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Four Years Later

October 16, 2013

Yesterday I republished a piece on cloud computing, and I was struck by a sentence in the piece. I had written ” Paul Nielsen says inside of 2 years we’ll be leaning cloud first, local server second and in 5 hosting your own data will seem obsolete.” I had written I was skeptical of that, but I wanted to revisit the topic. It’s been 4.5 years since I wrote that, so it’s close to five years.

Are we thinking cloud first for SQL Server applications? I can say that for the businesses I’ve considered or engaged in, we do think about cloud type services first. The cost and hassles of procuring hardware mean that for a small business, I’m not sure it’s worth renting space in your own, or even someone else’s, data center. It’s much more cost effective and easier to rent a virtual machine or two from Azure, AWS, Rackspace or another vendor. For many non-database services, like email, it’s probably better just to contract for a service, and not even concern yourself with machines or software.

For larger, more established businesses, however, I’m not sure that most SQL Server professionals think cloud first. There are still lots of concerns over security, control, and performance. Most DBAs I know do think virtual machines in many cases, but without their own infrastructure, not the cloud.

I do think we could get to the point where many DBAs think about the cloud first, but only if their clients find provisioning a new server inside isn’t as smooth as clicking a few buttons. For the DBAs that ensure new databases can be created quickly and easily, I would guess that their clients would never even bother mentioning the cloud.

Steve Jones

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2 Comments
  1. Kurt Zimmerman permalink

    First some background. My employer is a privately owned real estate management company that owns both commercial and residential property in the NYC metropolitan area. Over the past few years the owners have dumped millions of dollars into a state of the art infrastructure and real estate management solution, all to go live before the end of this year.

    Many conversations have come up with utilizing the cloud for housing their core operations. Much like everything else, the owners had made a conscious decision to keep everything within their own control. Keep in mind that they own 2 data centers (COLOs) that not only house their equipment but they also rent floor space to customers.

    But the technology is there where such a large corporate expenditure really didn’t need to be made if they opted to utilize cloud computing. To the owners, the decision was quite simple….. Own and control… regardless where the cloud computing services capabilities were.

    The new corporate infrastructure as stated is state-of-the-art, with more than 3/4 of their SQL Server enterprise located on Virtual Machines.

    The owners are very aware of the current state of the technology and are involved in the day-to-day operations of bringing all of this new technology on-line.

    Decision from the top, daily involvement to make a very clear decision of keeping everything in house.

    Kurt Zimmerman
    Sr. DBA
    LeFrak Organization
    New York, New York

    • That’s fine, Kurt, and I think it is still looking cloud (maybe not first), but considering it and making a conscious decision. If it’s to be in house, that’s fine.

      Cloud first doesn’t mean everything goes in the cloud. It means you’re looking at it as a realistic possibility for your application. Not that you pick it.

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