Why cloud computing?
Cloud Computing has the potential of delivering greater benefits and more return on your investment..
Some can offer your business additional security and availability, greater collaboration and the ability to access your proprietary data anywhere, anytime. Cloud allows your business greater openness – to connect to multiple clouds, to use mobile applications for business.
Billing models with cloud vary from paying for what you have (capital expense) to paying for what you need (monthly payments per employee for example) to paying for what you use (similar to how you pay for your utilities today).
Cloud Computing allows you to scale much more easily. The ability to buy more processing power only during your peak times is an incredible advantage.
Applications you use via the Internet (Software as a Service model) assure the latest and greatest version – no more scheduling time in the evenings to run updates.
What is cloud computing?
It is both an ‘IT service delivery model’ AND an ‘end-user experience’. Technological advancements in several key areas have enabled a cloud computing model to come into existence: First and foremost is the existence of the internet, widely accessible at speeds not possible only a few short years ago. Dramatically increased capabilities paired with dramatically reduced costs for chips – both Processors and RAM (computer memory), and disk (storage) space also contribute. Innovations with operating systems and proliferation of devices other than traditional computers. Cloud computing is the synthesis of these existing technologies, implemented to take greatest advantage of economies of scale, and applied towards solving business problems.
The Changing IT Landscape
Information Technology constantly changes – we have faster speeds and feeds than we ever imagined 10 years ago but for an IT transition to take hold, 3 factors must align. First, there must be enough business reasons for all of us to pay attention to the new “thing” – if we have a high propensity to receive a greater ROI by getting more out of our IT, accessing our secure data from any device rather than being tethered to the desktop/laptop, not having to upgrade every 3 to 5 years, and being able to collaborate more easily with virtual employees, businesses and partners we are likely to listen.
Second, the technology has to be ready for the new way of doing business. Virtualization software has improved and lower cost options have entered the playing field, bandwidth is cheaper and of higher quality, security measures are stronger, parallel processing has improved and storage capabilities are up and the cost keeps trending down. Data centers have figured out how to use this model and save in energy costs. It is predicted that cloud-based data centers will lower energy costs from $23.3 billion in 2010 to $16.0 billion in 2020 and cause a 28% reduction in green house gasses emissions.*
You still will not have a transition occur without the 3rd element, social acceptance. Others around you have to be doing it in order for the transition to occur. According to MarketBridge, 70-85% of SMBs expect to move major applications to the cloud in next 12 months (survey conducted in Dec. 2010).** Because of the social acceptance of cloud based software like Salesforce.com, Facebook, Gmail and the like we are more prone to social accept doing business via the cloud. Mobile adoption will make this transition move even faster as we are already connected all the time. The ability to partner and outsource this function and expect more from the applications we use in our business cause us to want the new and improved way of computing.
These 3 drivers are coming together and we believe that the buzz around cloud computing is not all hype – there are key drivers making it happen. Many businesses are ready to make a blind leap today but a slow transition is occurring.
You are probably in the cloud in some capacity today. Your business may already be using Facebook or YouTube to attract new customers. You may personally share photos online through a service like Instagram or have on-line email like Gmail. All of these services are using cloud technologies. Your business may be ready to take more of your IT needs to the cloud – possibly it is time to upgrade your email to a hosted Microsoft Exchange solution where you can the efficiencies of the cloud and the power of Exchange (calendar sharing, global address book, true business class email).
What defines Cloud Architecture?
The technology enabler for the cloud is virtualization. You probably heard the term but never thought to much about it. Virtualization is software that imitates computer hardware. You can do more with less by leveraging virtualization software. This is the key ingredient for creating a cloud environment.
According to the National Institute of Standards and Technology, there are 3 service models:
1. Software as a Service (SaaS) where the provider offers specific applications running on their IT infrastructure and delivered to you via the Internet – like Salesforce.com
2. Platform as a Service (PaaS) is where you could rent servers but the control remains with the provider – like Google App Engine, Microsoft Azure and Salesforce.com’s Force.com – you just rent the space but the platform is maintained by the provider
3. Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) provides a complete cloud environment – you would buy the computing resources you need (servers, software, storage) as a fully outsourced service – an example of IaaS providers are Amazon AWS and Rackspace Cloud Servers.
Ok – so you see cloud computing does span a wide spectrum of service models. You also have deployment models, or ways in which these 3 service models may be utilized for your business. Let’s focus on Public vs. Private cloud options.
Public vs. Private Cloud
Public Cloud: The cloud infrastructure is made available to the general public or a large industry group and is owned by an organization selling cloud services.
Features to take into consideration:
- Implements virtualization
- Hosted off-site
- No hardware access
- Scaling is granular
- Limited configurations
- Must connect to Internet
Private Cloud: The cloud infrastructure is operated solely for an organization. It may be managed by the organization or a third party and may exist on premise or off premise.
Features to take into consideration:
- Implements virtualization
- Hosted off-site or on-site
- Own/lease your HW and SW
- Scaling is stepped
- Flexible configurations
- Option to connect to ‘Net’
- Your data
What Cloud Solution is Right for Your Business?
Cloud Computing provides options. There is not a universal right and wrong way. The decision to migrate towards cloud computing allows you the flexibility to transition at the pace that is right for your business.
The best way to ensure you are making the right decision is to seek guidance and help – you need a trusted advisor.
Partner with thought leaders that understand business and technology.
CMIT Solutions of West Omaha provides IT services and solutions to small businesses. We’ve already been doing business “in the clouds” for years. We’ve recently expanded our product offerings to include solutions for private cloud deployments, public cloud deployments and beefed up our Software as a Service offerings.
Fill out the form on this page or give us a call at (402) 507-5259 to contact us for a free, no obligation, Cloud Readiness Assessment so our team can help you determine what is right for your business.