Friday, March 20, 2009

Gettin' all Techie

I have dipped my toe back into the water of Hardware this week, just a little, and I had to do some digging into some subjects that have been tickling my notice over the last few years. Of particular interest, I decided, was the rise of Hosted IT Infrastructures.
I believe in Co-location, don't get me wrong, co-location I like, but Hosting the whole she-bang? Nah, I feel a list coming on....

Why companies shouldn't be Hosting just yet

  • Wired magazine ran an article on Google's new enormous Datacentres and how they were built. When searching for a site for them, a key consideration was the price of electricity. cheaper electricity was worth Millions of dollars to Google.
    And what do we KNOW about 'getting what you pay for'? We know cheap means that something, however small, has probably been taken away to make it cheaper.
    I'm not talking about Bad Electricity, I'm talking about security, maintenance, choice of partners (Comms line companies, service engineers) and staff training, to name a few. These will all be compromised in the search for greater profits. Lets face it, a company considering hosting is NOT doing it for any other reason than to save money either, what makes them think those higher up the foodchain are working for any other reason? You want to save money so you exchange a little control over your own destiny for filthy lucre, disguised as savings.

  • What happens if you don't like the Hosting company you are with? Easy, you just turn up one day with a court order and a van, and you take your servers, routers, firewalls and tape drives away, and you plug them into the socket in the Kitchen at the office....job done.
    Except that's co-locating. You don't own the servers that your company conducts its business on if you go hosted. You don't own the software, or the backup tapes, or the IP addresses. Even if you did have a DR Backup, you'd have to assemble a replacement server and storage setup, and even then, you probably wouldn't have the passwords to restore it.

  • So if you want to move hosting companies, you have to do it when they still think you like them, because you are going to need their help, and a lot of it. And its not cheap.
    Large corporations can afford a few grand to have engineers on stand-by and backups ready to be biked from one end of the county to another and Fucking comms companies on stand-by in Mumbai but not in bloody London on a Sunday evening. It's only a teeny-tiny proportion of their annual worth, but to a small company, the same service has to be done during the week, in working hours, because otherwise it's too expensive. And because its during working hours, they lose productivity, and money.
    I bet hosting companies don't talk about THAT in their sales blurb.
    Christ, if we're not careful, we'll see Disaster Recovery companies resurrecting like Pheonix-leeches from the flames, with 'service offerings' including migrating your data from one Hoster to another, (a service which your insurance company will say you you have to have even thought they charge you higher premiums on indemnity and liability policies because you use an outside hoster...Gasp), but which nobody is ever brave enough to use.

Portacabins full of 20-somethings porn-surfing and nose-picking and having their mates over when the Security guard has sneaked upstairs to bed and getting stoned whilst porn-surfing some more......ahh, those were the days....

I'm sure there are more reasons, complaining about Hosting might even become a hobby....but I think I may put up some arguments too, like "Why don't you host your own Blog on your Own servers Ben..."

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