What is Cloud Computing?

The term "Cloud Computing" can be used to mean a variety different services. The common thread is that the service resides somewhere on the internet rather than in your facility. The advantages of cloud computing are the cost savings in using computing resources that you don't have to manage and maintain. The disadvantages are the potential network latencies and that your data resides in someone elses computing environment.

What business expenses can be eliminated by choosing a cloud solution over an on-site solution?

There are direct and indirect expenses that are eliminated when a company moves from an on-site server to a hosted server solution.

Examples of direct expenses that can be eliminated:



Low-end standalone server, 4GB ram, 300GB raid set disk space

$ 2,200

MS Windows Server 2008 R2 license

$ 700

7 MS Windows Client Access Licenses – CALs

$ 200

1 year anti-virus for the server

$ 50

Battery backup for the server

$ 150

Tape drive for backup and 10 tapes

$ 1,100

Backup software with 12 month basic support

$ 700

Firewall/VPN device with 1 year support

$ 700

5 VPN licenses for laptops

$ 150

Shipping and tax

$ 550

Total direct cost

$ 6,500

Examples of indirect cost that can be eliminated:

  1. Server maintenance – OS upgrades and patches, anti-virus updates, etc.
  2. Managing the daily backup procedure
  3. Temperature controlled environment
  4. Managing h/w and s/w maintenance contracts
  5. Cost of electric power consumed by server

Additional financial advantages are that you pay for only what you use and you can more evenly distribute the costs over time rather than encounter the entire cost of a hardware and software upgrade in a single event.

Choosing a cloud based solution allows a business owner to focus on his or her business and leaves the computer issues to the cloud services provider. However, a contract with JCC Hosting is more than just a vendor to customer relationship. JCC Hosting will partner with a business to provide IT recommendations and mentoring for short term and long term technical goals. JCC Hosting will assist clients with technology to help them grow their business without growing the number of people it takes to manage that business.

How is a cloud-based solution beneficial to my business?

Using cloud based technology services, allows a business to focus on what they do leaving the details of managing their computer resources to technical professionals.  With a reputable provider like JCC Hosting, cloud based servers are generally cheaper and more reliable than locally hosted systems.  Companies avoid expensive upfront costs of hardware, licenses, and infrastructure including battery backup, electric power generators and climate controlled facilities.

A server hosting contract with JCC Hosting not only includes the on-site service to migrate your data and applications to your server in the JCC Cloud, but it also includes the on-going support to:

  1. manage your backup process including specialized database backups
  2. manage and update your anti-virus protection
  3. keep operating system updates current
  4. assist with VPN connections from remote locations
  5. provide IT and technology related consultation

In summary, using a cloud base solution provided by JCC Hosting is cheaper, more reliable and constantly managed and monitored to provide our clients with the best possible availability and performance for their data and applications.

Will JCC Hosting help me to determine if a cloud solution is right for my business?

Yes. At your request and at no cost to your business, JCC Hosting consultants will visit your offices to evaluate your environment and make recommendations. All information obtained during these on-site investigations will be held in strict confidence and under a rigid non-disclosure agreement.

Typical considerations include an evaluation of current hardware and software used to support the organization, availability and reliability of the technology used, backup procedures for files and databases, business work flows, maintenance costs of current environment and systems security.

JCC Hosting often recommends that businesses support their organization with more than one service provider to minimize the impact of a significant disaster. For example, using a single provider to supply ISP service, an application and file server and email service would expose that business to a larger threat should a fire or storm destroy the single provider facility.   JCC Hosting can work with your distributed service providers to create the best possible environment in terms of cost and service.

What advantage would a local business have working with JCC Hosting over a large remote cloud provider?

Although JCC has traditionally worked with large companies throughout the world, the target audience for JCC Hosting services are small and mid-sized businesses in Central Ohio.  The reason for this is so we can provide on-site support to our clients as part of our contracts, rather than remote support via telephone that the national providers offer.

