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Which Workloads Should Growing Businesses Move To The Cloud?

The cloud has grown up over the last five years. It’s no longer for just the early adopters hosting only non-essential, fringe IT applications. Today the cloud provides compute power for critical workflows and mainstream companies. If your business has yet to tap into the cloud’s full potential, here are some workloads you should consider moving to the cloud. And if you need help, specialists with the Rackspace Managed Cloud can assist you with any questions.

Getting Your Feet Wet

1. Email

Managing mail servers is a time-consuming, tedious and thankless job. People take for granted when their mail is online and raise a ruckus when it goes down. And it can be costly as Jay Kiley, President of Commflo, discovered.

“Even when I had a full-time employee managing the server, I wondered if I was getting my money’s worth, and if they really knew all of the intricacies and capabilities of Exchange. The focus was on moving forward with the capabilities of Exchange, and one individual is limited versus an entire team like Rackspace,” Kiley says. “I wanted to utilize the benefits of the cloud so I could focus on growing the business,” he explains.

Stop patching the mail server, and let your hosting provider worry about keeping unruly Exchange or webmail servers backed-up and available.

2. Large Media Files

As the web becomes more visual—particularly with video—digital asset file sizes continue to grow. Purzue is one company that turned to the cloud when it needed a worry-free way to handle millions of user-uploaded images, audio and videos.

“Numerous times, we had to move terabytes of storage from one server to another larger server, which proved costly in time and bandwidth,” CTO Jamie Aquila explains. “Then it was issues with files on multiple servers: Where are the backups? Which file is on what server? In what country? Rackspace Cloud Files clearly solved every one of those issues and then some.”

Along with maxing out your storage space, frequently requested images or videos can cause server crashes. The cloud mitigates this scenario, enabling you to offload your larger media files to a group of geographically distributed servers on a content delivery network (CDN). The files are then copied on different servers around the world, freeing up your server’s space to accommodate a tidal wave of user requests.

“Cloud Files handles that for us, to the point where we’ve totally ditched our own storage and our own servers,” offers Aquila. “We rely on Rackspace for everything.”

3. Web Servers

“For us, the biggest issue is we’re just getting into the cloud. So we were looking for a service that was very accessible and very easy to get into,” Karl Stenerud co-founder of MindSnacks says. “We needed something that would give us the ability to grow when we needed to grow quickly.”

Companies with a large web application can make immediate gains by putting their web servers in the cloud with a load balancer out in front. This configuration can handle a massive influx of traffic. You can quickly provision more cloud web servers any time there’s a surge, while the load balancer handles the logic of routing each of the requests.

More Advanced Workloads

4. Ecommerce Applications

Software and tools, such as Magento and Oracle, let you build an online store with an engaging user experience for your customers. These applications take advantage of the scaling and elastic properties of the cloud.

“As the fastest growing retailer in the world, imagine how quickly our website presence is growing. So scale was critical,” Ryan Bonifacino, Vice President of Digital Strategy at Alex and Ani says. “Rackspace gives us the ability to scale [Magento] so that we can focus on running a retail operation as opposed to a technology company.”

Rackspace Managed Cloud will help you configure the infrastructure to ensure your internet storefront stays online. After all, downtime can be costly for a business.

5. Content Management Systems

While a content management system (CMS) is often associated with a blog, its benefits extend well beyond that. Landing pages, microsites and a robust web experience are often the product of using a CMS. Whether you are running an open source CMS like WordPress, Drupal or Joomla, or a paid solution like Sitecore or Adobe Experience Manager, the cloud is capable of running—and scaling—this type of platform. Our experts can also ensure your cloud environment is architected in a way that supports explosive growth, even 55 million page hits in a single day.

6. Custom Business Application

While it can be a challenge to move a custom application to the cloud, you stand to gain a lot by doing so. In the cloud world, the software can control the infrastructure through a series of API calls. So if your application experiences an abnormally high load, it can organically request more resources. There are some considerations that must be made—such as splitting out the database, application and web tiers—but with the new code assist program at Rackspace, our experts can help.

“Rackspace helped us figure out what we needed to rearchitect to increase the scalability of the site,” Greg Avola, CTO of Untappd says. “We started with just one Rackspace server, and now we’re up to about 18 servers across the board, using multiple load balancers to separate traffic. Through the help of the DBA team and our Rackspace account managers, we were able to get to increase our footprint and our reliability.”

By reviewing your code, providing insights on how to adopt cloud best practices and even assisting with configuration management tools to help autoscale your application, any business application can become cloud ready.

About the Author

This is a post written and contributed by Garrett Heath.

Garrett Heath is a Racker who works in Rackspace Marketing and has had experience as a technical project manager in the Cloud. He enjoys writing about how the cloud is spurring innovation for startups, small businesses and enterprises. You can read his personal blog for where he likes to eat in San Antonio.


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