When people refer to cloud computing it is usually unclear what they mean. Even though the concept of cloud computing is often discussed, the implementation of a cloud computing platform is not tightly defined. Any single cloud computing strategy may make sense for a company to adopt, and it is important to understand the opportunities and consequences of each.
The following three approaches are all called cloud computing, and are very different from each other.
• Application hosting service:
This is what gmail and yahoo mail offer; basically you outsource an application to a third party. We use Salesforce.com, which is a hosted service. The advantages are as follows: You will not need to worry about managing and maintaining the application. You do not need to spend large sums of money on software or hardware. And you will benefit from the regular updates. The disadvantages are as follows: Customization is limited to the range of what is offered, so you cannot customize the CRM. You are choosing a partner and will be depending on them, so choose wisely. Finally, you are relying on the Internet to get access to your application and this may change what you need to budget for Internet in order to stay productive.
• Dedicated servers or infrastructure in collocation.
Basically you are renting dedicated servers from a colocation facility and loading your own applications. The best thing about this service is that the facility will be responsible for the health and operational readiness of the hardware. If there is a problem, they usually guarantee one hour turnaround time. You will also eliminate the challenges of having your own small data room and investing in new hardware; you only pay the monthly fees. And if your application is supposed to be available to customers, the redundancy of power and Internet access offered by the collocation facility is far better than your own facility. The disadvantages are: Relying on the Internet or a private connection to reach your applications. A slow or unreliable connection could affect productivity. This may change what you need to budget for connectivity.
• Cloud Servers.
These are big servers or farms of servers in a datacenter where a number of companies share the resources. Nothing is dedicated. Even some applications are rented instead of purchased. This approach is good for startup companies, or web based companies as your infrastructure can expand as you need it. You will only pay for what you use. It's a cheap way to get started. However as you need more control of your data, you should think about dedicated servers. Cloud servers bring up the concern of "virtualized data" where your data is yours, but it isn't on your equipment. Some companies would have a hard time with this concept knowing that it could take days to transfer that data to a company owned server if necessary.
We hope that you find this information helpful. If you have any question please let us know. We are here to help with any technology questions.
About Skyriver IT
Our mission at Skyriver IT is to professionalize the IT services business. We provide small and midsize companies with the information they need to make better IT decisions. If you would like to discuss whether cloud computing could save you money, please feel free to call (858) 812-9322 or visit www.skyriverit.com