“Technology is constantly evolving and if you look at key developments over the past decade it is a wonder that we can actually keep up,” says Lisa Fielder, Head of Infrastructure Managed Services at EOH. “APP, AJAX, microblogging, tablets and social media optimisation are just some of the new buzzwords that have been flung around this past year. And then there is cloud computing.”
Fielder explains that cloud computing comprises of the following three types of service models: Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Software as a Service (SaaS) and Platform as a Service (PaaS), and then underpinning these services is the technology that supports cloud computing.
Fielder says that it is important for people to understand the concept of cloud computing in simple terms and be made aware of the impact this technology will have both at work and home.
Fielder elaborates further and says that by breaking down the term into words down even more we will see that ‘cloud’ means that it is on the network or internet and ‘computing’ means the infrastructure, processing power and storage.. “Cloud computing therefore gives you the ability to fulfill many diverse business needs without having to spend money up front or have the management responsibility of owning your own infrastructure. These are significant benefits that enable competitiveness.”
She says, businesses can leverage off and utilise cloud computing to provide key business services, ranging from email, accounting software, customer relationship management systems and document storage, that they otherwise would not have access to without incurring significant infrastructure and licensing costs. On a personal level users will experience greater mobility as they are able to store and access media or data files such as music, pictures, videos, and bookmarks or play games on a remote server rather than having to carry a storage medium such as a DVD or thumb drive. People who use web-based email such as Gmail, Hotmail, Yahoo, a company owned email or even an e-mail client program such as Outlook, are currently making use of cloud email servers.
EOH’s view is that cloud computing is a delivery model for enabling convenient, on-demand network access to a shared pool of configurable computing resources that can be rapidly provisioned and released with minimal management effort or service provider interaction. EOH advises that there are four basic options that can be pursued for implementing this technology:
- Private Cloud – a private enterprise owned or leased cloud, would be a situation where the business maintains an off-site server in a location that is controlled by a service provider.
- Community Cloud – may encompass a scenario where several organisations have similar requirements and seek to share infrastructure so as to realise some of the benefits of cloud computing.
- Public Cloud – is sold to the public, mega-scale infrastructure is in place and a typical example would be a scenario where companies like Google or Microsoft provide business services and it is accessed solely via the internet, an example of this is Gmail, MS CRM and Jungle Disk.
- Hybrid Cloud – is a scenario where you can have a combination of public and private cloud.
Fielder states that in all types of cloud computing, there are monthly recurring costs for services, but you don’t normally need to incur any upfront equipment investment. “There are countless reasons to implement some form of cloud computing. These may be for disaster recovery, data back-up services or simply to make use of applications such as a CRM system, e-mail or Microsoft applications. Implemented wisely, cloud computing can enhance business productivity, as long as you choose the right solution that is catered to your unique environment,” concludes Fielder.