T-SQL Tuesday #48 – Cloud Atlas

T-SQL Tuesday is a recurring blog party, that is started by Adam Machanic (Blog | @AdamMachanic). Each month a blog will host the party, and everyone that want’s to can write a blog about a specific subject.

This month the subject is “Cloud Atlas”. If you want to read the opening post, please click the image below to go to the party-starter: Jorge Segarra (Blog | @SQLChicken).



 
In the last few years, “the cloud” has become more and more important in our lives. Not only in IT, or as a database- or data-professionals, but also in our personal lives. Take a look around you. How many people do you still see, carrying around a USB drive to store their data? Now do the same, and count the people that use a cloud solution for their data, like Dropbox, SkyDrive (if we are still allowed to call it that…), or Copy.com?

So everyone is storing their data in the cloud now. From personal information like a copy of a passport, to text files with peoples password lists. So without jumping to conclusions just yet, I guess we trust the companies that hold our data right…?

 
Trust
But now comes the hard (and controversial) part: we trust them with our personal data, but not our corporate data. It’s okay to store your passwords and private documents in the cloud, but it’s unthinkable that you store business data in the cloud!

So where is that distrust coming from? It probably has something to do with the whole NSA-thing. There, I said it! Without completely going off-topic, I would like to explain something about this statement.

My personal opinion is that people in the Netherlands are different from the rest of the world, when it comes to their privacy. They don’t care if the ISP is monitoring web traffic. They know it’s being monitored, but they accept that as a fact. When it comes to downloading games, music or movies, they think their entitled to that. But when it comes to government agencies monitoring the corporate data they put in the cloud, they draw the line.

 
Are you… the one…?
In the past few years, the discussion about on premise and off premise data intensified. People try to convince each other with arguments, and think the other is completely wrong.

A while ago, I encountered my first “cloud-company”. I’ve done some consulting for them, and they’ve set themselves the goal to move to the cloud within the next few years. The biggest advantages they see are costs, scalability and administration. And I fully agree with them.

 
Why use a cloud solution
Choosing a WASD (Windows Azure SQL Database) solution makes it easier to maintain your environment. You don’t have to monitor the hardware, and move to another server if your hardware fails or dies. This is all being taken care of by Microsoft.

Looking at the cost of a cloud solution is easy: it saves you money. When you run on premise servers, where you need a data center, electricity, maintenance team, etc. When you use a cloud solution, you only pay for the hardware you need. And if you’re done with it, you can just shut down the machine you were working on.

The same goes for scalability. For example, if you need to run a billing process, you could “spawn” twice as many cloud machines. This makes scalability a piece of cake. And again, when your done, just get rid of the machines you don’t use anymore. This makes it easier for companies to run big processes in a smaller amount of time.

 
Trying it out
The only time I’ve used WASD is on the machine that Jamie Thomson (Blog | @jamiet) made available to the SQL Family (read about it here). This was later taken over by Red-Gate, but I’m not sure this is still available.

But if you want to try it out, just create your own AdventureWorks on Azure. You can download the scripts here, and start your Azure trial here.

Building an empire, but how and where?

As you might have read in my previous post, I set myself some goals this year. One of these goals is to move my blog to a more permanent location. I started out on Geekswithblogs.net, but after a few months I’ve moved to this location. But now I want to move to a more permanent location, including my own domain name(s).

All I really need at this moment is a WordPress host. No need for extra storage (I use Dropbox and SkyDrive for file-storage), or any other stuff (as far as I know). I’m only looking for a WordPress host, with 2 or 3 domain names attached. But what are the options?

 
Azure
One of the options is Azure, where you can rent a virtual machine, or just host your website. One of the advantages of having a virtual machine is that you can manage your own machine. You can use your own machine as file storage, and maybe even to host more services in the future.

One of the disadvantages is the cost of a whole package. If you want to rent a small virtual machine and some storage, your looking at a monthly cost of about € 25,- (around $ 33,-). That’s a lot of money. But on the other hand, they’ll move your website and storage on hardware failure. So your website will have an almost guarantied up-time.

 
Web hosting package
Another option is buying a web hosting pack at for example GoDaddy. There you get a WordPress host, unlimited websites, unlimited space and bandwith (a pretty good deal if you ask me), and they also add a free domain name. This looks like the deal I want, except for all the bad stories I heard about GoDaddy…

 
Just domain name(s)
It’s also possible to buy a domain name, and point it to your WordPress.com blog. This can be purchased via WordPress.com. Then your blog is still hosted by WordPress.com, and you still can’t use the full potential of a WordPress.org install. On the other hand, WordPress.com is a big player in the market, and how often will it be offline?

 
That’s where YOU come in!
To be honest, I need your help. I’m not that into hosting plans, hosting providers, etc. So if you can help me out, I would greatly appreciate it! You can leave a comment below, or you can Tweet or mail me.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 41 other followers