CLOUD

Solutions that work

We can help you identify the different areas of your business that could benefit from a Cloud solution, help you select a Cloud provider, and make sure the overall Cloud solution makes financial sense for your business.

There are a lot of hidden costs in the Cloud which folks selling their Cloud-ware won’t communicate. Is your Internet speed fast enough to take advantage of the Cloud solution? If your entire business is dependent on a Cloud solution, do you have backup Internet in case your primary ISP goes down?

Sometimes a Cloud solution does make sense, but not always. It depends on your goals, and your budget.

We have no dog in this fight. We are here to help you make sound, wise investments in technology.

WHAT IS THE CLOUD?

The “Cloud” comes in many different flavors.

Have you ever used Dropbox? Dropbox is a Cloud-based file-sharing system.

Ever used Gmail? Gmail is a Cloud-based email system.

If you’ve heard of CrashPlan, Carbonite or BackBlaze, these are all forms of Cloud-based backup. The truth is, “Cloud” has been around for a long time.

Historically, all computing (computer-based-work) was done “on-premises” or in the same building you were physically working in. As Internet speeds have improved, it’s become possible to have computing done on computers that were not on-premises.

Anytime you are using computing-resources, on a computer that is not physically located in the same building as you, you’re working “in the Cloud.”

There are three basic types of Cloud computing:

  • Application-based: like Office 365, DropBox, Gmail, SalesForce
  • Computer-based: like Amazon Web Services, Azure or Private Cloud
  • Storage-based: like CrashPlan, Carbonite or Amazon S3
More and more companies are transitioning their software to “Application-based Cloud” platforms for a few reasons:

They can update their software without always needing to have you install updates on your local computers.

They can charge you a subscription fee which stabilizes their revenue stream.

They can store your data on their servers, which eliminates your need to back it up.

WHY IS THE CLOUD BENEFICIAL?

Converts long-term CAPEX costs to manageable OPEX costs

A computer network, and all the related desktops, laptops, switches, firewalls, servers, licensing, ad nauseam, should be replaced ever 5 years. In theory, this is something you could plan for, but no one ever does. Instead, you get into your 5th year and equipment begins to fail, you have compatibility issues to deal with, and ultimately are faced with an IT Project that could range from $30,000 up to $250,000 or more depending on your size and needs. The other challenge with this traditional approach is that you’re purchasing equipment for your business at its current size. What happens if you downsize two years from now? You’ve still made this massive IT investment. By looking at Cloud solutions, rather than having a very large up-front expense, you have a low, monthly-recurring expense which can be adjusted periodically to accommodate your needs as they are today. If your business downsizes, so do your operational costs. Conversely, if your business grows, you’re operational costs can grow with it.

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Reduces downtime

If you have a power-outage, Internet connection issues, severe weather or experience an unfortunate disaster, your business can continue to operate from alternate locations. You may experience some downtime, depending on what type of issue you have at your main office, but it will not be nearly as significant as if you had to restore your computing systems from backup, or replace hardware. You also don’t have to worry about being in an embarrassing situation with your email server being “offline.”

Access to your data from anywhere

Arguably the biggest advantage of the Cloud, you’re no longer tied to your current office building for work. You can literally work from anywhere in the world, provided you have an Internet connection. Depending on the industry you’re in, you may not be dependent on physical equipment at your main office. Being able to work from home, on the road, or even the ability to relocate your main office somewhere else becomes much more reasonable when you don’t have to worry about moving your entire computing infrastructure.

Reduces on-premises backup costs

It is customary with modern backup solutions to have an on-premises backup in addition to an offsite copy of your backup data. There are inherent costs for licensing and storage for that offsite data, and the on-premises backup device will need maintenance as well, which is another cost. With your data stored in the Cloud, you can eliminate some or all of your on-premises and offsite backup costs. The burden of backup falls on the provider. There are some inherent risks in that, so you need to select a provider carefully and clearly understand their policies regarding the protection of your data.

HOW CAN RUNWELL HELP?

All of the above reasons for considering different Cloud solutions are valid, but the questions remain:

  • What Cloud provider should I use?
  • Which services do I need?
  • How will this be integrated into my current infrastructure?
  • Who will train my staff and manage the Cloud service?

This is where we can help.

We can help you identify the different areas of your business that could benefit from a Cloud solution, help you select a Cloud provider, and make sure the overall Cloud solution makes financial sense for your business.

We’ll also analyze different disaster recovery scenarios, talk about work-from-home plans, discuss backup Internet providers, and go through backup options (they’re different with Cloud-based solutions).

We also offer many of these common Cloud solutions, so you can work with us directly not only for your IT Support needs, but for your Cloud needs as well.

Runwell's cloud solution

OFFICE 365

Office 365 provides two distinct services: Hosted Exchange and Subscription Microsoft Office Licensing.

