How a Cloud Can Save the Day
By Steve Montgomerie, MBA, BBA, OCP, Adjunct Faculty – Information Technology
Those who work in information technology know that it can be an exciting yet fast-paced environment. Modern firms have demanding needs to stay on top of the ever-evolving trends in the technical space. Talented individuals are needed to help solve complex technical problems with creative solutions.
Let’s imagine for a moment that you are working as a DBA, it’s Friday morning you’re called into a meeting with the Chief Information Officer and a handful of other executives at your company. The tax department has identified a new product that could save costs and reduce risk. The product is relatively new and the tax department wants to get it in the budget for next month to avoid having to wait another year to buy it in the next budget cycle. The CIO understands the pressing need, but is concerned with the risk of buying something so new. “Before we spend $200,000 on this product I want to have a look at it working,” he says. All eyes are now on you. “We need you to install this software and get it running right away. You have two weeks.”
The pressure is on. Recent fiscal constraints and budget concerns have left the data center slimmed down and with no extra capacity. You only have two weeks to find a solution and currently no available place to install the application. As a creative problem solver you begin to search for a solution. Computing servers are typically classified as fixed assets and will be challenging to obtain. First you need to involve procurement and receive approvals from several managers. You also need to involve fixed assets, the data center team, the information security team and a host of other resources in order to get the new server up and running in the data center. Considering the lengthy process you realize it may be a challenge to get the new server in the data center in two weeks. You’ll still need time to install and configure the application. As your stress level intensifies, you keep thinking that there must be a better way. There has to be.
You reflect on the requirements put to you by your CIO and realize that you merely need to install software for demonstration purposes. You aren’t required to load any company data at this time. You feel that eureka moment coming on, a cloud server will do just the trick!
A quick Google search reveals that Amazon’s EC2 cloud has on demand servers for rent. They are available in increments ranging from an hour to a day, weeks, or even years. Since no company data will be hosted, you won’t need an expensive security audit with the associated delays. Looking through the EC2 cloud you find a medium standard on demand instance at 16 cents per hour. That should do the trick with 3.75GB of RAM, 2 processors and 160 GB of storage. You’ll need the server for about a week which works out to a cost of $26.88. This is considerably less than the physical server you were going to order, which would have cost thousands of dollars.
You complete the order and about an hour later the server is ready and you’ve already started to load the software. Feeling excitement about your problem solving success far you finish the software installation and configuration immediately. Once complete, you draft an email to the CIO and tax team. “Here is the Web address for the new application and your username and password.” Just as fast as you send out the email, the reply comes back from the CIO. “What’s going on here, how did you get a server so fast?” You respond with your EC2 cloud solution and no further replies come from the CIO, a sign of approval.
It’s your turn to weigh-in. What other solutions could he have considered? Have you utilized cloud storage for your personal or professional information?
Image credit: Ramco
Steve Montgomerie, MBA, BBA, OCP, is an adjunct professor of Information Technology at Colorado Technical University. As an enterprise architect he brings significant experience in rapidly deploying, secure and reliable solutions to global firms using modern technology. Steve earned a BBA from Saint Mary’s University, an AIT from The Institute of Information Technology and his MBA from Keller Graduate School of Management. Find out why he’s IN.