By Subhi Elmughrabi
Cloud computing is a hot topic these days in spite of of the fact that it’s been around for a while. Even if you are still not sure what cloud computing is, there is a high chance that you are already using it in your daily life. This includes services such as your account on Gmail or Hotmail, Skype, Facebook, and Netflix just to name a few.
We discussed cloud computing, its definition, and the different types of it in an earlier post. In this post I would like to touch on a few cloud computing benefits in order to help you decide if it would be a good choice for your business.
- Cost-efficient, Cloud computing is often much more cost effective, instead of buying, maintaining, and managing your own servers; you can outsource your hardware needs and store your data remotely instead (Iaas). Another advantage would be that you don’t have to pay the full price of software anymore. An advantage of cloud computing is that you subscribe to the software and you only pay for it when you need it (SaaS). Furthermore, you don't have to worry about maintaining and upgrading software or fixing bugs, because all maintenance is done by the providers. This will allow your IT teams to focus on technical issues specific to the business. On top of that, remote maintenance means it's easy for you to always have the latest and most powerful version of any particular software. You also have the benefits of having some dedicated subject matter experts available for any trouble related issues should the need arise (ITaas).
- Near Unlimited Capacity: you will have much more capacity for your data because it is not limited to dedicated infrastructure, so your storage capacity can grow with your business. Also cloud computing gives you the ability to scale up or scale down your capacity and services based on your current needs. For instance in the case of temporary peaks in demand, all you need to do is increase your CPU/RAM/Storage/Servers etc for the immediate need.
- Flexibility: with most any cloud computing provider you will have access to an administrative portal where you can scale your services to current requirements. No new paperwork, or infrastructure to add, typically you can add a new servicer with your requested requirements and it will be up and ready for use within an hour, including whatever Operating System and software you chose. Employees can have access to files and data from anywhere with Internet access, this includes smartphones and tablets. This is a great fit for the mobile workforce. Staff can also work collaboratively on files and documents and simultaneously view and edit there documents from multiple locations.
- Speed and Efficiency: depending upon your application, latency may be an issue to address, but for the most part cloud speeds up your daily activities. Employees no longer need to upload and download large attachments and tasks. You view and interact with a live image of the application.
- Green: Another cloud computing benefit, it is a great way to move towards green IT. According to Microsoft, cloud computing can reduce a business's carbon emissions by as much as 30%, since businesses typically don't need to power an entire server, they only use what they need.
By Chris Palermo
Cloud computing is a big technology buzz word right now. If you are an Apple iPhone or iPod user, you might have your music, calendar and contacts stored in the iCloud. But, what really is cloud computing and why should you care?
In its simplest form, cloud computing is a service that delivers an ability to use computer applications or tools that are provided to you as a service, rather than a product. The tools are delivered in a “pay for use” model so, if you use more, you pay more and, conversely, if you use less, you pay less. Think of it as “computing by the drink.” Typically, the delivery mechanism is via the internet, but you can also have a “private cloud” designed specifically for your business, which might be appropriate for applications that are for "internal use only" or must remain highly secure.
Not to confuse you, but there are also applications and tools that are delivered from a cloud computing platform that are priced as a subscription rather than “by the drink.” So, you might pay so much per month for the opportunity to use a given tool as often as you like. You still don’t have to pay what would likely be a much more substantial price to fully acquire it.
Providers are now delivering services via the cloud in several different environments. Don’t let them fool you, regardless of the form, the common thread is that you never have to buy in at the full acquisition cost – you pay to use, either “by the drink” or by subscription:
- SaaS – Software as a Service has been around for many years. Whether it is free, or for a fee, the online banking application you use to pay bills electronically is SaaS. The poplular CRM application, Salesforce.com, is a SaaS solution that really changed the paradigm as to how businesses started to use CRM systems, showing a great preference for paying “by the seat,” rather than acquiring, implementing and maintaining their own systems.
- IaaS – Infrastructure as a Service enables you to granularly pay for computing capacity, data storage and network bandwidth based upon how much you use. Commercial providers in this space will give you access to an online portal where you can actually connect and prepare more hardware infrastructure on the fly as you need it.
- ITaaS – IT as a Service creates an environment where all of your desktop applications are deliverd via the cloud in what is called a virtual desktop. Thus you can easily access all your usual applications while on the road or any time you don’t have access to your office without any letdown in productivity. All you need is an internet connection. Also, Helpdesk and other IT support functions can be provided the same way. This doesn’t necessarily preclude getting technical support via the telephone, but standardizes support delivery in a more cost-effective manner.
- CaaS – Communication as a Service delivers your telephony, chat and other collaboration tools from the cloud. The technology has improved to the point where Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) phone call quality is often right up there with traditional TDM solutions and delivered at a significant and predictable cost savings.
Can cloud computing benefit your business? In all likelihood, I would say that is an “absolute YES!” But, where do you start and how do you go about it?
GCN provides businesses, SMB to Enterprise, with voice, data, cloud, colocation and data center services solutions from over 150 partner providers worldwide. Not as the typical telecommunications agency or reseller, but as their technology consultant. We determine and tailor the best solutions to meet our customers' needs world-wide. We save our clients the time and trouble of managing one or more service providers and leverage the best solutions for them at the most cost effective price.
Should you have questions or need assistance on your next project please do not hesitate to contact me here, or via twitter at @SChrisPalermo.