The Cloud Introduction
In today's fast paced world in tech it may be cumbersome at times to keep up with what's new and innovative in technology. Cloud computing has been a grey area for some of those who want to know more about how it works and how their company can benefit from it. Here I will lay out a brief overview of what the cloud is, how it operates, and the what some of the benefits are to bring more clarity to the subject.
The cloud's base component is hardware infrastructure that is offered for use by the general public and is maintained primarily by another company. These companies are called Cloud Host providers.
How the Cloud operates
Cloud benefits The cloud begins it's operation by allowing applications to be run on top of the underlying hardware. These applications normally referred to is called "software". This software can be virtually any type of software that is currently available for purchase today. What it comes down to is what software is it and how it will be offered. There are a number of ways and configurations of how the software will be from the Cloud Host provider. There are a number of model types a provider can choose to be. One of the most popular is called "IAAS" this stands for "Infrastructure-As-A-Service". This service allows for a business to run their servers or desktops that is currently physically inside a companies datacenter or locked communications closet on the Cloud providers infrastructure. Accessing the servers will still be the same depending on the network but will use a secure dedicated network from the company to it's hosting provider. The next is called "SAAS" this stands for "Software-As-A-Service". This type of service is typically hosted by a Hosting Provider like above or it can be the company who has designed, built, and made available to the public via an app or web based access. One example would be Google's Gmail. That is a software provided by the creator and used by the public.- There are many benefits that the cloud has that companies can take advantage of very quickly. The first is security. Although thought in the beginning and even to this day, the major concern has always been about security. Security in the cloud is the top priority for a provider. There are two models that are used called Hybrid and Private. Hybrid operates along with other machines that are public in the cloud. This is normally done if no logon server for the company is needed in the cloud. While the private model complete separates your machines from all others and are in their own world relating to the company.
Security is maintained by hiding network communication information by separating the networks in segments and providing tunneling and encryption which scrambles and hides the traffic in which only the entities that are trusted to communicate with each other can understand since they have a special key to decrypt and read the data. This happens across the network from your business to the service provider and also within the machines in the cloud. Adding on to this, normally you will have an anti-virus software, as well as software firewalls that allow proper and allowed communication to take place and detect or prevent virus infection.
As far as disaster recovery, this is one of the most critical options that are overlooked. A disaster recovery plan should be put in place for any company running hardware and software on servers and desktops. This option can be expensive and typically, medium and enterprise businesses have this luxury until now. If you utilize a cloud host provider like Cloud 10 Solutions, the hosting provider typically has multiple datacenter locations geographically that are live and protect not only themselves but their clients from an outage. Outages can happen to anyone, not just hosting providers. When moving your servers, desktops and applications into the cloud, in most cases you get a backup plan for your environment. There's no need for the company to buy hardware, set it up and configure it. It can be immediately built, backed up or replicated (meaning a copy of the server onsite) in a matter of an hour or so depending on the infrastructure and size. So now if you don't have a current DR site, because of the cost of infrastructure and datacenter space rental costs, the cloud is the way to go. This option is formally known as Disaster-Recovery-As-A-Service.
Cloud cost vs Hardware cost
Cloud Host providers maintenance their own hardware and ensure that redundancy is in place to ensure that all maintenance needed to keep the cloud infrastructure your resources are running on is updated and efficient. Now that we know this, it can be seen that moving your hardware to the cloud can be a cost savings. It nearly cuts out the chance of impacted by a hardware failure. What can be saved by doing this? For example, if you have an email server that you have in your office like Microsoft Exchange. If that server has one power supply and that should fail, you won't be able to power the server until you get a replacement power supply. There's no way to send or receive emails between this time. If you can't find the part locally, you'll have to wait for and most likely if your server isn't under warranty, pay for express shipping, the replacement part, and then for someone to install it. If this server and application where at least copied to the cloud, that server can be turned on until the hardware server is fixed. This is across the board for any type of hardware, whether its a desktop or tablet.
Some other benefits
Most companies have numerous hardware servers and desktops that may be sitting idle and consuming electric resources. You typically want to see most servers during peak times sitting at about 80% utilization of memory and cpu. If this is not the case during peak times, there are wasted resources that your paying for that aren't being used. Now this could be because you were quoted for future growth. How does the cloud save you here? Let's say you're a tax company and during the off season your company has 10 employees, 10 desktops, and you only need 1 server during this time. But you had to by 6 servers and an additional 7 desktops to hire on employees temporarily to handle the load when it becomes tax season. During the off season, you have wasted precious dollars that could be used elsewhere in the off season. With the cloud, you can request and build as many desktops and servers you need for the season and when the season is done, you can delete them. You pay for only what you use. Now that's cost savings!
The cloud is getting better and better and companies like Cloud 10 Solutions are making it simple for small and medium size businesses to move to the cloud and fully trust and reap all of the benefits that it has to offer.