What Is Cloud Computing and Is It Right for Your Business?
Cloud computing consists of computing power, data storage, networking, databases and applications that are delivered over the internet. Importantly, these resources are available on demand and can be provisioned and decommissioned as needed. Also, of note, cloud computing resources are only billed when they are used.
What are the primary categories of cloud computing?
A private cloud consists of all the resources of cloud computing, but it is reserved specifically for one business. It may physically reside on premises or be hosted elsewhere, but it is always on a private network accessible only by one company. You may ask, “Is a private cloud just virtualization?” The primary difference between the two is in provisioning. Cloud computing offers the potential for instant provisioning of resources by the customer or department without the intervention of system administrators. Virtualization, in general, requires a system administrator to provision the resources. The primary advantage of the private cloud over the public is security. Given that only one customer has access to all of the resources, the attack surface is much lower.
Typically, when one thinks of cloud computing, they think of the public cloud. Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud, Amazon Web Services (AWS) and many other vendors provide access to cloud computing resources. The primary advantages of the public cloud are scalability and size (while not infinite, it provides enormous amounts of resources). Another primary advantage is perpetual upgrades – you do not have to factor in service contracts and end-of-life for hardware into your annual budgets.
A hybrid cloud is exactly what you think: It is a combination of public and private cloud environments. There are three primary use cases for a hybrid cloud environment.
- Security. Many companies will host high-volume, low-security requirement applications in the public cloud while keeping applications that access sensitive data in their private cloud environment.
- Performance. You can configure public cloud resources to instantly provision and deploy when resource demand hits a particular level. Examples include highly anticipated product releases, the release of a new season of a popular streaming show and many more.
- Disaster recovery. Many companies rely on the public cloud for failover for their private cloud. Replication can occur on a schedule, and the systems remain powered off unless called upon in a disaster.
For many, a hybrid environment is the best of both worlds.
What are the primary service models of cloud computing?
Software as a Service (SaaS) is likely the most commonly used cloud computing service model. When you log in to your Gmail or host a Zoom meeting, you are using SaaS. It is applications that are hosted on someone else’s server but accessible via the internet. A primary benefit is that a SaaS application generally only requires only a web browser, which adds considerable flexibility for the customer.
Platform as a Service (PaaS) includes services such as development environments, databases and business intelligence analytics. One of the primary benefits of PaaS is the avoidance of software licenses for developers.
Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) is virtual machines, storage and networking hosted by the cloud provider. This allows you to fully control the computing environment and configure it to fit your specific needs similar to servers hosted in your own environment.
What are the advantages of cloud computing?
Take a look at a few of the benefits:
Right now in your data center, there are powerful servers running idle while waiting for tasks to perform. With cloud computing, you have the freedom to size your resource configurations to meet your current needs exactly as they are at that moment. If you don’t need a server, it can be powered off (resulting in cost savings). Additionally, as previously mentioned, there are no service contracts or software licenses to maintain, and you never have to worry about upgrading hardware.
If your business has peaks and valleys in terms of demand, cloud computing is the ideal solution. Additional resources can be triggered to spin up automatically based on key performance indicators such as web page visits. No longer will your team be scrambling to add resources at a product launch. This allows you to focus on running your business and not worry about technology issues.
With data centers all over the world, you can increase capacity by migrating computing resources to different geographic zones.
Your staff can work from anywhere in the world with an internet connection.
If your company were to experience a physical disaster without immediate access to computing resources, chances are high that the business would not survive. Backups are great, but if there are no computers to restore, they don’t have much value. By implementing cloud computing, you can recover from disasters much more quickly. This allows you to take care of your employees and customers while the technology takes care of itself.
Is cloud computing right for you?
Absolutely, the flexibility offered by the cloud can be utilized by anyone. Whether it is the scalability and cost savings of a full public cloud implementation or the flexibility and complete security control of a private cloud implementation, there is a solution for you. Don’t forget, a hybrid approach can deliver the strengths of both the public and private clouds, allowing you to choose the solution that best meets your needs.
We understand cloud computing can be an intimidating technology that signifies a new way of thinking. Embrace the power and flexibility of this technology with the confidence that you are choosing the right company. When you partner with us, you will get an IT expert who understands your business. Let our experts walk you through the perfect solution that fits your specific needs today.