A cloud services contract with JCC Hosting includes on-site support to assist our clients in migrating their existing applications and data to their JCC hosted server, assistance creating and maintaining a local and internet domain, and consulting to work with other technology providers like an ISP provider or email provider.  Unlike our compertitors, all of this and more is included in a server hosting contract with JCC Hosting.

The short answer is: The advantage of working with JCC Hosting is service.  Our contracts are competitive with the national providers, but our service from experienced technical staff is what sets us apart.

Can my current IT support staff work with JCC Hosting?

Yes. JCC Hosting will work with your company personnel or 3rd party support to create an environment that works best for your business. We will draft a custom contract that is cost effective and provides only the level of JCC Hosting support necessary to manage your systems appropriately.

Your delegated IT staff will have the necessary administration rights on the local system and company domain to accomplish any administrative task. Additionally, your JCC hosted systems will be isolated and secure from other corporate systems and their administrators.

What level of hardware support does JCC Hosting use to protect the computer systems storing your business data?

All of the computing equipment in the JCC data center is protected by hardware maintenance and software support agreements from our vendors in the case of a hardware failure or software issue.  The hardware agreements are in effect 24x7x365 so any hardware failure is replaced as fast as possible.  However, this is the 3rd line of defense protecting the uptime for your business.  Our computing systems are designed with redundancy so that if any one piece of equipment fails, a backup device is already powered on, configured and ready to automatically take over for the failed device.  See the section, JCC Data Center, for specific details on our hardware configuration.

JCC Hosting can provide your Central Ohio business access to the exact same equipment and infrastructure used by major corporations around the world, with the same level of attention to updates and security, at a fraction of the cost of an in-house solution.

What is a virtual server?

Today’s computer manufacturers can pack a huge number of circuits on a single chip of silicon. The number of circuits is doubling every 18 months and has been doing so since 1965. This is called Moore's Law after Gordon E Moore who described this phenomenon in 1965. There have been 33 doubling periods since then and the result is that chips are 8 thousand million times more complex than they were in 1965.

Recent efforts to shrink the electrical circuits on chips has run into something called a heat wall. This wall is due to leakage of electrical current between parts of the chip resulting in high heat similar to the way a hair dryer works. Shrinking is the main way that computers have become faster. Electrical signals are limited to the speed of light and things can go faster if there are shorter distances to go. As a result of the heat wall, computer chips have stopped shrinking and instead have become more complex.

As a result, chips cannot now be shrunk more than they were in about the year 2000. Instead the chips have stayed the same size and accordingly run at roughly the same speed of 2+ Gigahertz. The number of circuits on the chip continues to increase. The question is, what use is made of the huge number of extra circuits? The answer is to place multiple CPUs on a single chip. In this case the CPUs are called cores and the term CPU is reserved for the entire chip. Current product supports up to 16 cores on a single CPU chip and this number is increasing.

A traditional computer is composed of several principal parts: a Central Processing Unit (CPU), main memory and an I/O subsystem that allows data and programs to be moved into and out of memory. As you can see, current technology delivers way more than a single CPU. It may present 1, 2, 4, 12 or 16 cores to the hardware.

This abundance of capability is difficult to use for a traditional program because only one core can be kept busy at a time unless some extremely special programming techniques are used. What is done instead is to partition the entire computer into several “logical” computers. This is done by software called Hypervisors. Each logical computer appears to the operating system which controls a computer such as Linux or Windows as a single computer. The operating system in a logical instance “sees” a complete machine, but that machine is carved out of a larger physical machine.

The Hypervisor is responsible for maintaining strict security controls so that no information can bleed between the logical computers.

These logical computers have several names. They may be called instances or, alternatively, virtual servers.

What is the advantage of creating an internet domain for my small business?

