Is Cloud Computing Right For Your Business?
Most business owners know the term “Cloud Computing“, and many even have a basic understanding of what it is, but some still just glaze over when you mention it. They get that deer-in-the-headlights look, give a few “umm’s”.. and then admit their ignorance to the subject.
It’s OK that you don’t understand what it is, or how it can benefit your business. We are all oblivious in one way or another to any given number of subjects. Even someone who spends their life in IT can be completely clueless about servers and cloud computing. It’s not entirely new, but it is becoming more popular, especially in the past few years.
As Plain-Jane as I can put it, cloud computing is just a bunch of servers located somewhere out on the internet that you can use for any number of reasons. Sounds like the Internet right? Pretty much! These servers that are also used by any number of other people, or businesses, serving one or more purpose. The most common use of cloud computing would be email. If you have a Gmail, or Hotmail account then you are indeed in “The Cloud’ for email. The server that gives you email is accessible by you via your web browser, it’s allowing you to compose, create, send, receive and store emails. It’s not in your house, or building, but it’s out there hanging in some vast expanse of 0′s and 1′s called the Internet.
It’s seemingly the wave of the future.. at least current trends show more and more companies migrating to “The Cloud”. For large and small businesses alike, migrating to the cloud in one way or another seems like a good idea. It saves businesses time and money by allowing the hardware (the server) to be hosted (or stored) in a remote location, administered, maintenanced, backed up, etc by a team of experts.
The cloud is made up of giant server farms that have hundreds, even thousands of servers all humming away in some remote, air-conditioned data center. These servers can cluster together to create virtual servers (called virtualization). These virtual servers appear as a single machine to you, but are actually existing across multiple machines, with arrays of hard drives providing terabyte upon petabyte upon exabyte of storage. Creating these virtual environments allows the administrators to slice up disk space, CPU and memory resources any way they see fit. Each customer will see only their server, access it, store data on it, etc.
The value is you save time, effort and money by using cloud computing. If you have a centralized database for your multi-location business, you don’t have to worry about managing a central server, updating hardware, tracking warranty periods, hard drive space, software upgrades, backups, etc, etc. All of these problems basically melt away once you put the data in a cloud. Then you just have to pay a monthly fee to have them host it. You can then have your remote locations connect to the new location, and voila, your saving money, time, and hopefully a little less stress.
Of course, there is the down-side to consider. Your data is now no longer so privately hosted.. so security may be a concern for you. Also, you may not be the hosting companies #1 priority if there is a catastrophic failure on their side and they need to bring hundreds, or thousands of servers back online. Both valid concerns, but the truth is you are likely ALREADY using servers hosted in a cloud.. (either via email, your web site, webmail, FTP services etc.)… and the risks are pretty nil that there will be a catastrophic failure.. to be exact, there is probably the same, or less likelihood that the cloud will crash before your server will.
So that’s it… oh, and a shameless plug… FuelToTheFire.com offers cloud computing services.. and if you have any questions on how they work, what the pricing is, etc.. just give us a call and we will be happy to answer any questions you may have.
Paul G. – FTTF
- Oracle kicks off global cloud computing road show (infoworld.com)
- Cloud Formations: Fortunes and Follies (itexpertvoice.com)
- The Pentagon’s Top Cloud Computing Supplier (datacenterknowledge.com)
- Exploring the future of computing: The Hybrid Model (customerthink.com)
- Cloud Computing: It’s Always Sunny in the Cloud (spectrum.ieee.org)
- Slidecast: Is Cloud Computing a Reality for HPC Data Centers? (insidehpc.com)
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