Don’t Get Lost in the Cloud
Understanding cloud computing and what it can do for your business is vital to the growth of your business now and in the future. While there are a variety of trends, companies and service models to choose from, without being adequately informed, you could easily choose components that aren’t right for your company. We’ll take a look at a number things to keep in mind when when choosing a set of cloud services.
Macro Trends Driving the Cloud
Everyone is mobile these days, conducting business from every corner of the globe at all hours of the day and night. Fueled by mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets with thousands of applications, business never stops. With all the new technology coming and going, cloud computing was inevitable as standard servers could no longer hold the amount of data traveling the globe. Server virtualization is absolutely necessary; it accommodates the same amount of data and apps in one cloud that would otherwise fill several physical on-site servers.
What the Cloud Delivers
While the cloud continues to grow and develop as an IT solution, it also has real value right now. First, it reduces the complexity of storage for your data center. When your data resides solely within virtual space, you eliminate the expense of fixing and repairing physical servers. You can easily manage all your operations within a virtual server that can be accessed by a port of entry page, allowing you to change, add or subtract your cloud services with just a few mouse clicks. This, in turn, dramatically decreases your overhead, freeing up capital for investment in other areas of your business, such as expansion, product development, mergers and acquisitions.
Last but not least, having the ability to scale and deliver your IT services with flexibility improves your ability to keep up with your competitors as well as your customers. If your competitors don’t sleep, you shouldn’t either. Customers will go where they can get what they want as quickly as possible. Cloud computing makes it easier to pull up all the information you need on a customer, product or service without extensive delays or time-outs while the system searches. You can use the cloud more during peak times and less when you’re closed for holidays or other reasons. You only pay for what you use rather than paying for electricity to keep everything on and running even when you don’t need it.
Cloud Computing Services Models and Benefits
There are three main cloud service models:
- IaaS: Infrastructure as a Service refers not only to server virtualization but Internet connectivity, co-location and business solutions for the traditional problems presented by standard, outdated equipment and technology.
- SaaS: Software as a Service refers to software applications within the cloud that do what traditional business software does and then some. VMware expands the amount of room for storage within the cloud when you need to store more and decreases it when you need less.
- PaaS: Platform as a Service typically means the ability to build a website using the provider’s platform. Some companies deal strictly in this type of service, and if it isn’t something you really need now, subscribing to it alone or with one or both of the above is a waste of money.
Let’s look specifically at IaaS as it relates to cloud computing. Cloud, or virtual, computing creates on-demand pools of self-managed infrastructure, which are then bought and used as a service. You have freedom of choice, and with that freedom of choice you get the mobility and compatibility of applications between clouds and data centers worldwide. You also get the benefit of having the cloud manage most things on its own, with scalable resources on demand. You should not overlook the last benefit: agility with control. This is a big one for many major corporations. You never lose control or security even when you have to respond quickly to a change in your business’s needs.
Security: Let’s Talk About It
Fear runneth amok, with numerous articles published about concerns over security in the cloud. Medical offices and hospitals, although they are in need of these services more than any other business because of what they do, fear that someone could tap their cloud and make it rain personal information, thus putting them in direct violation of HIPAA laws that guard individuals’ rights to privacy. These fears have kept the medical sector from fully embracing cloud technology. However, there is nothing to fear here but fear itself. The cloud is like a wall of file cabinets that are locked and separate from each other; no one can get into a file without the system knowing about it and taking measures to notify the owner of the relevant file cabinet. The firewalls and security measures built into cloud computing securely block hackers from breaking in. Furthermore, when it comes down to disaster recovery, nothing beats the cloud for keeping data safe, and in the case of hospitals, server security is an absolute must.
Understanding Deployment Models
The specific deployment models further define security. When there’s a private cloud, that cloud functions for one private business’s use, and firewalls prevent anyone outside the company from accessing it. Public clouds are accessible by anyone with an Internet connection; businesses such as Starbucks, McDonald’s and public transit systems that offer Wi-Fi to the public while they are on the property are good examples of public cloud access. Hybrid clouds are a combination of the two; they allow interoperability between the private and public clouds.
