What is Cloud Computing
In recent years, there has been a lot of "buzz" about so-called Cloud Computing. But what is it exactly? In this entry we will try to answer this question, peer into the future of Cloud Computing, as well as explain why it is so attractive to business owners.
You might hear the term "Horizontally Scalable" a lot from now on. If a network architecture is "Horizontally Scalable" this means that is easy to increase the capacity (performance, ram, speed, etc.) simply by adding on a new "node" (for example, a new physical server). The new node increases the power of the existing architecture in a seamless way. It is as if it has merged with the existing system. As an example, imagine that your employee base has rocketed from 50 employees to 1000 employees because you are getting so many new clients and work (a great problem to have!), instead of investing in new expensive servers and infrastructure to replace your current systems, you would simply add nodes. Instead of exponentially increasing costs, your costs increase at a far lower rate than your technological capacity. Cloud Computing embraces this principle.
Another key concept in Cloud Computing is "Software as a Service", or (SaaS). The idea behind this concept is that software, and data are "Served" to the client (the machine and user requesting it) from your central technology infrastructure (Your Cloud), and are not explicitly installed or ran from the client machine. This provides many benefits in maintaining and upgrading your Information Technology infrastructure.
Why Businesses are Using Cloud Computing
As alluded to above, in the traditional model, often times network infrastructures are not designed to be horizontally scalable. Because of this, increasing capacity often involves replacing existing hardware, or adding new hardware that does not integrate with the existing system in a seamless way. Because of the ad-hoc nature of this approach, costs can rise exponentially as an increase in technological capacity is needed. Businesses clearly want to spend as little as possible on their network while maintaining the highest standards of performance and reliability. Cloud Computing addresses these needs head-on.
In addition to the obvious savings, there are also hidden savings. With cloud computing, the way in which your employees work does not change when new "nodes" are added. When new hardware and software are added under the traditional model, this is not always the case. Significant changes may need to be made to the daily work-flow. This obviously is a huge cost due to the time it takes to adjust to a new way of doing things, and to fix mistakes made in the process.
Cloud computing offers businesses the ability to grow without incurring exponentially increasing IT costs. The majority of computing operations will be done in the cloud in a few short years according to expert. In fact, much of it already is - the web browser, when accessing sites with rich functionality (like Facebook) can be thought of as a Cloud Computing access device in it's own right. One day, however, most everything will be done in this fashion, on both large and small scales.
There are many benefits to Cloud Computing. However, deciding on a proper implementation requires expert guidance and help. Hopefully, you will now know what questions to ask if you choose to get a consultation.