June 09, 2023
Do you need to upgrade your internet service to use the Cloud? This is a question that we often hear from our prospects. The answer, as with most things, is it depends. There are three factors that will dictate what type of internet service you need:
- The number of users in your work center,
- The type of work that will be accomplished in the cloud servers, and
- The speed of your internet service.
In this blog post, we'll break down each of these factors and help you determine whether or not you need to upgrade.
How many users do you have?
The number of users of your internet is not the same as the number of cloud-based users on your network. For instance, if your business has a wireless network service that is open to large numbers of cell phone users, or if streaming videos are commonly being viewed through your service, these users will not be utilizing your cloud infrastructure.
The quantity of the users that are interacting with the cloud data, applications, and the platform structure in the cloud such as Microsoft Teams environment make up the numbers that will affect the speed and bandwidth needs for your internet services.
A higher bandwidth connection is always better for heavy internet users such as businesses with many employees trying to access the web simultaneously. The more devices connected at one time, the greater your need may be.
Internet speed is also a factor for business use. And both are determined by the internet plan that you have at your business.
So, there are two determining factors to consider about user counts.
- Do you plan to significantly increase the number of cloud users when you migrate to the cloud? Typically, this does not occur to a business when they move their infrastructure into the cloud.
- Does your internet service package currently in use at your business keep up with your demands right now, before you move to the cloud?
If the answer to number 1 is No, AND the answer to number 2 is Yes, then your user count will not be a factor in this discussion.
What type of work will be accomplished with your cloud services?
Most business internet services are sufficient to handle cloud services. And normal interactions with cloud services are relatively unaffected by normal internet speeds. However, there are certain users in an environment that may be affected by slower internet speeds.
Some applications have a much higher demand for data volume and speed. Examples of these applications are Computer-Aided Design (CAD), Geographic or other types of mapping programs, and high CPU processing applications for engineering or scientific research.
These programs typically create very large data files that are constantly being processed through the computer's processors. The large files must be cached (temporarily stored but readily available) for the applications to operate smoothly and to prevent user interactions from interference. The applications may also require high computing power (more processors or faster processors) to function correctly.
If the data files for these programs are stored in cloud locations but are processed through the computer's CPU in your office, the applications will be significantly slowed down by data transmissions over the internet.
If you have these types of power users in your organization, you likely have these high-performance needs met by providing those users with the high-performance equipment on site to get their jobs done. If you expect to move these types of data files to the cloud for these users, they will likely be negatively affected because of internet speeds and bandwidth.
Special consideration for power users
Because Cloud services are structured on very powerful and adaptable servers, it is well within the capability and scope of the cloud infrastructure to create an environment that will successfully perform the tasks these power users would require. This ability to create service like this in the cloud has a name, it is called Hardware-as-a-Service (HaaS).
HaaS allows you to take advantage of these powerful cloud devices and create whatever size and power capability inside the cloud. The potential drawback to these services is their cost, but there is virtually no limit to the computing power. This can be a very economical solution to satisfying hardware obsolescence concerns.
There are some real advantages to utilizing HaaS. But, it is beyond the scope of this article to discuss HaaS except to note that it is a possible solution to many issues in your cloud migration. If you have these types of users in your environment, you should talk with your Managed Services Provider Cloud expert.
There are two considerations for these power users.
- If those users will continue to utilize their own equipment after moving to cloud services, then you should realistically consider using a Hybrid Cloud solution where those users will have local storage and file access readily available.
- Move them to a HaaS solution and give those users the flexibility to work from any location where they can get an internet connection.
What is internet speed and bandwidth?
This brings us to the speed concern of your question. Internet data transfers are being moved hundreds or even thousands of miles on various cable structures around the world. Considering the sheer size of the internet it is amazing that it operates as fast as it does. However, to the average computer user in today’s world, the internet is often considered slow.
For prospective cloud users like yourself, a basic understanding of the internet can be helpful so that you will be confident that the cloud can meet your needs. First let’s talk about internet speeds.
Upload speed is the measure of how fast content is transferred from your device to the internet. Download speed is the measure of how fast content is transferred from the internet to your device.
If you have ever run a self-initiated speed test on the internet, you would typically see the results as download speed and then upload speed. The download is usually a higher number than the upload because most users are pulling more information from the internet than they are moving out to the Internet.
Bandwidth is a term used to describe the amount of data that can be moved within a given period, usually measured in seconds. Mb stands for megabits and refers to the amount of data that can be transferred in each unit of time, typically one second.
High-speed connections with lots of bandwidth mean faster download/upload times for large files. A lower speed or less reliable connection will result in longer wait times when downloading bulky media.
If your current business internet plan from your Internet Service Provider (ISP) has issues with low speed or reliability, then you will be most likely to continue having poor performance issues moving to the cloud.
Typically, most business locations around the country provide business internet speeds that exceed 20 Mb Download and 5Mb Upload speeds. While these numbers in today’s internet options are considered low, they will likely allow you to migrate to the cloud. However, the quality and responsiveness from your ISP can affect how effective the move to cloud services will be.
If your service currently provides service at these lower numbers and you have the option available to move to a faster source of internet service, a change now will likely give you a better experience. And will better fit the needs of your business.
Does any of this affect your use of cloud services?
Cloud Service Providers (CSPs) like Microsoft Azure, Amazon Web Services, or Google Cloud Platform have built their service offerings to handle data throughput at very high rates to ensure that any of their services will be able to perform up to the customer expectations even at the highest data throughput requirements.
Your internet service as it exists before you implement a cloud solution will typically be sufficient to handle cloud services should you decide to move to the cloud.
If you are located in a remote area where internet services are either spotty or have shown to be unreliable with the provider you currently are using, then moving to the cloud could be problematic.
If you use your business location services and can open and watch a movie or Livestream video and you don't notice any problems with the video, you will probably not notice any problems moving your business operations to a cloud service.
There is a bottom line to this discussion that may make your decisions easier.
Managed service providers of Information Technology that have experience in cloud migrations can be a great source to bring to light what limitations you may experience in moving to the cloud with your operations.
Your ISP will typically have multiple options for internet service at your location. If not, there may be other ISPs available in your area that you could choose to provide your services. But change may not be necessary at all.