Growing technology is sometimes as fuzzy in our minds as a cloud in the sky.
Cloud computing is the on-demand delivery of computer power, database storage, applications and other IT resources through a cloud services platform via the internet with pay-as-you-go pricing.
Notice the big three of cloud computing placed up front:
- delivery of computer power – workstations and servers
- database storage – fully backed up and accessible for disaster recovery
- applications – accessible whether at your home remote office in Los Angeles or the main office in NYC
One of the most significant word in the above definition is “cloud.” Cloud is a metaphor for the Internet. As such, the term cloud to speak of the Internet is not new. Providing the services above as a pay-as-you-go service, is new. Cloud symbols are commonly used to show connectivity through the Internet in network diagrams. That’s how your home base is connected to your web-designer or SEO expert in India. Or to your friends in Belarus. The difference in cloud computing is that the connectivity simulates a workstation or server or data storage facility or software application, and does so as a service.
One of the great advantages of cloud computing is the rapid access to flexible and low cost resources. Adding on new employees? No need to go out and purchase 5-10 computers. Just add them virtually at your cloud computing base. If your company data storage suddenly begins to max out, you can add more data storage virtually with a simple call. So no upfront investments in hardware. No heavy lifting the hardware. Complete control of the type and size resource needed for each user. Downsizing? You only pay for what you use.
Let’s consider six advantages of cloud computing:
- Trade capital expense for variable expense – not investing in equipment before you know the full scope of growth needs, you pay for what you need as you need it.
- Benefit from massive economies of scale – economies of scale are not determined by the scale of your business operations, but are based on the broader back of your cloud provider, translating into lower pay as you go pricing.
- No need to guess at total capacity – infrastructure capacity often changes as proof of concept is refined. The waste of over-estimating or the pinch of under-estimating can be avoided by the ease of scaling up and down within minutes.
- Increase speed and agility – moving the research team to a more suitable location is not the logistic issue it could be; the entire organization has the agility to experiment with what is best.
- Decrease time and effort on infrastructure – the constant need for maintaining your data center is shifted to the ubiquity of the cloud.
- Go global – whether a second and third city or country, cloud computing allows your deployment to be a secondary issue with growth as the primary.
Three Main Categories of Cloud Computing
- Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)
- Platform as a Service (PaaS)
- Software as a service (SaaS) – the most common example of this is the Microsoft offering, Office 365.
Wikipedia provides a helpful infographic to illustrate the three categories of cloud computing:
Talk to Alliant about the benefits of cloud computing to your business.