It’s important to understand these two different components.

Hosted Exchange

Hosted Exchange is a Cloud-based email system. In years prior, if businesses had an Exchange server for email, calendaring, contacts, etc., it was on-premises. Exchange servers are expensive to license and maintain, they need complex backup systems for recovery, and with the server in your building, they were also susceptible to being offline if your Internet connection went down. By migrating your email to a Cloud-based Exchange server, you mitigate these issues.

Subscription Microsoft Office Licensing

Subscription Microsoft Office Licensing is an alternative way to purchase licensing for Outlook, Word, Excel, and so on. Previously, this software was a one-time purchase price referred to as “perpetual licensing.” You buy it once, use it for as long as you can, and ultimately you buy another, newer, version sometime in the future. With subscription licensing, this becomes an “operation cost.” You pay as you go and always have access to the latest version. If you have 10 employees, you pay for 10 licenses. If you have 500 employees, then you pay for 500.

Does Office 365 make sense for your business? We obviously can’t answer these questions here, but we would love to visit with you to help you answer all these important questions!

Did you know?

  • There are several providers, in addition to Microsoft, who offer Hosted Exchange
  • You can still purchase Microsoft Office using the previous “perpetual licensing” model
  • You can move your own Exchange server to the Cloud and have your own “Hosted Exchange” server

HYBRID & PRIVATE CLOUD

If you’re facing a large hardware replacement or are dealing with environmental issues such as brown-outs or weather conditions, moving to a Cloud solution is something you should consider. Whether your building new virtual servers or keeping the ones you have, we can move your entire server infrastructure to a Cloud-based solution.

There are few important things to keep in mind when considering a Cloud provider for hosting your virtual servers.

  • Cloud services, for hosted virtual servers, offered by Microsoft, Amazon and Google are considered “Public Cloud.” This type of service comes with a lot of “oh…by- the way” issues.
  • Your data may or may not reside in the United States, it may or may not be backed up, you may or may not be able to retrieve your data quickly if something happens.
  • Most importantly though, this type of solution can be very, very difficult to get support for if you have a problem.
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What makes Runwell’s Cloud-based solution different is that your data is guaranteed to always reside in the United States, you have a human being who will always answer the phone when you call, and your data is accessible for quick retrieval if you ever need it. We also handle all the incremental backups, so you can restore data just like you would if you had an on-premises solution.

At Runwell, we maintain infrastructure at a state-of-the-art data center with serious performance, redundancy and security. Our data center has strict access requirements and high levels of security.

We provide access to seven Internet service providers, a climate controlled environment, and enterprise-grade backup generators. All data hosted in our data center is replicated to a regionally disparate data center to safeguard it in the extremely rare and unlikely event something should happen to our data center.

Finally, virtual servers running in our data center gain access to high-powered, serious, enterprise-grade computing equipment which may not be affordable for an on-premises solution.

We offer both Hybrid and Private Cloud solutions. 

Our Cloud-based solutions also provide another intangible benefits: simple enhancements and licensing compliance. Need to bring a new server online or increase resources for an existing server? No problem, we can quickly add resources or bring new servers online whenever you need. We also take care of all the Microsoft Windows, Exchange, SQL, Remote Desktop Services, VMware and Veeam licensing. It’s all taken care of, so you don’t have surprise compliance audits, large licensing renewal bills, nor a need to procure new or upgrade existing hardware.

If you’re curious about the costs of a Cloud-based solution for your servers or have questions about whether or not a Cloud solution can help meet your business goals, please give us a call any time!

A Hybrid Cloud solution means that you have some servers running on-premises and some running in in our data center.

A Hybrid Cloud solution means that you have some servers running on-premises and some running in in our data center.

VIRTUAL CLOUD DESKTOPS

A “Virtual Desktop” is a personal computer that runs “in the Cloud.”

This type of solution has a number of benefits:

Eliminate dependency on a physical computer

If something happens to your PC or laptop, you can literally throw it away and buy a new one. No need for hard drive recovery or local computer backup. All of your data and critical business applications are safely stored on your Cloud-based Virtual Desktop.

Reduced local hardware requirements

Because the computing is being done in the Cloud, the local resource requirements such as CPU, memory and hard drive space are reduced.

Access from anywhere

Similar to running your servers or Line of Business applications in the Cloud, having your day-to-day Desktop in the Cloud allows you to “beam in” from anywhere and be productive. All your critical applications are installed, up to date, and ready to use anytime, anywhere.

Did you know you could take advantage of Virtual Desktops in an on-premises solution?

You gain all the above benefits without the recurring monthly costs.

Give us a call, we’d be happy to visit with you to talk more about whether or not this is the right solution for you!

We’d be happy to give you a quick call to answer any of your questions.

We can stop by your office and give you an assessment.