For any budding startup, it’s a great choice to lease server equipment from a shared hosting service / data center when your main focus is in making sales and not achieving operational efficiency. Infact, when you are focused on your core business areas, you are fine to pay through the nose even for technology that is on the downside of innovation curve. What do you get? A great peace of mind in an outsourced server technology solution!
The scenario changes when you are no more in the league of startup per say. At some point of time, your CTO may start wondering that why would you want to pay for that same 4GB of RAM every month for life. And then you may want to ponder if it is a right time to start investing in your own server ecosystem, especially when your company has grown to a decent level of process maturity and operations volume.
Let’s see how it maps to your spend numbers. If we project the cost we are paying on a monthly basis and you cost out your core business services IT operations for 3 years, you may realize that you may end up paying almost the same and in some cases even more than the cost to purchase the hardware outright (considering a gradual upscale in your operations volume). So based on where you are currently standing in terms of operations and market growth, you may think of opting the implementation of your own servers or colocations.
After working with a sound hardware partner for first few years of your startup, you may want to think many a times the pros and cons of investing in your own server infrastructure. Here are a few benefits of building your own server that you may want to consider:
- You own the data, completely!
One of the basic issues of using cloud space to store your data is security.Your data is not exactly your data as the cloud owners have almost complete access to your data. Your files are ultimately stored on their servers, so on a day to day basis, you are virtually blind folded on what is happening to your data.Though on the other side, there are various preventive methods to project your data via different ways of encryption technologies, still the storage location stays the same. By using your servers and ensuring good security, you can at least be assured that your business critical data is well intact in your hands.
- Your demand, your services, sheer flexibility!
With your own server, you have the comfort to modify any service or add any new service based on changing demands of business operations. You can run an email server to handle all your email, a proxy, FTP server, and many other combinations at the same time and you won’t have to worry about any limitations as are there in the shared services. In fact, you can even create your own instance of popular applications like Dropbox, WordPress and open source utilities and create your very own services with the flavors you are used to. Thus, flexibility to the core!
- Significantly greater performance of services!
Well this point is certainly subjective to the expertise in server management in your organization to handle server performance but there is definitely a good chance for you to optimize the performance of your servers any time based on the priority of the services. When it comes to shared services, there is a window period to cater the request made to change in priority of business services you are operating on cloud. If you have the right skill set employed with you, you can switch the priorities based on dynamic business demands.
Definitely there are scenarios like hardware failure, natural disaster, physical security breach etc. leading to disruption of service resulting in longer down time when you are using your own servers. But again as mentioned, this model may work considering the appropriate economy of scale. While third party services may get to change the way their services or products work, your own services won’t change and hence there won’t be many factors related to performance that would be out of your control. It’s like my-server-my-choice kind of ease.
- Extensive possibility of scalability via server consolidation!
If you are not sure of the concept of server consolidation, it is the approach to utilize computer server resources efficiently in order to reduce the total number of servers or server locations that an organization requires. In many companies servers typically run at 15-20% of their capacity during parts of the day, which may not be a sustainable ratio in the current economic environment. The practice is thus the extension of parallel processing to mitigate the problem of server sprawl where multiple, under-utilized servers take up more space and consume more resources than can be justified by their workload.
Although consolidation can increase the efficiency of server resources substantially, it involves a complex set of configurations of data, applications, and servers that can be challenging to the average IT person and may require a more specialized skilled team.
Server consolidation can help you reduce hardware and operating costs by as much as 50 percent and energy costs by as much as 80 percent.
- Increased flexibility with a hybrid model!
While considering the complexities of using your own server environment, you may be wondering about a solution that covers the challenges of environment complexities, yet you could achieve cost reduction and greater efficiencies.
Perhaps a hybrid model makes sense? A model where you could service your core, known workloads with dedicated servers and connect to the public cloud for added flexibility. Many data centers today offer direct connect services for this very reason. No wonder you may want to test the waters first before going live on a completely owned server infrastructure.
So what’s the take-away?
It will take some consideration to take the right step
Running your own server brings many advantages that could bring visible changes in your balance sheets and may make your business life a lot easier at many areas. The complexities, though, need a careful judgement. Before starting the journey on the new road you may want to chalk out your business services which are heavily infrastructure dependent and prioritize them for any transition accordingly. In the end, it should be well worth it, with a spare box well used in case of any plans to roll back. Bottom line, business operations first!