The world of IT is changing, again. This time we are looking at a change in the way we think about hosting operating systems, applications, and services. In the traditional model all three of those things were hosted on a companies local server. Over the past few years we have really seen the explosive growth of three key areas called platform as a service (PAAS) architecture as a service(AAAS) and software as a service(SAAS.) Taken collectively these components (and a bunch of other stuff too) is called “The Cloud.”
“The Cloud!” The term conjures ideas of all of the things that an IT guy dreams of on a good night. Unlimited IT Resources. (oooooooo) A pay as you go cost model with no up front fixed hardware costs to amortize over 2 to 3 years.(ahhhhhhhh) Automated quality backup with geographically dispersed data storage. (Ohhhhhhh) The possibilities really are pretty cool.
One of the greatest examples I have seen recently comes from the Chicago Tribune. They are embracing Windows Azure as their platform as a service offering. They will be staking the future of their business on Windows Azure.
When you watch the video a few key points will emerge, and I think they are worth talking about because they don’t just apply to the Chicago Tribune. They apply to just about every business.
1. Onsite IT is really expensive! Trying to maintain an IT infrastructure onsite and the staff to manage that infrastructure is really a cost drain.
2. Expertise is expensive, and essential. An internal IT infrastructure has a set of requirements around infrastructure services (like AD, DNS,IP,etc.), security, and maintenance that must be in place in order to successfully operate the business. That’s expensive.
3. Hosting your own applications is expensive! If you want a website that does more than offer fairly simple static information, the applications and automation will require both programming and architecture to make them work.
4. Buying your own infrastructure offers no flexible scalability! If you are running your own hardware architecture you have to buy the biggest baddest server you can afford, (translation: Expensive,) knowing it will probably not be enough power if your online idea goes big, and more likely will be too much if your online idea receives a lukewarm reception.
Those 4 key points can all be addressed by running your applications on Windows Azure. The Chicago Tribune, and every other newspaper, magazine, radio show, television program and media network, will not survive without the move to the online world. Azure is the Platform as a service offering that will offer the inroads and solutions they are looking for. Azure solves several of the key IT problems associated with the next generation of IT for the media and information dissemination outlets. It will also provide that same solutions for your business! How much will you save and what can your business do with the savings?