The date was June 5th, 1895 and Jedidiah Collinsworth, CFO for General Corporation was having a very perplexing day.  General Corporation was the largest maker of hammers in its time.  However, the greatest cost to the business was generating power onsite via company owned generators.  Every month the bills would stack up to the ceiling to cover the maintenance, new parts and full-time employees it took to generate electric power.  Collinsworth thought to himself, “WE MAKE HAMMERS, NOT ELECTRICITY!”  Three months later, an accountant working for Jedidiah stopped by his office. “Sir, there’s some men at the door, claiming they can sell us power – something called a utility.  We would just flip the switch and only pay for what is consumed.  Is this black magic?”

How crazy does the above scenario sound to you?  How often do we walk into a room, flip on a light, and then turn it off as we walk out.  Back in the day, this was the way companies had to get power – by being in the power business.  Didn’t matter what your business model was, this was the norm.

Flash forward to 2014, we’re in the same boat when it comes to IT Infrastructure.  Companies will spend millions on servers, storage, network devices simply to support their respective business models.  Today’s Cloud companies are just like those crazy kids (power utilities) back in 1895.  Cloud vendors hear things from customers that equate to what I’m sure the early power providers heard from customers:

  • “I need to see, touch and control it to make me feel better.”
  • “It’s not secure having someone else manage this for me.”
  • “Won’t we be out of the job if we can’t touch the hardware anymore?”

Every day we are talking to customers who are waking up to the reality that just as silly as it was generating your own power, the same goes for having self-managed IT capacity onsite.  Changing how they consume IT, into a service, is simply starting to make good sense.

But hey, there’s no need to go “Cloud Crazy” and rush off to the new unchartered lands of the Cloud.  You can keep your most mission-critical, brand/revenue impacting applications on dedicated hardware, which you manage.  But what about all the areas surrounding production that make no sense managing yourself or spending CAPEX on in 2014.

Ask yourself, WHY?

Voice:  Why do I need PBX physical call box infrastructure and the expensive pots lines that go with them onsite?  I can consume Voice-as-a-Service through Hosted VoIP?

DR:  Why do I need to worry about spinning up a virtual environment during a disaster?  I can consume it as DR-as-a-Service?

Back-up:  Why do I need heavy hardware appliances to back up company data?  I can consume it from a Cloud backup provider?

Test/Dev/QA:  Why do I need to spend millions on refreshing hardware meant to be sandbox for creating applications?  I can consume as Infrastructure-as-a-Service?

You need the “why’s” that are out there in the murky waters of Cloud answered on your behalf.  Which vendors offer great marketing, yet not the same level of technical follow-through?

As a Cloud Client Executive at CDW, we can diagnose the industry, then match your application workload to the best vendors possible.  This is guidance sorely lacking when reviewing Cloud providers on your own.

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