What is Cloud Computing?

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Cloud Computing has made it so easy to innovate quickly.  In allows companies to do things in completely new ways with a far lower cost than ever before.  Its ‘fail fast’ mentality means that people are free to experiment and learn the lessons of failure without accruing large upfront costs.  You can have your cake and eat it too.

For these reason, tomorrow’s transformational business leader will be whoever can make the most of cloud technology.

What are you doing to enable a digital revolution in your industry?

Apart from the Cloud Computing Horse or ‘distributed computing’, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) published the definition of cloud computing as;

Cloud computing is a model for enabling ubiquitous, convenient, on-demand network access to a shared pool of configurable computing resources (e.g., networks, servers, storage, applications, and services) that can be rapidly provisioned and released with minimal management effort or service provider interaction. This cloud model is composed of five essential characteristics, three service models, and four deployment models. – NIST*1

A new procurement model reducing and sometimes avoiding the up-front IT infrastructure cost has enabled business to become more adaptable and agile and meet unpredictable business demand more efficiently.

As virtualization and consolidation technologies were implemented, the launch of high-capacity, lower cost computers, and storage via Amazon EC2 began to drive the new growth in cloud computing. Over the next 10 years followed Google, Microsoft, IBM, and Oracle, among others.

Whilst there was a slower adoption than anticipated across some regions and industries, the business transformation that cloud computing has delivered, is unprecedented. Yet, with new technologies comes new problems.

In 2013, Sara Angeles of Business News Daily released an article highlighting 8 Reasons to Fear Cloud Computing. Whilst most focus on cybersecurity and support, the eighth is the one of the more open – RISK (although the article also relates this to security).

The risk element is not alone to cloud computing, but technology as a whole. There has always been an element of progressing into the unknown with adopting new technologies and new standards, however, as the article sums up “For business using or considering migrating to the cloud, all you can do is be as prepared as you can possibly be. The key is getting to know providers as much as you can, both as a company and from an end-user perspective. “

 

Traditional cloud services fall into one of the three categories;

SaaS

software as a service

IaaS

infrastructure as a service

PaaS

platform as a service

Moving away from traditional procurement models, consumerism and the subscription economy is driving new services. And as consumption and billing models are changing and being adapted, so is demand for new services. The rebranding of many solutions as a service is becoming more mainstream and starting to be tied under a generic Everything as a Service (EaaS / XaaS).

An example of several Everything as a Service (EaaS / XaaS) solutions include:

  • IDaaS (identity as a service)
  • DBaaS (database as a service)
  • UCaaS / (unified communications as a service)
  • SECaaS (security as a service)
  • DRaaS / BaaS (disaster recovery / backup as a service)
  • DaaS / PCaaS (device / PC as a service)
  • WaaS (workplace as a service)

When you consider a traditional IT budget and a traditional user requirement, an old approach to procurement would be to purchase assets that depreciated rapidly and reduced cash flow and on many occasions, businesses were left with excessive licensing and assets.

Recent economic pressures are forcing financial controllers/business owners to find ways to cut costs, reduce capital outlay and reduce expenditure.

Embracing a cloud service/computing model provides the business with many benefits, including:

  • Cost-Control / Reduced Overheads
  • Little to no capital expenditure
  • Reduced Management
  • Becoming more agile and easier to scale
  • Device and location independence

A general first step for introducing cloud services is to conduct a review of the systems that you already have in place.

With a little analysis, it should be easy to work out which systems would offer the biggest benefit and lowest risk with their move to the cloud. In most cases, this will be a step by step process as in-house systems reach end of life.

Mercia ITS provides smart people to translate customer requirements into working solutions. We’re able to advise on the best ‘blended solution’ to fit your business. We have great experience in migrating systems onto cloud, ensuring your move across will be seamless and painless.

The team at Mercia ITS have been working on cloud solutions in various guises, be it traditional hosted-servers or as application service providers (asp) for over three decades. The changing cloud delivery model, including utility and consumption pricing, has brought many additional benefits to businesses today.

Sources:
*1 Peter Mell and Timothy Grance (September 2011). The NIST Definition of Cloud Computing (Technical report). National Institute of Standards and Technology: U.S. Department of Commerce. doi:10.6028/NIST.SP.800-145. Special publication 800-145.

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