Tips to Getting Started in Cloud Computing


In the old days, infrastructure meant buying $5,000 servers, putting them into high-security, cooled rooms, and hiring IT folks to make them all work. And then doing this all over again so that you’d have redundancy. Those days are gone—in fact, if you tell investors that you need money for IT infrastructure, they’re going to question your intelligence.

Cloud computing is what has changed the game. It provides small businesses with the ability to deploy websites and applications quickly, to pay only for what you use, and leave all the management issues to someone else. It makes for a leaner business that can react faster to challenges and opportunities.

But cloud computing also requires understanding a whole new technology and computing philosophy. I was lucky when we put my company’s website,, “into the cloud” because our service provider, Rackspace, hosts hundreds of companies and our developers at Electric Pulp have done this many times. The gang at Rackspace and I have come up with a list of ten tips to help you get started in cloud computing:

1. Know the different options available to you. “Cloud computing” simply means that you pay only for what you use—like electricity, but it can be found many forms. A platform-as-a-service (PaaS for short) works well for front-end applications and websites. It takes care of a lot of the infrastructure you need to get started. An infrastructure as a service (IaaS for short) gives you access to a command line and allows you the flexibility to customize your load balancing, autoscaling, security and failover settings, but requires advanced technical knowledge in system administration.

If you don’t have someone comfortable programming in a terminal, an IaaS is not for you. Infrastructures-as-a-service require some system administration experience. If you don’t have someone with this type of expertise, either find a competent systems administrator or consider a platform-as-a-service instead. A PaaS provider should be able to handle basic but necessary tasks such as load balancing and security.

2. Understand that scaling is a skill, not a default. Cloud computing gives you a lot of flexibility to scale at a lower cost. However, no cloud provider offers “infinite scalability” out of the box though. The world’s most popular websites and applications have professionals working full-time to ensure uptime and speed when they are needed most. Be sure to factor this into your long-term IT costs.

Sign up to receive the latest business insights
Enter your email address
By providing your e-mail address, you agree to receive the Business Class Daily Edit newsletter from American Express. For more information about how we protect your privacy, please read our Privacy Statement.
3. Implement a disaster plan. The cloud is not fool proof, but there are ways to protect yourself should it go down. A multi-tenant cloud will go down on occasion. If uptime is crucial to your business, be sure you have a disaster recovery plan, geographic failover, and redundancy set in place.

4. Don’t be naïve. Cloud computing will not make up for a poorly written application or database structure. A hosting provider gets the blame for a lot of performance issues. If a database is not set up properly, or code is not optimized, there is nothing a hosting provider can do to make up for this. When it comes to developers, remember that you often get what you pay for. Be sure to check their resumes and portfolio for other work.

5. Budget for your specific use-case. Calculating your budget is not as simple as reading a provider’s website. Cloud computing treats hosting as a utility. Like other utilities such as electricity, your bill will vary each month with usage. If you see a surge in traffic or users, use more space, or process more information, expect to pay more at the end of the month.

6. Choose a cloud provider on your needs, not its popularity. Do you need something that is highly elastic in a short period of time? Are you going to need support and additional services? High availability? Integration with third party software? Different cloud providers excel at different things. Consider your individual needs, do your homework, and ask cloud providers questions about their availability, speed, security, and integration before you sign up.

7. Remember: some applications are not good fits for cloud. Cloud computing is great for anything you’d need to deploy quickly and at a low cost. However, just like multi-tenant buildings are not good for every business, a multi-tenant cloud is not good for every application. If you have high security or bandwidth needs, you will need to pursue dedicated gear.

For security reasons, any application that requires PCI or HIPPA compliance is not a good fit for cloud computing. A multi-tenant cloud may also not be able to handle extreme performance loads often seen by more resource intensive applications. Evaluate your specific needs and don’t rule out dedicated or hybrid hosting (a combination of cloud and dedicated hosting) if it looks like the right fit.

8. Think outside of the box. When hosting becomes a commodity, it opens your business up to new and exciting things. You can deploy applications or sites on the fly. Consider media rich or real-time elements to your application or website. Set up a server just to comb through customer information or other data your company collects. These possibilities were not as accessible to the masses before cloud computing, so don’t be afraid to try new things and expand how your business operates.

About Author

Guy Kawasaki is the chief evangelist of Canva, an online graphic design tool. Formerly, he was an advisor to the Motorola business unit of Google and chief evangelist of Apple. He is also the author of APE, What the Plus!, Enchantment, and nine other books. Kawasaki has a BA from Stanford University and an MBA

61 thoughts on “Tips to Getting Started in Cloud Computing”

  1. What’s up friends, how is the whole thing, and what you wish for to say on the topic of this article, in my view its
    really amazing in support of me.

  2. Hey would you mind letting me know which webhost you’re working with?
    I’ve loaded your blog in 3 different browsers and I must say this blog loads
    a lot quicker then most. Can you suggest a good internet hosting provider at
    a fair price? Kudos, I appreciate it!

  3. Its like you read my mind! You seem to know a
    lot about this, like you wrote the book in it or something.
    I think that you can do with some pics to drive the message home a bit, but other than that, this is excellent blog.
    A fantastic read. I will definitely be back.

  4. Very nice post. I just stumbled upon your blog and wanted to mention that I’ve really loved browsing your weblog posts.
    In any case I’ll be subscribing for your rss feed and I am hoping you write once more very soon!

  5. Good day! I know this is somewhat off topic but I was wondering if you knew where I could
    find a captcha plugin for my comment form? I’m using the same blog platform
    as yours and I’m having difficulty finding one? Thanks
    a lot!

