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January 2, 2013 / Posted by: admin / Category: Cloud Computing

How to Reach the Clouds

So you’re thinking about moving to a cloud-based solution (i.e. email, hosted applications, online backup, etc.) but aren’t sure what your options are or how to proceed? First things first, you’ve got an internet connection so you’re ready to go, right? Well, it depends…

Internet access is crucial when using cloud-based systems because without it, in most cases you won’t be able to access your data, applications or other information stored remotely. As such you need to make sure you have a robust connection before moving to the cloud. Furthermore, when using cloud-based approach, it’s important to note that your UPLOAD speed will be utilized much more (typically 1MB+ to start) than if you were just doing web browsing.

Internet Service Providers (ISPs) tend to offer fast download speeds but it’s essential to verify the upload speed they’re promising as well. Some DSL providers might permit download speeds from 3-5MB, yet only provide 768K upload speed. If you were using an online backup solution, that would be too slow and ultimately, you’ll see serious network performance issues and potentially, your backups may not finish completely.

So how do you determine what would be the correct upload speed? Either your technical support team and/or your cloud provider should be able provide that information based on the number of users in your organization and the types of cloud systems you are accessing. There are other factors but those are the two primary considerations when assessing ISPs for use with a cloud-based solution.

For mission critical cloud systems, you might consider getting a second internet connection to create both redundant and supplemental connectivity. While that may mean added expense, at least it will keep your organization up and running if one of the connections or circuit should fail. Ideally, the second circuit should be from a different internet provider, to provide diversity and redundancy. In order to implement this, you would need a network device (such as a Sonicwall or Cisco firewall) which can be configured for automatic “fail-over” from one internet circuit to the other in the event of an outage. If you decided to install two connections, it’s important to account for the second connection. For example, if you have a DSL circuit and are thinking about getting a second DSL circuit, chances are both use the same local telephone company wiring to connect to your building. If that wire is cut, you would lose both the primary and backup connection. If available, the best option in that scenario would be to bring in a second connection via cable or fiber optic.

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