Weighing the Benefits and Risks

By Gregory Shapiro  |  Posted 2010-09-28 Print this article Print

Weighing the benefits and risks

Now, let's look at the five benefits and associated risks of moving these pieces of infrastructure to the cloud. These items involve costs, responsibility, trust, control, functionality and security.

1. Costs

There is no doubt that outsourcing to the cloud lowers infrastructure costs. There is no need to purchase and maintain servers, plan for hardware refresh cycles, purchase server software licenses, etc. This also frees up IT resources to focus on other strategic, possibly revenue-generating, projects.

However, unlike an in-house infrastructure in which buying equipment and staffing are usually fixed costs, paying for a hosted service is a variable monthly cost that may change outside of your control-especially if pricing is based on volume. Some services may reduce bandwidth needs and costs (for example, outsourcing the External Protection Layer's incoming message cleansing), but others may increase bandwidth needs.

Finally, outsourcing infrastructure into the cloud will certainly reduce administrative and operational personnel needs as described earlier, but it may increase internal help desk or support demand. This can be mitigated by transferring services to the cloud that don't impact users directly.

Gregory Shapiro is Vice President and Chief Technology Officer at Sendmail. In his tenure at Sendmail, Gregory has held prominent roles in the engineering, IT and business development departments. After four years of leading Sendmail's products in production, Gregory returned to improving those solutions, first in the business development group researching and evaluating partner products and most recently as the engineering group's chief architect. Prior to Sendmail, Gregory began his professional career as a systems administrator for Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) after graduating from WPI with a degree in Computer Science in 1992. Gregory is a FreeBSD committer, has served as program committee member for BSDCon 2002 and program chairman for BSDCon 2003. In addition, he has contributed to the past three editions of the O'Reilly Sendmail book. He can be reached at gshapiro@sendmail.com.

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