, (PressExposure) December 04, 2008 -- More data is being stored online in "the cloud" but not all clouds are equal says Xtraordinary Hosting CEO, Andre Ogilvie. If data is stored in a large silo and a server fails, it can be days before users are re-united with their data, as happened recently. Xtraordinary Hosting back-up users' data across several servers with managers on-site, allowing them restore data in minutes.
With Microsoft's recent launch of their Azure cloud platform, which bundles their familiar software functions into an online service with your data stored remotely, cloud computing is set to become increasingly mainstream.
Xtraordinary Hosting (http://xtrahost.co.uk) CEO, Andrew Ogilvie says the current trend to host data on clusters of remote servers âin a cloudâ; is good news for online hosts and datacentres, but you need to look into your own particular cloud quite carefully.
The concept is not new. Your data in Facebook and Hotmail has been in the clouds for years and most end users are none the wiser, beyond enjoying the ability to interact with their data remotely instead of being tied to a computer or a mobile device with limited storage.
But the lure of cutting costs is driving more corporates to store their data in a cloud rather than in their own managed facility. This is a trend that has been accelerated by well known companies like Amazon, Google or Microsoft, generating addition income streams by renting out their huge spare server capacity.
Cash-strapped SMEs were quick to realise they could save a fair amount by not owning their own servers. But a great number of so called âserver farmsâ have sprung up to serve the market, causing IT managers concern over data security and privacy issues as well as continuity of service. Thatâs also been an issue with hosting companies cutting corners in a rush to launch new services and charging full price for services that should perhaps still be labelled âbeta testâ.
Andrew Ogilvie says, âJust like the sky itself, all clouds are not equal. And some clouds are more than capable of pouring rain on your parade. In the last year we have seen a number of failures in these cloud server farms. Sadly some of these well publicised failings have involved well known hosting companies where all the back-up data was stored on one massive server, meaning hundreds, if not thousands of customers were separated from their data for days as thousands of terabytes of data were copied back onto servers â
âItâs a situation that no-one using Xtraordinary Hosting (http://xtrahost.co.uk) will find themselves in. For a start, we donât put our clientsâ data back ups into huge storage units. We split back-up data into manageable amounts stored on regular servers. If one server fails, it only affects a few customers for a short time as much smaller chunks of data need to be restored and we have staff on-site to deal with it. We have three years experience with Xen virtualisation serving hundreds of customers, plus an eight-year established reputation for rock solid reliability and excellence in technical support to protect.
âDespite offering some of the most competitive hosting bargains â and we have recently doubled the available memory and storage on our popular packages â we continue to host on virtualised Xen servers for maximum efficiency and minimum carbon footprint. Our servers are in secure datacentres, managed by on-site staff, located in Scotland and London, giving customers a choice of geographically diverse locations for storage of dataâ.
Now that the data is being stored online, people on the move are working from mobile devices. Itâs all too easy for records of their interactions with clients to get lost .It may be a case of âout of sight, out of mindâ, but the integrity of data storage is crucial to business survival. Data loss to a company, while rarely immediately fatal, is often the trigger for a succession of customer service, invoicing and financial problems that eventually bring the company down. In 2002 a report by McGladrey & Pullen indicated that a company prevented from getting at its data for 10 days never fully recovers and 43% go under.
As Ogilvie says, âYou wouldnât drive a car with two wheels missing. Why risk your business data in the clouds, unless you know it is in a secure and proven facility?â
About Xtraordinary Hosting: http://xtrahost.co.uk * Founded 2001 with a mission to enhance service standards for SME customers in the UK web-hosting industry * Based in secure datacentres in Edinburgh (ScoLocate) and London (Interxion) with its own on-site teams providing support in both locations * Operates its own multi-homed network (AS30827), a member of LINX plus direct connections to Tier-1 networks such as Global Crossing, NTT and Tiscali International * Reliability from retaining hands-on control and minimising dependence on others where possible * Reliability from rigorous evaluation of suppliers: bandwidth, datacentres, network equipment, servers, software, and infrastructure * Reliability from a cycle of continuous process improvement * Reliability from customer-focused 24/7 support * Reliability by delivering the right solution for the customerâs needs with flexible options to suit SMEs or enterprises * Reliability by employing bright enthusiastic people (for technical roles our typical minimum requirement is a computer science degree from leading universities) and supporting and training them well * Reliability by placing technical and service excellence at the centre of everything Xtraordinary does * Led by Andrew Ogilvie, an experienced Scottish entrepreneur. Actuary turned pioneering Internet travel guru turned Internet technology innovator. * Company has grown on average at 35% year on year since inception * Partnering with Microsoft, Cisco, Citrix, Interxion, Zimbra, Varien and Atlassian * Members of LINX, RIPE and Nominet * Hosting powered by HP server hardware * Future-proofed. An innovative early adopter in niche technology areas to help customers gain and retain competitive advantage. Examples include Xen virtualisation and hosting for Atlassian Confluence Wiki & JIRA, Zimbra email collaboration suite and open source Magento Ecommerce.