While many business leaders are now internalizing the general benefits of cloud technology, including the ability to scale resources up or down during seasonal spikes in activity, there is perhaps one area that should be discussed more: Automation.
Over the last several years cloud technology in the form of Virtual Private Servers or Virtual Dedicated Servers, has become one of the most popular forms of hosting in the United Kingdom and United States, often complementing a colocation footprint.
But it is the area of automation where hosting providers are arguably adding the most value. Leading hosting providers like Virtual Internet are building out their own custom virtual datacentres (VDC) to precisely target the requirements of modern Independent Services Vendors (ISVS who wish to build products quickly and cheaply without having to invest in costly hardware infrastructure that generally composes an optimized datacenter.
These VDCs allow internal IT departments to automate their resource allocation “on demand” and avoid technical and infrastructural bottlenecks that impact growth and ultimately increase costs. Built on powerful VMware and Xen technology, these VDCs allow software vendors build a bridge between their on-premise software, usually under a licensing model, and release new services to global customers using Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) and subscription-based pricing model.
A VDC allows an engineer or IT manager to launch servers with virtually no technical experience. Further, it also offers a global footprint since the hosting provider has built infrastructure in locations around the world including the US, Europe and the Far East.
Other benefits include point and click functionality when transferring nodes and the ability to choose between monthly and daily payment options. The servers present in a VDC are also auto-healing, meaning resources can be reassigned automatically with zero downtime. If one server fails, it can re-launch itself without any need for administrator intervention.
IT administrators can also choose from 100 OS images, including Windows and Linux. Redundant 10 arrays offer more robust, faster and reliable storage options.
Some reports indicate that 24 percent of IT leaders are engaged in a pilot deployment to test a SaaS model. Cloud hosting companies expect this number to accelerate dramatically over the next few years as more users around the world come online, placing additional pressure on on-premise datacentres.
The power of automation has allowed hosting companies to provide sophisticated billing systems which in some instances allow ISVs to optionally give customers a discount for paying in advance
This would reduce churn and stimulates advance payments that can help improve cash flow and grow revenue more quickly.
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