Cloud computing is the next generation for computing and it is here now. For senior IT decision makers it’s not really a question of if, but when and how much. There are a number of ways to explain cloud computing, but probably the simplest description is that it is “IT as a service”. At its most basic level, you use the internet to access your computing needs, rather than having all your information and software based on your desktop or servers. Working to its most efficient model you can access services and applications as and when you need them, remotely via the internet. All you need is an interface and an internet connection.
With the advent of virtualization, the hardware that runs your applications has become extremely efficient. With Virtualization you can now separate applications from infrastructure making them easily accessible. As applications can now be bundled to include databases, middleware and operating systems, they can exist anywhere on the cloud.
Additionally you can also commute your storage and processing capacity to the cloud, so you only use what you need. As businesses need to flex in their IT requirements, more computing power is available instantly, so scalability comes built in.
Where Has It Come From
As we all strive for ever greater efficiencies the norm of everyone, needing every application, all of the time, just does not add up. Cloud computing takes advantage recent advances in IT and is a convergence of 3 major trends:
- Virtualization – applications are separated from infrastructure, so apps can now be run as virtualised images.
- Software as a Service – Applications available on demand on a subscription basis.
- Utility computing – server capacity and processing capacity are accessed across a grid as a variably priced shared service, or simply pay as you go.
If you liken computing to a utility such as electricity, you don’t need to generate your own. You only pay for what you use and you only use what you need. It therefore makes for the most efficient model possible.
What’s Right for My Organisation?
As with all decisions in IT, there is no one single approach that fits every organisation. At the outset of considering a move to cloud computing you will need to make a few basic decisions on whether to implement a public cloud or build your own private cloud or do both selectively (hybrid) depending on the workload.
The most often asked question is how secure do I want to be. In the main our clients will not allow sensitive information to be hosted externally. We therefore advocate a Hybrid approach to cloud computing which allows the most sensitive and private information to be held within company firewalls, e.g. employee and customer privately identifiable information, Research and Development files, and company financial and strategic plans.
In contrast however there are large amounts of data stored, that are either historical or in the public domain, which could otherwise be made available from the cloud e.g. public website, information on current and past products/services, and archived information.
The second question is what functions do I want to send to the cloud. That could be one of, or a combination of, any of the following:
- Software as a Service(SaaS)
- Infrastructure as a Service(IaaS)
- Platforms as a Service(PaaS)
- Storage as a Service(STaaS)
Cost is always a major factor and great consideration will need to be given to the advantages of reduced maintenance and hardware costs, which require planned upfront investment. Compare this to the ongoing subscription fees associated with cloud services.
Whatever stage you are at, or whichever combination you choose, Allied can help you through the process and deliver the right solution for your business.
Our Experienced Consultants Can Help You In:
- Cloud adoption assessment
- Planning & designing cloud services
- Implementing SaaS, PaaS, IaaS & STaaS solutions
- Delivering and managing cloud services
For advice or more information on Allied’s cloud computing services, contact us and we will be happy to discuss your requirements.