Ask the Board – July 29, 2019 | STEVE “CHEWIE” STAVAR


“What are the challenges with migrating from an on-premise solution to a cloud-based solution?”

We have looked, been pushed to look, and looked again about moving from an on-premise solution to a cloud-based solution. There are a few things holding us back: asset management/workflow, tinkering, price and education.

Like everyone else, we have our own solution for our workflow and asset management. We have a solution in which I can easily put an image into a networked folder that I can then access with an auto-generated URL. I didn’t have to upload it and then copy and paste that URL into my content management solution. I know it sounds silly, and there are probably ways to do the same thing if everything was in the cloud, but would my ITS’ security group allow me to do the same thing?

By locally hosting our content management solution, we have the ability to look under the hood of our content management solution more than if they hosted the backend. There are things we are able to do with our digital signage solution because we are able to see how the software writes files and databases content enough to be able to add functionality to our deployments that wouldn’t be possible otherwise.

We accidentally had a little cost analyst experiment with cloud hits and data transfer costs a few months ago. We started to have all of our players pull a feed from something West Virginia University had in the cloud. Because of the number of hits and the data transfer, the bill was higher the month after we started the pulls than the previous months. Luckily, we caught it fairly soon and were able throttle back the amount of requests and data transfer in a short amount of time. Because of this, we could see the fluctuation of monthly costs becoming an issue. It is also hard to justify a monthly expense when we have two physical boxes that are paid for and (knock on wood) working.

With all of the perceived setbacks, I am sure there are potentially more benefits to moving to a cloud-based solution. I think we could even be able to “host” the back end of our content management solution in the cloud. We need to sit down with those around us who have the education to help us make an educated decision on where to move in the future. The point that will push us to make that decision will be when our hardware starts to fail or can’t take the next upgrade. I am sure there will be sticker shock when we look to buy new boxes, but a larger upfront cost may still outweigh the never-ending costs of moving to the cloud.

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Digital Signage Specialist
West Virginia University

End User Council

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