Creating an internet domain allows you to show your brand name in one more instance. For example, if your company name is "My Company, Inc.", you might register the internet domain names mycompany.com, mycompanyinc.com, my-company.com, and my-company-inc.com. Each of these names can be configured to point to the same web site and e-mail server. The goals of internet domain names are to be sufficiently distinct and memorable that your customers can find your business and not be confused by competitors.

There are multiple top level domains. In the USA, .com has typically been used for businesses and .org has been used for non-profit organizations. The variety of top level domains has expanded in recent years so domain name registration services now offer a large variety of top level domains. While registering some additional domain names might be useful, it also increases the ongoing costs.

What is the advantage of creating a windows domain for my small business?

A Microsoft Windows Domain allows central management and control of usernames, access control, security policies, etc. One (or more) server is configured as an Active Directory server for a Windows Domain. The Windows Domain Name can be the same name as the internet domain name, but could also be different.

All desktop and laptop computers can be configured to be a part of the Windows domain if they are running the Pro (or Ultimate or Enterprise) versions of Windows.

Active Directory can be used to manage additional resources (printers, for example) and as the authentication server for VPN logins.


What are the options and considerations when choosing an ISP?

There are three primary internet service providers (ISP) in the Licking County markets: the telephone company (Windstream or CenturyLink), the cable company (Time Warner) and Horizon. The telephone and cable companies have been in the area for decades. Horizon is new to this area and is in the process of building out a new fibre optic network throughout South Eastern Ohio. Other providers exist, but they generally lease network bandwidth from either the telephone company or the cable company.

The considerations for any ISP are reliability, availability, service, performance, and price.

Reliability – Internet connectivity is now a utility. It needs to be as reliable as any other utility. With any business, if the electricity, water, gas, or sewer utilities are unavailable, an organization’s ability to function is diminished. In today’s business environment, if internet connectivity is interrupted, the ability to function is diminished.

Availability – Different technologies inherently have different levels of availability. Networks using telephone lines or fibre optic cable are powered from central offices, which usually have battery backups and generators. Networks on copper coax (cable TV) need signal repeaters every half mile or so. If power to a repeater fails, the network past the repeater is unavailable.

Service – If there is an interruption in service, can you talk to a support person who is able to understand the problem you are describing?

Performance – There are several aspects in internet performance, in particular bandwidth and latency.

When choosing an ISP, the most critical question is bandwidth, usually measured in Kilobits per second (Kbps,) or Megabits per second (Mbps) where 1 Kbps is a thousand bits per second and 1 Mbps is a million bits per second.

In general, larger is better but more expensive.

Network bandwidth is often expressed as two numbers, for example “6Mb/768Kb”. In this example, the service provides 6Mbps downloading from the internet but only 768Kbps uploading to the internet.

To put this in perspective, a document (such as this one) that contains primarily text would take about 1/10th second to download, but 1 second to upload. A larger document containing lots of pictures or scanned text might take 7 second to download but 50 seconds to upload.

It is possible to get symmetrical network links that have the same bandwidth in both directions. Symmetrical network links are more expensive than asymmetrical links but have advantages when working with a remote server.

If the topic of network performance were not already complicated enough, there is another factor called “latency”. Latency is a measure of how long it takes for a network message (packet) to get from one location to another. Latency is a function of how network messages are routed from one location to another. In Newark, for example, a network message between a Windstream customer and a Time Warner customer might be routed from Newark to Cleveland to Washington DC to Cleveland to Newark. This will take measurably longer than transferring data between two sites which use the same ISP.

Price – The factors that determine network price are bandwidth, asymmetrical or symmetrical, distance from the central office, and competition. The only way to get an accurate cost is to get quotes from multiple vendors with several different network bandwidths.

What are the options and considerations when choosing an email provider?

There are many email providers. Reliability, availability, service, price are key considerations. With an email provider, security and records retention also become important factors. The major national players are Microsoft, GoDaddy and Google and there are numerous regional and local providers. It is also possible to host your own e-mail server, but for a small business, this is likely to be more expensive than using a provider.

