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Services that would be good for the cloud?

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gechurch

The difference between the cloud and local servers are:
* Availability - you must have an Internet connection to connect out to the cloud
* Speed - connecting over the Internet is slower than connecting locally
* Responsibility - you need local support for your own servers. In the cloud, someone else takes care of this for you. This is a benefit in terms of management, but there are lots of issues like "How do I know if backups are really happening?", "How good is their security?", "What happens when there is an outage?"

(Note that some of these issues can be avoided by local cache servers etc).

So what services apply well to the above? Email is an obvious one (you already have a reliance on the Internet for it, and the lag will not be noticable). Online backup is another one many companies are starting to look at. Any system that can sit fairly standalone from the rest of your infrastructure is also a candidate. There are plenty of job-tracking, billing, quoting etc etc systems in the cloud. Most of them are aimed at small businesses. As you get bigger a) you are more likely to need these systems to integrate with other systems you already have set up internally and b) your concerns about protection of data tend to increase.

Another idea that's gaining traction is to put a lot of your infrastructure in the cloud. Having a file server in the cloud and local clients is a bad idea because it will be so slow to download files (ignoring caching options). But if you put your file server in the cloud, and house a terminal server in the same datacentre(s) then that can work well. Your users RDP in to the terminal server, and can then talk to the file server at full LAN speed.