People always wonder whether or not the Cloud is a good idea. Early adopters of technology (like me) test these technologies long before they’re put into production. For me, as a CIO/CTO/Consultant, if it passes the Percy test, it goes on my list of recommendations.
So what exactly is the “Percy Test”? It’s a long-term review of a technology from infancy throughout its evolution. I’ve been playing with Cloud Technologies since its infancy and over the past 8 years, I’ve learned quite a bit.
1. It evolves rapidly and not all clouds are built the same.
2. It is definitely more robust than traditional technologies
3. It saves a lot of money
I’ve been running Voice Over IP in the cloud (yet, another technology I’ve been using for about as long) for approximately 8 years. So here are my results.
VOIP as a technology is solid and is here to stay, although, your choice of providers is going to really matter.
The cloud infrastructure you use is very important. Choose wisely. Don’t just pick any cloud provider. You should ask questions. Talk to the people at the company.
Check reviews. Look up their network block (AS) number and see who is hosted there.
If the technology/cloud provider is elusive to which technology they’re using or telling you that they have “a specialized” virtualization technology, I would definitely not use them. (Knock them off the list).
If their pricing is too low, knock them off the list.
Ask them who their upstream Internet Providers are. If they don’t tell you, it’s easy to find out. If they do tell you, double-check.
Let’s get something straight. There are few cloud technology providers out there with the deep enough pockets to actually develop the technologies.
Get it? So if anyone tells you different, you need to ask yourself why they’re hiding the information?
Here’s a great example.
I use Linode. I love Linode. They don’t fail me.. EVER. Well, there’s the occasional Internet downtime, but it’s not their fault, but rather their upstream internet provider’s fault. It’s happened 3 times in 6 years. So I can forgive them. If you look at that as an uptime guarantee, I’d say these guys really know what they’re doing!
Even Amazon had problems, but ultimately, there is no such thing as completely fool-proof internet.
Remember people, you get what you pay for. Now, to get off my tangent and back to my review. I’m using my VOIP technology as a test.
I’ve been running my own PBX in a cloud for the last 8 years. I built the machines from scratch and I DO NOT use distributions. Why? If there’s a problem that affects one distribution, it affects all of their customers running it. That’s a bad thing. That means if there’s a security hole, you will be affected like everyone else. The last thing we need is thousands of VOIP servers (or in some cases, tens of thousands) of VOIP servers with the same security problem.
So I always build my own. I do it for my clients as well. Total downtime for my clients? (over 6 years) Zero.
I preach and discuss security as the number one focus. I talk about encryption. I train them well and most importantly, I administer all their servers.
They don’t have problems. When they do, it’s due to the fact that they usually did something monumentally stupid like use “123” as a password.
I learn about networking, proper architecture, backups, and redundancy. Why? If you don’t understand the core of everything you’re doing with a technology, you’re not effective with it.
As for the cloud, I have not and never will use an OpenVZ server. They are buggy and have problems. I only deploy on Xen. As for VMware, I like the technology, but it’s still too expensive for the average customer. I don’t need to mouse click my way around to get things done.
Chances are, if you need to do something in an emergency situation, you’re not going to be able to do something via a mouse anyway. You’ll need a command line interface. Ever wonder why I prefer Linux / Unix to Windows? I have a choice. I can use the mouse or I can use a command line interface.
As for clouds, over the last “near decade”, I’ve tested VOIP in the cloud. It works. It never goes down for me, because I run multiple providers and have redundancy.
I choose my cloud providers carefully. Most importantly, I understand fully what I am doing. 2 years ago, I don’t think I would have ever decided to build and deploy cloud VOIP products, not because I didn’t understand the technology fully, but because I didn’t feel it was done with the Percy test.
So while this article discusses VOIP and the Cloud, I can definitely say that both together if implemented properly are very powerful things.
Let’s remember one thing. Chances are you’re not in the infrastructure business. So why would you spend your money buying servers and building a datacenter? It seems kind of idiotic to me. Hire someone who understands not only what they’re talking about, but also who understands the options.
The cloud is a very viable option today. VOIP in the cloud is definitely a viable option. Ask my customers. They just don’t go down.
If you’re looking for a competent cloud and technology admin / consultant; consider talking to me. Read the articles on this blog and I think I’ve more than proven I’m a capable administrator and technologist.
That has always what has made me an effective CIO/CTO/Consultant. I am hands on. If you’re looking for someone, they need to understand the technologies they’re talking about. It’s just not good enough to read a whitepaper.
Ever wonder why so many businesses run such a high burn rate in technology? Their CIO/CTOs bought and implemented the wrong technologies.
If I told you I could reduce your IT expenses by 30% at a minimum, would you consider hiring me? Well, I can. The cloud can do that for you and VOIP in the cloud can easily do that for you. So when you look at buying a new server in the future, consider the cloud, or consider talking to me first.
This blog, my PBX, all of my clients, my VPN server… All in the cloud. Performance? The same, if not better than what I could have bought. Yes, I’ve saved an incredible amount of money doing it too.
So my recommendations for a cloud provider? Linode or Amazon.
My recommendations for a technologist? It’s up to you, but make sure you do your homework on what their true capabilities are before hiring them. The wrong consultant will cost you more than the consulting fees you pay, but will cause you to hemorrhage money, productivity, and reliability for a long time after they’re gone. Technologists who understand the cloud are a rare breed. Don’t think any linux admin can do it. It’s about doing it well