“Cloud computing is using the Internet to deliver hardware and software services instead of keeping physical hardware and software at your office.”
Why do companies buy or build clouds?
There are six major reasons why companies use cloud services.
- Maintaining Focus on the Business: Businesses are realizing that running an IT department is not their core competency, they are better lawyers, doctors or plumbers. Buying cloud services, either in the form of a single application like Salesforce.com or their entire datacenter is often more cost effective, more reliable and lets them reallocate their limited resources to growing their business.
- Business Agility: Businesses with significant technology investments can find themselves unable to take advantage of shifts in the market or respond to competitive pressures because the capital, people or time are not available in the measure needed to react. Cloud services remove these barriers, allowing businesses to continually adapt their technology needs to their business without the costs that would normally have to be considered with an onsite datacenter.
- Reduced Capital Expenditures: Large capital investments can be minimized or eliminated altogether in favor of small monthly payments. Capital can be protected as keeping capital and operational expenses to a minimum can be very important to small and medium businesses alike.
- Scale: Businesses that have peak seasons or different seasonal staffing demands can benefit from cloud services by letting them temporarily dial up more capacity for the seasonal business peaks, without purchasing the hardware or software that would otherwise go unused during the slower times of the year.
- Access from Anywhere: Being able to do Business without Borders™ is one of the major benefits of cloud services. Access to your applications and data is available to authorized users anywhere there is Internet access.
- Staffing Efficiency: Cloud services can help you maintain an efficient technology staff, outsourcing key technical specializations or technology staff as it makes sense for your business.
Are there different types of clouds? How do you know what to pick?
Yes, there are three primary types of clouds:
Public Clouds: “A public cloud is one in which the services and infrastructure are provided off-site over the Internet. These clouds offer the greatest level of efficiency in shared resources; however, they are also more vulnerable than private clouds. A public cloud is the obvious choice when:
1. Your standardized workload for applications is used by lots of people, such as e-mail.
2. You need to test and develop application code.
3. You have SaaS (Software as a Service) applications from a vendor who has a well-implemented security strategy.
4. You need incremental capacity (the ability to add computer capacity for peak times).
5. You’re doing collaboration projects.
6. You’re doing an ad-hoc software development project using a Platform as a Service (PaaS) offering cloud.”
For companies more concerned about security and privacy, the cost savings and flexibility of a public cloud may not be a sufficient reason to move to the cloud. For those customers, there are two additional cloud options.
Private Clouds: Private clouds offer increased security and added levels of control that are not available with public cloud offerings as each private cloud is built exclusively for one organization and can be located onsite or, more typically, offsite.
Hybrid Clouds: Often organizations select hybrid cloud models that let them take advantage of the cost saving utility-like pricing of public clouds for things like the company website for instance, while maintaining a private cloud for applications and content more sensitive in nature or subject to regulatory guidelines.