Welcome to Stop Buying Servers

I’ve been a small business information technology consultant for 12 years. For at least 10 of those 12 years – starting right around the time that DSL became available — I’ve been hearing that the future of small business computing is on the Internet (or, as we now say, “in the cloud”). I’ve launched Stop Buying Servers because the future has finally arrived.

I can’t pinpoint a date and time at which cloud computing migrated from promise to reality. For bleeding edge businesses, that happened some years ago. For leading edge businesses, it will happen very soon.

Some IT consultants – those whose business model depends on selling and maintaining complex hardware and software – see cloud computing as a tremendous threat to their way of life. I see it as a blessing. Because in my opinion, selling and maintaining complex hardware and software is a pain in the neck. Dealing with domains and directories, batch files, backups, antivirus software consoles, RAID arrays, redundant power supplies, user profiles, network traffic – where’s the fun in that?

I hate it when any of my clients are unable to get their jobs done because of something “on the server.” I hate having to patch servers late at night, even if the patching is automated and scheduled while I sleep (because sometimes I wake up to find out that something went wrong). I hate it when someone calls me from out of town and is completely unable to work because their hard drive died.

I want my clients to be able to solve just about any technical problems themselves. Computer not working? Use a different computer. Replacement computer doesn’t have the same software installed as your old one? So what? Office building destroyed in a fire? Big deal, work from home.

At StopBuyingServers.com, I’ll learn along with you how to run a small business with as little reliance on on-premises equipment possible. Naturally, I will start by making sure that the StopBuyingServers.com site and all the functions associated with maintaining it can be managed from any computer, anywhere. Then I’ll see how far I can go in putting my existing consulting business in the cloud. I’ll also discuss ventures in cloud computing that I see at my clients and other small businesses.

So fasten your seatbelts and prepare for liftoff.

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  1. Posted April 9, 2009 at 7:43 am | Permalink

    The future of servers is not the internet as even in this day and age there are too many speed restrictions compared to running a LAN.
    The answer is to only buy one or two servers and virtualize them for redundancy.
    I currently own and operate approx. 10 servers with a few extras currently working as door stops. All of these servers are wasted in there capacity as I am in the process of taking a couple (2) of my strongest servers and virtualizing them .

  2. David Schrag
    Posted April 9, 2009 at 8:11 am | Permalink

    No question that LAN speeds are generally faster than WAN speeds today (although one of my small business clients is about to get a 100Mbps WAN connection). But virtualization does not seem to address the real problem facing microbusinesses. Very few of these companies are going to have 10 servers to begin with, and even if they did and virtualized them, they are still going to be burdened with the responsibilities of managing those servers and at risk of being completely down if there’s a local hardware or facility problem.

    Virtualization may indeed be a technology worth adopting, but probably not by the market I’m focusing on.

  3. Chris Patterson
    Posted January 13, 2010 at 11:31 am | Permalink

    So…. what happens when the Internet is down, and the client can’t do ANYthing? I had a situation last week where one of our businesses was having Internet problems, and I was able to perform my server software updates, and everyone was able to keep working on the three packages they use from the server, all with no problems. If they’d been “clouding it”, they’d have been down until later that morning, when the Internet company finally sorted out why the fax line was shutting down the Internet connection.

  4. David Schrag
    Posted January 13, 2010 at 11:46 am | Permalink

    Chris, many server-based companies these days are also somewhat dead in the water when the Internet connection goes down. No web, no e-mail, no remote access, and so on. My recommendation is to get redundant Internet connections (e.g. cable AND DSL) and a firewall that can automatically switch upon failure. Companies that are cloud-based have an easier time doing this than companies that are hosting their own servers that rely on static IP addresses for full functionality.

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