Are local servers the new “Brick & Mortar?”

Does anyone remember the outcry 10 years ago when Amazon revolutionized the retail book market?  I certainly do.  I used to love going to the mall and hitting up both (yes there were two) book stores looking for something new to read.  In fact, it was there that I first found the Wheel of Time by Robert Jordan and the Dresden Files from Jim Butcher, but those are whole other discussions.

Amazon effectively shut down the smaller brick and mortar shops when it came to selling books.  We’ve accepted that and moved on.  Amazon is now just a part of life – Prime, Video, Music, Cloud Services, and (yes) books.

Let’s examine cloud services for a moment.  Speaking hypothetically, your organization owns physical servers on which you run a hypervisor, on which you run multiple other servers, on which you run services, upon which your users iterate.

Now, if you take that model and move it to a could-based service, you have other options.  You don’t own the servers, worry about the virtualization, support the network, or much else, and your end users still iterate on these services.  What’s the difference?   You’re paying a premium (subscription fees) for someone else to maintain all that hardware on your behalf.

So, does this mean that the server market is dead?  Yes and no.

Servers are Dead, Long Live Servers!

But it does mean that as technology professionals, we need to spend more time looking forward for things that are coming around the bend instead of putting our heads in the ground, setting our feet, sticking our fingers in our ears and screaming, “La-la-la, I can’t hear you” when someone asks difficult questions.

So what does this mean for the next five years?  I can’t say.  What about the next ten years?  Still can’t say.  The market is in a weird place right now.  Do you co-lo (a-la Rackspace), do you go private cloud (via VMware & Cisco UCS), do you go full cloud (using Amazon EC2 or Azure)?  The short answer is that it all depends on your environment, organizational needs, and compliance requirements.

Long story short, take a time to review your needs.  You may be paying for local servers that are no longer necessary and end up costing you more over the life of those machines.

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