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Cloud computing is a collection of distributed services, applications, information and infrastructure and involves providing hosted services over the internet. These services can be rapidly organized, provisioned, implemented and decommissioned using an on-demand utility. Cloud has come as a boon for small and medium businesses who cannot afford large investment on infrastructure and applications. Today Cloud is fast becoming important for IT needs–a development that spells change for IT managers looking to leverage the cloud and rethink their data center strategies.
A cloud service has a distinct advantage over traditional hosting.
* It is sold on demand – Pay as you use model, a user can have as much or as little of a service as they want at any given time
* The service is fully managed by the service provider.
* Provides significant innovations in virtualization and distributed computing, as well as improved access to high-speed Internet.
India is fast emerging as the cloud computing services provider and there is a $1 billion worth of opportunity waiting to be tapped. Users of cloud computing services do not have to purchase hardware or software for his IT related need but is provided by the cloud computing service provider and is charged a factional amount of the cost for the using hardware or the software.
Regardless of the size all companies are looking to leverage the benefits doled out by using cloud based services. Managed service providers are in great demand by SMB’s and can they can customize the services based on the need of the client. There are many benefits that cloud computing offers; fast deployment, scalability, business agility, lower costs, these are some of the main advantages enabled by the cloud.
When a company decides on the type of the cloud it should opt for on-demand public cloud services (Cloud Services on Public Internet), Hybrid Cloud (Public Cloud Services extended to an enterprise’s dedicated IT infrastructure over secure (VPN) or Private Cloud (Dedicated Cloud Services for an enterprise)and the three service models of cloud service; Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS), Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) that can best suit its infrastructure and business needs, the next big decision is narrowing the choice down to one cloud vendor who can provide the service that brings the best results both in terms of cost and performance.
What are the Advantages of choosing a cloud computing service provider?
If you are selecting the right service provider, you can obtain numerous benefits. Some of these benefits are:
* Cost – The major benefit of moving to the service provider is the cost factor. If you are opting for shared hosting the cost is greatly reduced as you are sharing the resources with many clients. MSP’s are challenged to show the customer’s, savings specific to their environment, by detailing the cot breakup. So if you are on a tight budget moving to the cloud can be a good option.
* Security – Data security is of utmost importance to any organization. Ensure that the service provider provides for the best security firewalls for your data. Check whether all precautionary measures are in place and followed by cloud hosting providers to keep their servers safe from any kind of security breach.
* Utilization of Resources – As you are paying for the resources ensure optimum utilization of these and see that the server time is not wasted. As the server occupation will be high, the memory as well as other resources will be put to a maximum usage.
* Support – Support is a critical to the success of any venture in today’s networked environment. Evaluate the type of technical support and services offered by various cloud hosting service providers. Make sure that the service you are opting for can give you 24/7 dedicated technical and emergency support when you need it.
Although there are hundreds of cloud computing providers in the arena, but when it comes to evaluating a cloud vendor it is critical to have thorough understanding of their offerings and total costs of solutions. Do a thorough background research on the cloud computing service provider and make sure they have a good standing in the market.
If you haven’t already signed up for a cloud then you will be doing so shortly. However, before you start writing the check, you really should know what you are buying.
What Makes A Cloud A Cloud
At a high level, I suspect that we all understand what cloud computing is: somebody else maintains a collection of generic servers that you can pay to use as needed. Sure sounds simple enough – it’s just basically IT outsourcing taken to its logical extreme. However, there’s more to it than just that.
Dave Durkee has taken a look at cloud computing and he has identified what he calls the seven essential characteristics that make up cloud computing:
Access on-demand: one of the key features of cloud computing is that it provides a company with more and more computing power as their needs increase.
Grow / Shrink: unlike the days in which a company would purchase a server, install it, and then live with it forever, cloud computing allows companies to both add and shed computing power on an as-needed basis. .
Pay-As-You-Grow: cloud computing allows a company to match its IT expenses more closely to its actual needs. Just like a gas, water, or electric utility, cloud computing is a subscription service that you get charged for based on how much you’ve used. .
Lots Of Connections: although not discussed as much as it should, running your applications in the cloud assumes that you have reliable high-speed access to other servers and storage in the same cloud that you are using as well as high-speed access to the Internet. .
Economies Of Scale: since a cloud provider is not only servicing your company, but also other companies at the same time, they should be able to buy in bulk and therefore keep costs lower than you would be able to do on your own. .
Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell: when you use the cloud, you really don’t know where your data or applications physically are. Despite not knowing this, the cloud provider can be expected to provide you with some level of service level agreement. .
Dating, Not Marriage: just because you pick a particular cloud provider, doesn’t mean that you have to stick with them forever. Instead, you should imagine a future where you move from cloud to cloud based on business needs. .
Service Models & Things That Impact Price
The next thing that a CIO needs to understand when they go cloud shopping is just exactly what type of service model they are interested in. All clouds are not created equal.
Currently there are three different flavors of clouds for CIOs to choose from:
IaaS: Infrastructure as a Service – this is a bare-bones cloud offering. You get an OS on a server with some storage and connectivity. That’s it – you need to provide everything else. .
PaaS: Platform as a Service – this is one step up from IaaS. Instead of a raw server, this time out you’re purchasing a complete development environment. This means that you’ll get the server, OS, and some set of applications such as LAMP [Linux (operating system), Apache HTTP Server, MySQL (database software) and Perl/PHP/Python] .
SaaS: Software as a Service – this is the most sophisticated cloud offering currently available. Instead of worrying about servers or development stacks, you purchase access to an application that runs within the cloud. Salesforce.com is a great example of SaaS. .
What All Of This Means For You
CIOs know that moving into a cloud is no longer an “if”, but rather a “when”. This means that they need to spend some time to learn what they need to look for when they go cloud shopping.
CIOs need to ensure that clouds that they are considering have a set of basic characteristics. These include on-demand access, elasticity, pay-per-use, connectivity, etc. CIOs will need to decide which of the three basic cloud service models will best meet the needs of their IT department.
All clouds are not created the same. Every CIO will eventually find himself / herself shopping for a cloud. Using the guidelines that we’ve discussed, CIOs can compare and contrast clouds so that they can end up selecting the cloud that works best for their company…