Over the last year or so I have started to move some of my core personal IT functions to the cloud. I have had many reasons to start moving some of them and have been doing on it a sort of ad-hoc basis without much thought or direction. If a service looks good, I’d give it a whirl.
Recently I have been reading more and more about the Cloud and can’t help but think that it has to be the future of IT. The more I read about the cloud, the more wastage I see in our everyday IT infrastructures. Most companies scale to support peaks in their IT requirements (if you don’t, then you should!) so at any time there is probably a good 80% (my figure based on no scientific research) of IT resources that are not being utilised. Just think of the cost of wastage here! Power/Utility bills, datacenter / hosting, air conditioning, unused licenses, hardware depreciation, etc.
This is where The Cloud is aiming to disrupt the way we work. By providing a scalable and distributed environment where organisations can PAYG (Pay As You Go) for the services they require when they need it. The close we can run systems to capacity (without going over) the more cost effective them become. Why run a 40Mbit internet connection at home for £50/month and download 10MB worth of internet pages and emails, when you could run a 1Mb connection at capacity for £5 a month and get the same level of real-world service. Which do you think gives you better value for money?
Anyway, this post is not meant to be a review of The Could in general, but an introduction to my personal goal of moving as much of my personal IT to The Cloud as possible or as appropriate. Some functions might not be ready to go up.
I do currently have some Cloud Services in place, but I will be reviewing these and making any changes that seem appropriate along the way.
At the moment I use:
- Dropbox for file storage / cross device content access
- FreeAgent Central for accounting / finance
- Gmail for personal mail
- 123-reg mailbox for work email
- Exchange servers for client-based email accounts
- Google Calendar for personal calenders
- Exchange / Outlook for Mac for work calendar
- MobileMe for contact / calendar synchronisation
- Evernote for cross device note taking
- Flickr for photo sharing
- Facebook / Twitter for social networking
- Skype for IP phones
- LastPass – Passwor management
I also have some semi-cloud services, or private cloud services
- iTunes for music distribution around my house
- Windows Home Server for home file storage (such as a big Lightroom 3 photo library that I decided was too big to go on Dropbox)
- #devrig – My workhorse. This is a fat HyperV server running: AD, TFS, SQLx64, ForeFront TMG, SharePoint 2007, SharePoint 2010
So, I actually have more cloud based services that I realise but they are all pretty much disconnected, I have different logon accounts for each one. There must be a better way.
Over the next few months I will be tackling different areas of my IT profile and trying to build a personal IT Infrastructure that is scalable, interconnected, highly available and accessible and hopefully cost effective.
I want to run this series in a reasonably agile maner, picking on topics as I approach them and highlighting my experiences good and bad.
Since this is a voyage of discovery I am VERY keen to hear other peoples experiences, so either leave comments here, tweet me @markstokes or drop me an email: mark [dot] stokes [at] sharepointstudio [dot] com
My next post might be about evaluating how much I currently spend on IT, both hardware / software costs, services licenses (MobileMe, FreeAgent, Evernote, etc), Internet Connection, power consumption (of my 24/7 devrig and home server). I am sure that will make surprising reading! Hopefully I’ll be able to keep a running tab on my operating costs and see if moving to the cloud improves, not only my monetary cost, but my value for money. It might end up costing more, but if that brings added functionality (security, reliability, accessability, performance etc) then it might be money worth spending.