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Conversations about the cloud in Australia

Another day and another chat with a client about cloud computing options. There are some absolute turkeys out there peddling cloud this and cloud that to people. Stop it! ADSL2+ doesn't provide enough bandwidth for your plans - in the war between reality and expectation, reality wins. This particular client is fortunately on the ball enough to realise that pushing all their key applications off their local server and into the cloud isn't a brilliant plan.

So what else do we do for these clients? What clever options can we provide?

It comes down to the application of course. If they're doing scanning or uploading large files to an offsite location it's not hard to use a Raspberry Pi or similar to get the data trickling out, or bulk upload it over night with a script.

If it's email or something like that - then get it into the cloud. Just let 'em know the limitations that their server currently manages - i.e. sending a large email out will take time. Your server used to plod along getting it out the door, but now you have to wait while Chrome sends it to Gmail. 

Remote Desktop Services aren't something people like, so what about a microserver with 2012 on it, AD replication and file replication using DFS? Under the right circumstances this will work over ADSL and people in both sites will see updated information reasonably quickly - depending of course on how DFS is configured. 

There are options - we just have to be smart about how it's presented and show a path forward if NBN does ever arrive. Today I showed a router upgrade to a client, then talked about how it's plug and play (almost) for NBN and how it can leverage great access for VPNs etc. We IT people are typically poor salesman - we either get excited over the trivialities of a solution or the technicalities of a solution and we lose our audience.

The biggest lesson I can give you is simple - use analogies to explain why cloud computing is a challenge. I always show an ADSL connection as a 4 lane highway in and a goat track out to represent the data path. People understand that - it's easy. Get yourself a few of these analogies and put them together to form a coherent image to bring your clients along with you in the discussion. Remember - a client can be a business client, friend, colleague or even your boss. With a little bit of education we can help our clients avoid big mistakes and avoid some of the bullshit around the cloud. 

The cloud can be great. We just have to be smart about it and make sure the shyster, bullshit artists out there don't screw up our client's networks because then we've failed in our jobs. 

In closing - please give us decent NBN! Australia needs it to grow and for businesses to be more agile (and I totally need it at home so I can download movies faster!)

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