  6. I’m really enjoying the design and layout of your site.

    It’s a very easy on the eyes which makes it much more enjoyable for
    me to come here and visit more often. Did you hire out a designer to create your theme?

    Great work!

  7. My spouse and I stumbled over here from a different page
    and thought I might as well check things out. I like what I see so now i am following you.
    Look forward to checking out your web page repeatedly.

  8. I was pretty pleased to discover this great site.

    I want to to thank you for your time for this particularly wonderful
    read!! I definitely loved every little bit of it and i also have you saved to fav to look
    at new things on your blog.

  9. First off I want to say excellent blog! I had a quick question in which I’d like to ask if you don’t mind.
    I was interested to find out how you center yourself and clear your thoughts prior to writing.
    I have had difficulty clearing my mind in getting my ideas out.
    I truly do enjoy writing however it just seems like the first 10 to 15 minutes tend to be wasted simply just trying to figure out how
    to begin. Any recommendations or hints? Many

  10. I’ve been browsing online more than 3 hours today, yet I never found any interesting article like yours.
    It is pretty worth enough for me. In my opinion, if all webmasters
    and bloggers made good content as you did, the
    web will be a lot more useful than ever before.

  11. Greetings from Colorado! I’m bored to tears at work
    so I decided to browse your blog on my iphone during lunch break.
    I enjoy the knowledge you provide here and can’t wait
    to take a look when I get home. I’m shocked at how quick your blog loaded
    on my cell phone .. I’m not even using WIFI,
    just 3G .. Anyhow, wonderful site!

  12. Heya! I just wanted to ask if you ever have any issues with hackers?

    My last blog (wordpress) was hacked and I ended up losing several weeks of hard work due to no back up.
    Do you have any methods to stop hackers?

  13. Have you ever thought about writing an e-book or guest authoring on other blogs?
    I have a blog based on the same information you discuss and would love to have you share some stories/information. I know my subscribers would
    enjoy your work. If you are even remotely interested,
    feel free to shoot me an e-mail.

  14. Hello There. I found your blog using msn. This is
    a really well written article. I will be sure to bookmark it and come back to read more of your
    useful information. Thanks for the post. I will definitely comeback.

  15. When I initially commented I clicked the “Notify me when new comments are added” checkbox and now each time a comment is added I get four emails with the same comment.
    Is there any way you can remove people from that service?
    Bless you!

  16. It is appropriate time to make some plans for the longer term
    and it’s time to be happy. I’ve read this post and if I may I want to recommend you
    some attention-grabbing issues or advice.
    Maybe you can write subsequent articles referring to this article.
    I wish to read even more issues about it! 0mniartist asmr

  17. I do not know whether it’s just me or if everybody else experiencing problems
    with your blog. It appears like some of the written text on your posts are running off the screen. Can someone else please
    comment and let me know if this is happening to them too?

    This may be a issue with my internet browser because I’ve had this happen before.
    Appreciate it asmr 0mniartist

  18. Woah! I’m really digging the template/theme of this
    site. It’s simple, yet effective. A lot of times it’s challenging to
    get that “perfect balance” between user friendliness and appearance.

    I must say you have done a awesome job with this. Additionally,
    the blog loads extremely fast for me on Firefox. Excellent Blog!

    asmr 0mniartist

  19. whoah this weblog is excellent i love studying your posts.

    Keep up the good work! You understand, a lot of individuals are searching around for this information, you can aid them greatly.
    asmr 0mniartist

  20. I like what you guys tend to be up too. This kind of clever work and exposure!

    Keep up the good works guys I’ve incorporated you guys to my personal blogroll.

  21. Thank you, I have recently been searching for info approximately this subject for ages and yours is the best I’ve came upon so far.
    However, what about the bottom line? Are you certain concerning the supply?

  22. I’m amazed, I must say. Seldom do I encounter a blog that’s equally educative and amusing, and without a doubt,
    you’ve hit the nail on the head. The issue is something that not enough men and
    women are speaking intelligently about.
    Now i’m very happy I found this during my hunt for something concerning

  23. Wow, fantastic blog layout! How long have you been blogging for?

    you made blogging look easy. The overall look of your site is magnificent,
    let alone the content!

  24. free dating sites
    Hello there, I discovered your site by means of Google whilst looking for a related topic, your site came up, it
    seems great. I have bookmarked it in my google bookmarks.

    Hi there, simply become alert to your weblog via Google, and found
    that it’s really informative. I am gonna be
    careful for brussels. I’ll appreciate should you proceed this in future.
    Many other folks will likely be benefited out
    of your writing. Cheers! free dating sites

  25. I do not know whether it’s just me or if perhaps everyone else encountering problems with your site.
    It appears as if some of the written text in your posts are running off
    the screen. Can someone else please comment and
    let me know if this is happening to them too? This could be a issue with
    my browser because I’ve had this happen before.

    Many thanks

  26. Terrific article! This is the kind of info that should be shared across the web.

    Shame on Google for no longer positioning this publish upper!
    Come on over and talk over with my site . Thanks =)

  27. After I originally commented I appear to have clicked
    the -Notify me when new comments are added- checkbox and from now on every time a comment is added I receive four emails with the same comment.

    Is there a way you can remove me from that service?

  28. Aw, this was a very nice post. Taking a few minutes and actual effort to generate a very good article… but what can I
    say… I put things off a whole lot and don’t seem to get anything

  29. Pingback: My Homepage

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.