Raw milk and SAAS for small business

A glass of milkImage via Wikipedia

“Hmmmm…this tastes different, grassy, is it safe?”. Hey, it was my first time sampling certified raw milk. I was a little wary.

The guy at the farmer’s market reassured me, “well, it’s only good for a day or two, in my opinion, if you keep it cold. Some people try to keep it too long, drink it, get a little tummy ache, and never come back”.

It made me think about some of the small and mid businesses that I advise on SAAS. We are talking here about companies with 10-300 employees, 5M-50M per year in total revenues. I have been slowly building this client portfolio as more of these small operators in technical verticals are being screwed by enterprise software companies. These folks need alternatives.

Some went the SAAS route before I came around to help them. Raw milk baby – get a bad cup and you may never try again. SAAS. Shame. Some of these folks, despite being really fine IT professionals, really didn’t understand the difference between a hosted solution, a managed server, a grid service, and a platform as a service.

Now, I’m no savior, no magician. I just try and use my head to carefully think through what services will work, what the trade offs are, and if these projects will align with the client’s long goals.

One prospective client that had my bid in their maybe box had just gone through the very recent S3 outage. Another vendor, really just a glorified Web Developer (no flies on them), set up a proxy to S3 to back stop this very client’s POS gateway storage. For archived credit receipts, it was really quite clever and economical (for the price) and it did what the jobber said it would – save them from having to maintain and continuously¬† update a SAN, for a while. (BTW, their old SAN never had a minute downtime but was a headache to operate).

They just didn’t think it through, they pulled the plug on the aging, local storage array, tested the S3 proxy, and went live. They could easily have created another proxy or some kind of sync client for the EDI data on the old array that would have caught up the data in the slack periods, but the vendor was in a hurry and told the client that S3 was, “an invulnerable service”.

Well, I don’t have to tell you what the fallout was. My older quote had some SAAS services and I got a call right away from the client. They asked me if there was a strategy for using these services safely.

I referenced that section of my quote (it was always there!), and we talked about Raw Milk, how good it was (lower cost, better average reliability), how you gotta keep it cold (always have failure scenario), and how one bad dairy shouldn’t color your experiences going forward.

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