Monday 12 March 2012

Cloud computing for beginners

There is still much misunderstanding about cloud computing and its delivery and what most people forget is that somewhere your data or software is sat on a secure server rather than one in your office or even your head office.

In basic terms cloud computing is the delivery of computing as a service rather than a product, so shared resources, software, and information are provided to computers and other devices as a metered service over the internet.

However, people looking to go into the cloud need to understand that there are limits – it’s great for small enterprises but you might have to acquire a number of servers or other computing equipment. It’s a bit like the electricity grid where the end-users consume power without needing to understand the component devices or infrastructure required to provide the service.

The past few years have seen cloud computing increasingly accepted as a form of service delivery. From the user’s point of view it provides services ‘on-tap’ and enables a nimbleness in business operations. Given the current economic climate, cloud adoption is set to increase because it requires less capital and operational expenditure certainly for smaller companies and it’s a service we have been offering for some time for clients who just want to access their data via the internet.

We expect there also to be a growth in complete cloud desktop offerings too, which comprise all the services, and bespoke apps, that smaller companies use. At the enterprise level, the continued transition to private clouds will gather pace. Automation and orchestration will become central as private cloud infrastructures are built out and the need to manage the use of internal cloud infrastructures and balance usage of external services becomes increasingly important.

The next big thing could be mobile cloud computing but mobile bandwidth remains very limiting some mobile phone providers have in place data caps and excess usage charges which will make it expensive. This also ties in with data storage questions that organisations will have to answer.

If anything, the cloud is driving the availability of a growing mass of unstructured data especially from social networks and emails. Data management solutions are available to deal with these issues; the important thing for companies is defining what they want to do with the data, what is accessible and what it not.

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