Moving Businesses to Cloud Complicates IT

by Luke Jones  on Monday, Sep. 30, 2013 12:00 am  

From left: Robert Lindley, president of Innovative Systems Inc. and Ted Clouser, executive vice president of PC Assistance.

In the future, the issue for smaller IT firms will be whether or not to offer their own cloud infrastructure, thereby bypassing the issue of having to deal with the bigwigs.

“I feel like one of the things that makes Arkansas strong is that we believe in ‘staying local,’” Clouser said.

“By doing so, you know the people you’re dealing with and you ultimately have a stronger relationship. Given the growing importance of IT, I think it’s essential to have your infrastructure local — whether it be on your own premise or in a local IT provider’s data center.”

Lindley said it’s been “a very hot topic with a lot of managed service providers, whether to develop their own cloud solutions to offer to clients.

“My take is it’s not as cost-effective to do that. You’ve got other companies far better equipped. So you can partner with someone like Amazon or Microsoft to provide that cloud solution.”

But as IT firms scale up, becoming a cloud host is within reach.

Publicly traded Windstream Holdings Inc. of Little Rock, for example, has been bolstering its managed services sector by building multiple data centers around the country.

A smaller example is Netgain Technologies Inc., a mid-sized managed service firm based in Lexington, Ky., with offices in several states including Arkansas.

In Netgain’s model, the company often owns the clients’ server infrastructure and can host them from its data center.

“If you move your stuff to Microsoft or Amazon or Rackspace, you’re at the mercy of Microsoft or Rackspace at that time,” said Brendan Jacobson, director of managed services sales at Netgain.

“So for me, when you look at the cloud and that scenario, I would say of course big companies like Rackspace are going to have very nice, awesome data centers, because they’ve got the money to spend. For me, that’s a pro.”

But Jacobson said there’s a certain amount of service lost when using one of the largest providers.



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