Cloud computing is the latest buzzword from IT professionals and a concept that is drastically changing networks and IT support as we all know it. Allowing a third party the responsibility of hosting your data on their premises might feel like a risky decision and so why are there an increasing number of companies that are opting to do so?
What does cloud computing actually mean?
According to Wikipedia: “Cloud computing is internet-based computing, whereby shared resources, software and information, are provided to computers and other devices on-demand, like the electricity grid.”
The term ‘cloud' is used as a metaphor for the internet, based on the cloud drawing used in the past to represent the telephone network, and later to depict the internet in computer network diagrams as an abstraction of the underlying infrastructure it represents. Typical cloud computing providers deliver common business applications online that are accessed from another web service or software like a web browser, while the software and data are stored on servers.'
Software upgrades, new applications, hardware maintenance, power supply problems and support response times are some of the issues facing companies that have in-house servers. And sitting right at the top of this list is increased financial outlay. New upgrades require large capital expenditure, and some may come as unexpected ‘surprises' that have not always been adequately budgeted for.
Cloud hosting would allow these factors to be controlled and having a monthly bill would move the financial transaction to a budgeted expense. As a result the company would pay small affordable monthly costs and get high uptime levels, on-site expertise, managed upgrades and sound infrastructure. Upfront costs are reduced by buying infrastructure and management as a service, rather than investing in assets and hiring new personnel. Hosting ensures site flexibility, ensuring an ‘anywhere, anytime' business approach. Hosting environments are also equipped with high security, redundant power (most environments are backed by automatic generators) and quick 20mb redundant internet access. Support logs also get an almost immediate response to software problems in the hosted environment. Client site-callouts are drastically reduced and thus only physical issues with hardware would require a call-out.
Hosting applications are also made possible due to increased power of the internet. Bandwidth costs are now manageable with decent bandwidths (speed) and a high level of line reliability.
If you are a business owner who would rather maximise and dedicate your time to focusing on your core business rather than on IT., then perhaps you should have a professional assess whether computing in the cloud is the way for you to go.
Possible Benefits of Cloud Computing
- Reduction of upfront asset purchasing costs or capital expenditure
- Device and location independence
- A reduction in your power bills
- Utilisation and efficiency improvements
- Allowing the business employees to focus valuable time on the core business
- Reduction of extra personnel costs and IT support costs
Alexandra Marot is a partner in 9spheres Technologies, a Queensland company that designs, implements and supports IT solutions for companies.