10/05/2012

By Neil Lathwood, IT Director, UKFast

Of all of the championed benefits of cloud technology, the reduced capital expenditure and hardware costs are among the most prevalent. Virtualising servers means there are less physical machines which ultimately leads to lower capital expenditure and maintenance costs.

This makes a move to cloud computing an attractive option when a business is facing the prospect of replacing aging or failing servers. Put in this position, design and web database agency Fathom decided that rather than face the expense of replacing 15 servers that were nearing the end of their lifespan, they would adopt a cloud solution with UKFast, consolidating these servers — previously spread across four data centres — into one virtualised environment.

Fathom’s privately-owned and managed virtualised hosting platform accommodates Fathom clients who were previously on dedicated servers or using shared hosting; a move which was crucial for the business after their merger with fellow web design and hosting company, Ampheon, and as their previous servers neared the end of their lifespan.

“Before the merger I was investigating the option of cloud technology because I saw it as the next logical place to go for our business. Our servers were three and four years old so nearing their end of life anyway and we needed a different way to manage it,” explains Malcolm Wright, commercial director at Fathom and founder of partner company, Ampheon.

“As a bigger business, we had economies of scale which meant merging environments in a virtualised hosting platform could bring our cost base down and improve on areas such as single points of failure.”

Fathom made the move into cloud hosting technology to become more competitive and to allow for fast growth. Wright says: “The cloud environment is consolidating servers, giving us flexibility with the resources on a server so that we can increase or reduce them as and when we need to. And it’s much quicker which allows us to offer more services to our clients.

“It also gives us a much more stable platform because it’s not hardware-dependent. If we lose a disc in the server it doesn’t mean we have to down the server and rebuild it or anything like that — it just doesn’t happen.”

Fathom’s new environment also allows the firm to introduce a number of new services to its clients including a web hosting control panel handing clients more control of their own websites as well as detailed management and monitoring of sites.

Wright recommends that other companies considering a move to cloud technology spend time researching different providers and choose a partner with the right level of essential technical expertise.

He said: “It’s critical to choose the right provider and not make a decision purely based on cost. They need to be able to provide the right support for the platform.”


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