Back in the 90's, I was hooked on new hardware. I wired our building for the first time for a network, I set up our first server to host our one page website and I hooked up our first hub so we could share files. But nothing was more exciting than getting a delivery from Dell of a new server to unwrap. Our first one was about 3 feet tall. Over the last 10 years, our company, Valor, has made use of many different servers for everything from file sharing to print servers to web servers. We pretty much filled up a whole rack in our computer room in our new building we moved to in 2000.
As time went on, the fun of new harware ended. Servers broke, drives crashed, servers needed to be upgraded quite a bit. We finally had to add a IT guy to handle our servers. I still monitored everything and would occasionally get the text that somehing was wrong. Drives would fill up, logfles would fill up, services would inexplicably stop. I really grew to dislike my old servers. Then one day, the worst of the worst happened.
It was father's day. My little one was maybe 3 years old and I got a text that said the website was down. I drove to work and figured I would have to restart a service, reboot at the worst and be right back home. When I arrived, I powered up the monitor, there it was, blue screen of death, on our MSSQL server. Our IT person was unreachable and I had no clue what to do so I started to panic. My heart stopped, worst case scenarios flew through my head and I was already envisioning everybody Monday working with printouts of the inventory while I got a new server up and running. Long story short, I found our IT person later that day and she fixed it. But the damage was done, every time my text alert went off or the phone rang, I immediately thought the computer crashed and my heart would skip a beat.
Then a few years later, I was on vacation in Disney and received a phone call, something was down, I think it was our exchange server and the IT guy at the time was not fixing it fast enough for some of the folks there and they had to involve me, even though I was on vacation. So one thing lead to another, and 3 hours or so later, I was on the phone with Rackspace. I was done with this. I didn't want to deal with this stuff anymore.
This was still before the cloud, but I began playing around with the idea of having a server outside of our building and it was nice, but still didn't work for us. We would have had to pay for about 5 servers wth Rackspace and at the time, it would not have made sense for us.
Late last year, we decided to move. Well, I wasn't about to move all the servers and go through the hassle of hooking all that stuff up in a new building. Not to mention, there was no room in the new building for a rack. So I began the move to the cloud.
I moved at least 5 websites, our intranet, our reporting servers, our pdf server for invoicing, our database and our files all to the cloud. It took the better part of a month to get it moved and working. There was a lot of tweaking that needed to be done to take advantage of the cloud files for images and pdf invoices etc. But once it was done and we had moved to the Rackspace Cloud, it was like a huge weight was lifted off my chest. To walk by the computer room and know that any computer in the rack could go now because they were not my problem anymore was liberating. I didn't turn them off for a couple of weeks. I couldn't bring myself to do it, but I did when we had to move.
Moving to the cloud not only made my life easier, years of odd errors and weird quirks we had to put up with were suddenly gone. The sites we used internally were super fast and never timed out any more. Our main website has had virtually no downtime since we moved.
So now we're in our new building and all the hardware from our old building is stacked up in my office for me to sell it on ebay. We have no servers in use in our building now. We have a firewall and a few switches and that's it. Oh and no IT guy. Something breaks now, I will be surprised and probably just replace it. I couldn't be happier with the move and if you are thinking you too need to get out from under your hardware soon, do it. It is worth the work and it is probably good for your health.