UK users now spend 300 billion hours online. Are you ready?

It's official: The UK is spending most of their time online, over 3 billion hours, with social media taking up the bulk of their attention. Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin, (all driven by cloud computing platforms) are sucking up 800 million hours of your time.

If you are left-brainer who exhibits a natural skepticism towards statistics such as those quoted above, you may be interested to know that Hitwise compiled these stats from anonymous ISP data logs, not user surveys.

About 9% of user time (including yours) is spent on classified and retail shopping sites.

The challenge for IT departments is how to manage these online workloads especially as we approach the volatile shopping season during the Xmas period.

Hitwise Internet usage UK

Hitwise Graph

If your are running dedicated servers in-house, you are probably also battling upgrades, legacy issues and other day-to-day challenges of keeping your department agile, cost-effective and scalable the end of the year approaches.

Maintaining a 99%+ uptime, while critical, is a massive undertaking for a hosting provider, never mind a small IT unit in a SMB or a larger enterprise.  Do you really want to waste resources supporting internal infrastructure, 24/7?

This leaves IT managers with several choices, although three stand out:

A. Colocation

Colocate your servers to a remote hosting provider who can firewall and protect your infrastructure during the holiday season. Generally, you will not be able to match their expertise and experience in dealing with end-of-year seasonal spikes in activity.

B. Dedicated Servers

Consider new dedicated server options with web hosts like Virtual Internet. Available in Windows and Linux flavors you benefit from absolute control and 24/7 Vital Support. Highly reliable, you can focus on business objectives rather than day-to-day operational issues that attach themselves to dedicated servers.

C. Cloud Servers

Consider the benefits of cloud computing. Affordable, flexible and scalable a VMware or OnApp server allows cloud bursting for both planned and unplanned spikes in online activity during the shopping season. When the spike is over, scale back down in terms of resources and cost.

All three have their advantages, but cloud computing generally tops the leaderboard these days. All the web titans, including Google, Facebook and Microsoft are driven by cloud server technology.

Typically, security, data ownership issues and control may be three areas that concern IT managers, when considering cloud servers offered by hosting companies such as Virtual Internet.

If you are a government agency or G-partner, there may be some valid reasons why you cannot transfer your IT resources to the cloud…. yet. (New federated cloud computing models may soon change this.)

But, in most cases companies should be moving some, or all, of their applications to a cloud infrastructure to both test these new models and acclimatize for a future full migration.

We will leave you with a final thought which puts the comment above in perspective: If users are spending 300 billion hours online, how much time does your staff spend on maintaining, upgrading and patrolling your in-house servers?

IF you could free up their time could you both save your company money and generate new sources of revenue?

Once you have crystallized and answered this thought, we have a feeling you may be giving us a call.

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