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How the Cloud Computing and Open Source Can Revolutionize Your Business in 2012

cloudsNo longer just a buzzword, 2011 marked the year that the cloud officially became a game changing reality. Businesses of all sizes are leveraging cloud computing, shifting focus to core competencies, and liberating their team from the burdens of infrastructure and software models of the past. Add open source software to the mix, and now you have a revolution that will turn industries upside down and crown new winners overnight. What is "cloud computing” and why should you care? Today’s cloud is a highly evolved collection of web services that includes secure storage, application hosting, databases, computing services, monitoring, and a whole lot more. Services are billed as they are used and can be ramped up or down in real-time as needs change. In-house IT infrastructure and software can be virtually eliminated, creating cost savings as well as the flexibility to rethink how and where your workforce utilizes IT. What is "open source software,” and why should you care? Open source software is simply software that can be used, modified and distributed for free. The most popular open source software is usually the product of a robust developer community that constantly works to improve the source code. This means that, as a user, you have an army of programmers constantly improving your product, fixing bugs, and providing a pool of custom developers to engage as needed. The IT problem that was killing Live Energy Inc. When I started an energy brokerage firm 10 years ago, we started with manual processes, Excel and email. As our business grew, so did our technology needs. Individually, we added a CRM, a hosted VOIP phone system, a WordPress website, web analytics, an SEO strategy, a blog, video streaming and more. The list of disparate software services and providers grew. Every couple years we needed to upgrade certain pieces in order to stay ahead of the competition. Finally, after years of shifting from one product to the next, and from provider to provider, we realized this was an effort in futility. The providers wanted to sell us their product while charging exorbitant integration fees and demanding long term contracts. I felt like I was always dealing with professional sales people who had never sat in my shoes and experienced first-hand the real world challenge of building best of breed technology solutions to grow a business. The aha! moment; How we overcame, and how you can too. In 2009, after realizing that our video streaming service was unreliable, we chose to move from a $100 per month service and try streaming from the cloud. The new service was faster and more reliable, but the real shocker was my first bill, which was under $5.00! The wheels were set in motion, and over the next year we moved our website, our CRM and our hosted VOIP service over with similar results. In each case we dumped overpriced commercial software and replaced it with leaner open source versions. With the savings in licensing fees, we retained expert developers who were able to configure everything into one tightly integrated platform, which we deployed to the cloud, and we never looked back. SUNZI CLOUD - A new breed of IT solution providers. When I demoed our platform to other business owners, it became abundantly clear that the pain and frustration that led to our IT transformation was quite common. So in 2010 my latest venture, SUNZI CLOUD, was born. This new firm provides a product suite that sits on an open source server stack comprised of Linux, Apache, MySql and PHP. On top of that we have an integrated WordPress site,highly customizable CRM and hosted VOIP system that all leverage open source software. By eliminating licensing costs and charging only for resources consumed, we are able to drastically reduce our clients IT costs, while delivering more powerful custom solutions. I highly encourage you to consider the facts I have laid out. There are a host of new companies, such as SUNZI CLOUD, that can quantify the benefits, develop a strategy and assist in a seamless transition for your business. You just might find that the time has come for you to lose the chains and take your model to cloud.

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