Important Cloud Computing Services
Cloud Computing is a hot buzzword in the IT industry these days, but like many new technology concepts, it's surrounded by confusion and misconceptions that make it difficult to leverage for your business.
Cloud Computing, is a pool of shared hardware and software resources, provided for use in a dynamic and/or on-demand fashion, and in a manner in which the underlining hardware and software is transparent to the end-user. Given this broad and varied definition, it's easy to see how many service offerings exist today that could be classified as Cloud Computing. Examples range from traditional colocation providers offering fully hosted VMware server infrastructure to Linux grid server implementations offering dedicated LAMP stack resources to providers (like Amazon) offering Xen server infrastructure with on-demand *NIX and Windows based virtual instances.
Cloud Computing technology has many unique attributes that make it well suited to achieving certain IT initiatives more effectively than traditional managed infrastructure service offerings:
- Cost-effectiveness: Companies are often unable to accurately determine the size and scope of their infrastructure requirements, and they often have requirements that vary in ways that are not always predictable. Cloud Computing can be more cost-effective than traditional IT infrastructure offerings due to lower start-up costs and computing resources that are available 'on-demand'; if effect, you only pay for what you use.
- Flexibility: It's not uncommon for a company to have technology requirements that change constantly due to the dynamic nature of their business. Because these changes are not always foreseeable, they often require continual implementation, decommissioning, and re-deployment of IT infrastructure and systems. Cloud Computing can be more flexible, allowing companies to react to changing technology requirements in a way that allows significantly more efficiency in the use of product budget and technical personnel.
- Scalability: Many companies have core applications and services that are extremely demanding in terms of computing power. Cloud Computing offerings provide access to very high capacity computing infrastructure that may not be accessible for the business through more 'traditional' implementations due to limitations in budget, facilities, and in-house expertise.
So what are some real world examples of where Cloud Computing currently delivers on the value promised by all the media hype? Some of the more common scenarios include:
- Replacement for traditional IT infrastructure hosting/outsourcing such as web hosting, managed data centers and colocation facilities: Cloud Computing solution offerings typically have a much lower entry cost than traditional implementations, and they often include the ability to scale up or down in a very granular way while paying only for resources being used. The cost savings associated with this approach can be significant.
- Disaster Recovery infrastructure: The implementation of Disaster Recovery (DR) environments on a Cloud Computing platform can provide tremendous cost savings because there is little-to-no cost for unused resources. Since most DR environments are rarely utilized, businesses can achieve a 'hot' disaster recovery infrastructure at minimal cost.
- Test and Development environments: Some organizations cannot afford to procure infrastructure for test and development environments that are desirable, and in some cases required for regulatory compliance, to maintain stability in production application testing and deployment. Cloud Computing provides low entry cost, faster setup times, and flexibility of resource allocation for test and development environments.
- Content Delivery: Cloud Computing platforms often provide enhancement of, or integration with, content delivery systems. This allows for more cost-efficiency and performance in the delivery of content such as media files, software, and other data sets.
Alpha Data can help you understand Cloud Computing solutions and apply them effectively to deliver real-world solutions to your business. Our consulting services include:
- Requirements analysis of your IT initiatives to determine where Cloud Computing can be appropriately leveraged.
- Identification and Assessment of Cloud Computing service offerings to determine the solution that best aligns with your business requirements.
- Design, Implementation, and Integration of technical solutions that utilize Cloud Computing technology effectively and future-proof your infrastructure and systems.
- Management and Monitoring of solutions based on Cloud Computing technology.