If security and records retention are critical to your business, any email solution should be evaluated in terms of the corporate security and records retention requirements.

Any e-mail solution will provide mechanisms for accessing e-mail both from desktop/laptop environment and from mobile phone or tablet devices.

What would happen if a natural disaster destroyed the JCC Hosting data center? (i.e. what are the plans for disaster recovery)

Currently, the biggest threat to the JCC Data Center is a catastrophic fire.  Because of our geographic location, a flood or tornado is extremely unlikely.  Our data center is equipped with environmental sensors to report irregularities of temperature, humidity and smoke and alert our team and the local authorities to an event as soon as possible.  Additionally, we regularly communicate with the local fire department to make their team aware of our computing equipment so they can react appropriately, if necessary.

Should a fire completely destroy our data center, the JCC Hosting goal is to have our client's data and applications be restored and available within 2 business days and the entire data center back up within 1 week.  We recognize that this could be better and have launched an effort to have a secondary backup data center established by late summer 2013.  When the secondary JCC Hosting Data Center becomes available, our clients data and applications should be available within 1 hour of any catastrophic event.

We spend a lot of time being paranoid about our computer systems and in turn our clients corporate data.

What is the JCC Hosting backup strategy?

To protect data from catastrophe, whether caused by operator error or some unpredicted equipment malfunction, full backups of all hosted server disks are performed five times per week, Monday through Friday evenings. These backups are stored on magnetic tape and the backup processes are automated and monitored. Each morning, the relevant tapes are removed and fresh tapes are put in the tape systems to be ready for the next night’s backups. The tapes so removed are then taken off-site to a secure location in Granville convenient to the office and stored in a vault.

Additionally, we will work with clients to create specialty database backups to disk on a daily basis.  These special database backups can be immediately available for your mission critical applications should the data become corrupt or unusable.  In turn, these backups will be placed on the nightly tape that is stored off-site.

Not only is yesterday’s work available from the tapes, but in emergency we can recover customer data that is even older. The tapes in the vault are retained for one month and then reused. The tape written at the end of the month is kept for a full calendar year. The tape written on the last day of the year is retained indefinitely.  If necessary, we can also design a customized backup strategy for clients that have unique backup retention requirements.

How does JCC Monitor the network to ensure server and remote office uptime?

JCC Hosting uses a software product called, PRTG, from Paessler, to monitor and ensure that clients have connectivity to their servers that are hosted within the JCC Data Center.  Our team receives immediate notification in the event that the network between JCC and your office is interrupted.  In most cases, we will know that your network is unavailable before you do and we will take action to rectify the situation.

It is important to note that we do not track or examine the details of the data that flows in or out of your office.  We just ensure the existence of your link to the internet and the permanent VPN into your JCC hosted server.

We can also provide availability reports on a daily, weekly, monthly and annual basis to customers so they can accurately evaluate access to their remote server(s).  In most, if not all cases, because of the infrastructure deployed at the JCC Data Center, companies will find that servers hosted with us will be more available than servers hosted locally in their own office.

This monitoring and reporting is included in a contract with JCC Hosting.

Can JCC Hosting house our equipment in their facility?

JCC Hosting has some space available to house customer rack-mount equipment.

For larger amounts of equipment, we can work with you to get quotes from one or more of the colocation facilities in central Ohio.

Please contact us to discuss your requirements.

How do the office and remote VPN strategies work? (is it secure?)

JCC Hosting uses state-of-the-art firewall and VPN hardware, software and encryption techniques.  We discuss the specifics of our firewall strategy only with potential and existing clients.  Configuration of this equipment and software - including VPN client s/w for laptops that will connect from various remote locations - is included in a JCC Hosting contract.

Rest assured that your data is safe and secure within our data center.  Please feel free to contact us directly for more information regarding this technology.