So Exactly What is Cloud Computing?

Many business leaders and decision makers within organizations “year-in year-out” have to grapple with the investment required to support their infrastructure and information technology (IT) investment.   The aim is to provide an environment that supports their clients, staff, company owners and society.

Technology has always been seen as an enabler for businesses:

  1. Other ways to secure clients and to reach-out their markets;
  2. To improve business productivity;
  3. To further reduce overall business costs.

The emergence of “cloud computing” is presenting another opportunity to further support all of the above.

So what is “Cloud Computing”?

Cloud computing allows businesses to access computing resources that are owned and operated by a third-party provider on a consolidated basis in one, or usually more, data center locations.

For business it changes the face of technology as internal “to the company” infrastructure decision to an “on-demand” and “pay-as-you go” model.  This reduces “up-front” investment and provides way to gain the latest computing capabilities in a cost-effective way.  In the end it provides opportunities for greater collaboration, minimize capital expenditure, and improve business productivity due to the latest technology.

In this new world technology as a financial consideration moves from a capital investment to an operational expense.  The upside is that you have access to the latest in technology and thereby vastly improving your infrastructure.

So what are the key differences?

Well as a business:

  • You are no longer responsible for your IT infrastructure;
  • It is a “pay-as-you-go” model, simplifies scaling up and scaling down;
  • Lowers the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) than an on-premise solution;
  • Business applications reside in the cloud, simplifying business continuity planning; and
  • Supports greater up-time, thereby improving business productivity.

What does this mean for you being in the “Cloud”?

As a business owner and/or major stakeholder in your business it means the following for you:

  • Change of focus from managing servers and infrastructure to leveraging your business applications.
  • Maximizing the latest version of your business applications.
  • Ensuring that objectives set within your Service Level Agreements (SLA) regarding uptime, recovery time and scalability are met.
  • How you can further reduce your total cost of ownership and simplifying your business continuity and disaster recovery plans.

What are the different “Cloud” offerings?

In reading about the “Cloud” you may heard the phrases IaaS, PaaS and SaaS.  What do they mean?

Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) – is a group server(s) that are provided in Data Centers and are managed by the client(s), sometimes referred to as a private cloud.  Examples of this are Amazon with their EC2 service and Citrix with their C3 service.

Platform as a Service (PaaS) – this is similar as IaaS, but the provider shares management with the client, being you.

Software as a Service (SaaS) – this solution is typically multi-tenant, and is referred to as the public cloud.  The server(s) and data resides in the providers data center and they are responsible for the solution.  So everyday SaaS examples that we are exposed to include hotmail, gmail, google docs, NetFlix, and the social media tools: FaceBook, twitter, LinkedIn.


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