Recently, I was speaking with one of my clients who has an onsite server that runs one of their operationally critical systems. I went to take a look at it and what I found was shocking. In their basement were three dusty old servers, stacked one on top of another, and only one of them was actually working! They were connected to an ancient uninterruptible power supply with dead batteries. It’s supposed to keep the server running if the power goes out, but all it did was make loud beeping sounds instead.
Speaking to the front desk staff, they were frustrated as they would come into work each morning unsure if it would even work. The person who set it all up didn’t even work for them anymore, and all they had to go on was a handwritten set of instructions taped to the wall behind the server. It’s clear that this situation was untenable and something was bound to break down eventually, leaving my client in the lurch.
This scenario is all to common in non-profits and small businesses. You’ve become dependent on this resource, but just like any other asset, it needs to be maintained or replaced on a regular schedule. It’s not just obsolescence that you have to deal with when it comes to computers – their components wear out and break down. All computers have hardware failures eventually, it’s just a matter of time.
This is especially important to remember when it comes to servers. It’s not a big deal when a desktop or a laptop dies, but a server runs the business critical software that your organization depends on, and if it is out of commission, your operations grind to a halt.
The challenge is that proper, reliable servers, together with the equipment to support them tend to be much more expensive than desktops, so many organizations just cross their fingers and hope that nothing breaks. “If it’s not broke, don’t fix it” becomes the mantra. By the time the server actually dies, the server may be so overdue for replacement that it can feel like you’re being held hostage by being forced to buy a new one.
Enter Amazon Web Services (AWS). AWS was started in 2006 when online retailer Amazon came up with a way to sell off its excess computer capacity to third parties, kicking off what would become “the cloud”. It has since grown to encompass the majority of their revenue.
Running your software on AWS instead of that ancient, rickety server in your basement:
- Can be done for as little as $30 a month
- Allows your application to be accessed securely from anywhere you want it accessible from
- Keeps running even if the power goes out – tether your laptop to a mobile phone and keep working!
- Never needs replacement parts or onsite service by a tech
- Is greener (think of how much you’ll save on electricity!)
- Allows you to change an annoying capital expense into a simple operating expense.
Call us for a free consultation on how we can help you to defuse that ticking timebomb in your back room and get your software in the cloud. We have had lots of success virtualizing all kinds of software – you may be surprised that the software you thought was too old or too complicated can be moved with minimal impact to your operations.
When you’re done, you may want to take that old server into the parking lot and smash it. Call (226-456-0741) or email (firstname.lastname@example.org) today to plan your server smashing party! We’ll bring the chips.