I have to share this experience as the manager of OTPortal, a SaaS hosted application:
We have a virtual server in our private cloud that hosts both the production and test sites for OTPortal. We needed to put the test version on a separate virtual server so that we could do more thorough testing without impacting production.
Within an hour’s work and one phone call between our systems administrator, our lead developer, and myself we had a test server in our private cloud that was an exact duplicate version of the production server!
Our systems administrator made a “copy” of the production virtual server, then “pasted” it back to our Private Cloud and renamed it. It was like copying, pasting and renaming a word document.
Our lead developer made a few changes to the web.config file of the otportal app so that it would connect to the test database instead of the production database. He changed the DNS….and voila – it was up and running and we’re now using it for testing.
So, now when we go to our staging sites to test the next release, we’re not using the production server. That will provide better resiliency for us and the clients.
The lower run and deployment cost of a virtual server in our private cloud makes it easy to justify.
Had it been on a physical server it would have taken 10-20 hours of work and 1000s of $ to: deploy the server; install the OS; install .net and all the patches; install the staging site; copy the database; install the otportal application and basically re-create a whole new production system. At best it would have taken 5-10 elapsed days to get to all these steps. It’s why we didn’t do it until now.
Extending this example, it would be very easy to restart OTPortal on another windows cloud. Cloud computing takes disaster recovery to a much simpler process.
It really was like magic to our lead developer and I who, are used to days and weeks of elapsed time for infrastructure modifications which always dramatically slow the pace down.
Something you really have to experience to fully appreciate.
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