Office Hours Hangout: Choosing Between as-a-Service and DIY

We live in an increasingly complex technical world. Each day Rackers share their expertise to help our customers solve their technical questions. We have a whole series of conferences, Rackspace::Solve, dedicated to finding and sharing those solutions. (We’ll be bringing our show to Solve NYC this week to share as many of these stories as we can.)

One of the most basic, but fundamental, questions we answer is the question of whether customers should manage applications and services on their own (either self-hosted, or in the cloud) or offload those responsibilities to as-a-service providers (*aaS).

On our latest hangout, cohost Drew Cox and I brought together two great Rackers to facilitate a discussion on this topic. We were joined by Bill Hertzing, a Cloud Launch Manager, and Todd Klindt, Principal Architect in our SharePoint Practice area. Both of these guys are great guests, and had a lot to discuss. I’ve linked to several of the key points in our conversation, but as always the full video and audio-only versions are available below.

 

Self-hosting vs aaS

We jumped right into the conversation on hosting vs aaS. Todd shared his experience running his own server room in the basement, and gradually offloading that to the cloud. By offloading SharePoint hosting, email hosting, cloud hosting to service providers, it frees up internal resources to work on the core aspects of the business, and not the overhead of maintaining infrastructure and applications.

Bill mentioned that sometimes security and application limitations can prevent our customers from hosting applications themselves – whether on the cloud or on their own premises. We often see customers without a comprehensive IT strategy try to host applications which are just not meant to be shared as cloud applications. In those instances, we recommend using an as-a-service version of the software. We also introduced a recurring character in the episode, “Jimmy,” the hypothetical intern/defacto “IT Guy” that exists in many of our customers organizations, and is so often tasked with maintaining systems, providing help desk support, and even shoveling snow. Jimmy made a few more appearances during the show.

Cloud Sites vs Cloud Servers

One of our viewers, Tim – a long-time Cloud Sites user – asked if we could discuss Cloud Sites vs Cloud Servers. This sparked a good deal of conversation, including a great analogy on the choice, from Bill. As usual, this lead us to the conclusion that many of our customers don’t need to make an either-or decision, and can actually take advantage of of hybrid hosting solutions.

Focusing on improving the business

The whole discussion kept circling around one recurring theme: technology is complicated, and becoming more so every day. A smart strategy around what to host — and more importantly, what to leave to another service provider — allows our customers to focus on running and improving their business. Don’t waste Jimmy the Intern on tasks that don’t add value to the company. Let him work on value added tasks.

We had so much to talk about this week; we could have spent another hour on the discussion. If you missed the live show, check out the video above. You can continue the conversation in the Rackspace Community.

That’s it for this week, but we’ll be back on Thur., Feb. 11 live from Rackspace::Solve, where we’ll be bringing you a full day of customer and Racker interviews. If you’re not in the NYC area, this will be a great way to get a sneak peek at the Solve conference. Check us out each week live at 1 p.m. Central; our on-demand audio podcasts are available via iTunes, or your favorite podcasting app.

Alan is a former Racker, who also helped create the Stevie Award winning onboarding program for cloud collaboration suite Central Desktop, working directly with companies and organizations like MLB.com, Sesame Workshop, and IEEE. When he’s not helping customers learn how to build awesome things in the cloud, he can be found performing improv comedy with ComedySportz San Antonio, or volunteering with the Alamo Beard Club.

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