Each type of deployment has its own particular benefits. Not many companies opt for fully public clouds. Only a marginal few choose hybrid clouds, and they do so because they require a little more flexibility than private clouds can supply. Hybrid clouds deliver the best of both private and public clouds: control and agility.
Virtualization Sweeps the Nation
Without the cloud, your business applications are, in a way, stunted. Virtualization enables you to move and scale those applications, much like an extendable ladder reaching for the sky. Networking, computing and storage become absolutely faultless, seamless, secure, elastic, portable and shareable within the context of IaaS service. These particular benefits are individual to IaaS and cloud computing, and there are only a limited number of providers that supply IaaS. IT outsourcing trends are such that the need for speed and redundancy in networks requires companies to look for services that are specifically capable of the job at hand. The companies that are willing to handle these needs are limited to certain areas of the country, such as Boulder and Denver, Colorado.
Response Time to Rapid Business Changes
Seasonal spikes in business as well as daily and hourly fluctuations require more flexibility and elasticity in your computing services and data center. The old standby of “paying to keep the lights on” costs you 70% to 80% more than the scalable services of IaaS cloud. This, by management standards, is just too costly. As businesses continue to adopt cloud as their main form of computing, traditional hardware and software purchases decline, becoming the dinosaurs of yesteryear. According to InfoWorld, “By 2016, it’s expe cted to be a $207 billion industry, according to Anderson’s latest findings. That compares to the 3 percent growth expected in the overall global IT market. While it’s true that the $109 billion cloud market represents just a 3 percent chunk of the overall $3.6 trillion spent on IT globally, Anderson says it’s still responsible, in part, for a slowdown in growth for traditional on-premise hardware and software sales.”
This is quite illuminating. The speed with which the cloud can respond to changes in business currently has no equal. It has the capacity to free up IT resources for other tasks and accelerate the innovation and production timeline. With such an advantage, you can beat your competitors at their own game and increase profits all at once. Infrastructure management across premises and in the cloud are a breeze, to say the least. Your IT professionals will have extra time on their hands when you have IaaS and the cloud working for you!
Choosing the Best IaaS Service
SilverLining is a cloud service from FORETHOUGHT.net. More specifically, it’s a targeted IaaS provider, locally owned and operated out of Colorado for more than 17 years. While cloud services are fairly new, FORETHOUGHT.net has been an innovator, offering its SilverLining services ahead of crowd.
An enterprise-level cloud computing solution, SilverLining provides redundant backup, fault tolerance and disaster recovery services powered by VMWare. Scalable to customer needs, the suite of services frees companies to focus on their business, not their technology, saving the cost of up-front investment and overhead.
FORETHOUGHT.net is a qualified VMWare provider.
If you’re still not quite sure what services to go with, FORETHOUGHT.net will work with you to explore your options and help you set up what you need. Cloud services are flexible and can be changed by you or us at any time. We have an easy-to-use interface that will help you customize our services to your needs.
A Little More About Us
FORETHOUGHT.net is a leading locally owned and operated IT and communications service provider offering a portfolio of enterprise-level cloud-computing, Internet, voice and data solutions so you can focus on your business, not your technology. Established in 1995, FORETHOUGHT.net helps small and mid-size businesses grow through superior high-performance technology, scalable services and world-class support at a fraction of the expense of traditional models. The company’s commitment to the highest level of technical expertise, security, reliability and responsiveness results in high client loyalty and satisfaction.
FORETHOUGHT.net is recognized by the Denver Business Journal as a Top 15 telecommunications company and Top 15 Internet Service Provider and is recognized by ColoradoBIZ Magazine as one of Colorado’s Top 250 private companies.
Businesses in the Denver area have trusted FORETHOUGHT.net to serve their technology needs with a high level of technical expertise, security, reliability and responsiveness.
We would like to be your number one Internet/cloud provider.