Cloud News & Insights

Moving Seasonal Businesses to the Cloud – Case Study


Lillian White was a florist but not the usual type – she sold flowers through the internet. Hers was a budding enterprise which she wanted to expand. There were a few thorns in her bouquet though. Lillian had to maintain a hundred odd online servers through the year though her business flourished only seasonally, peaking during the Valentine’s Day. New Year was always hectic, with lots of orders flowering during the season. The problem lay in paying for a hundred servers for the year though she hardly utilized their capacity. However, during the season all the servers were loaded to the gills.

Fluctuating traffic and cloud computing

Ms. White had heard of cloud computing and how she could save on her server costs with this technology. The problem of seasonal demand could be nicely handled with cloud infrastructure. She was not technically savvy and therefore opted for a small cloud service vendor who would help her find the way around. This was very important for her because her server administrator was too much of a geek and could never explain the working of the servers to her. Moreover, the technical staff cost a bomb. Lillian was surprised to learn that it was quite simple to use the control panel provided by the cloud service provider. Things which she could not understand, like load balancing and round robin, were taken care of by the vendor. Obviously she paid for the services but they were a pittance compared to the money she paid for traditional servers.

Choosing the right time to migrate

Lillian could play around with the online infrastructure since the cloud vendor provided the services   free for a month. There was another advantage to cloud technology: Her staff maintained different servers for production and testing. They had to dedicate several servers for testing purposes and since testing was a sporadic activity, these servers remained idle for long periods of time. With cloud infrastructure, they could set up a test server in a couple of minutes, do their testing and release the server instances once they were done with it. This saved her a bunch of cash.

Lillian finally decided to switch over, in the month of August – a lean period for her business. Things went smoothly and she was poised to changeover completely by October. She decided to keep her emails on traditional servers since the load was constant throughout the year. She also kept her finance and accounting work on the same server. She still had some doubts about the security aspects of cloud technology.

Bouquet of services

From one hundred odd servers deployed through the year, Lillian brought down the count to twenty. During the peak season, she pressed over a hundred server instances into service. This arrangement saved her over $100,000 per year – a lot of money. Lillian found that playing around with server configurations was fun and did not need in-depth knowledge. It was indeed as colorful an experience as her flower business.

There are other seasonal businesses like Lillian White’s which can easily take advantage of cloud technology. Small businesses think that cloud technology is only for big players. This is a huge misconception. In fact, cloud infrastructure is tailor-made for small entities that have meager resources. Cloud infrastructure is flexible, easy to deploy and cost effective. For more on the advantages of cloud computing, visit GMO Cloud’s cloud hosting page.

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About the Guest Author:

Sankarambadi SrinivasanSankarambadi Srinivasan, ‘Srini’, is a maverick writer, technopreneur, geek and online marketing enthusiast rolled into one. He began his career as a Naval weapon specialist. Later, he sold his maiden venture and became head of an offshore Database administration company in Mumbai. He moved on as Chief Technology Officer of one of the largest online entities, where he led consolidation of 300 online servers and introduced several Web 2.0 initiatives. He holds a Master’s degree in Electronics and Telecommunication.

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