

5 Ways to Take Data Security into Your Hands

by Yehuda Cagen 29. July 2010 11:54

You don’t have to be a techno-geek to secure your data. Sure, we recommend having a certified IT consultant ensuring the security of your IT systems.

But, there are also many steps you can take to protect your personal and business data.

Take these small steps to help with your data security:

  1. Completely wipe out all information on computers and printers prior to disposing of them.
  2. Be very careful when clicking links and attachments within email from unknown senders-you could be allowing a virus to your files.
  3. When entering personal information on a website, look to make sure it is a secured site. You can tell by looking for a Padlock icon on the website or you can also visit www.wot.com which will alert you to whether is safe or not.
  4. READ prior to clicking OK on any pop-up windows. You may be giving someone access to your computer.
  5. Social Networking sites such as; Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn can be great for socialization and business but if you place too much information it can be dangerous. Many times people use their spouse’s, children’s, and pet’s names for password and this information is displayed on these sites and can be used to determine passwords. Be careful about the information you share!

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