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What is Cloud Computing ?
...Why the Cloud changes everything !!
What is The Cloud
The Cloud is a term now used to describe the services and technology that exist on the internet, most people either do not know or do not care how it works. The best comparison is the utility grid supplying gas or electric, the end user has little or no knowledge of the technology at work or the infrastructure but is very happy to be able to plug in and use the dishwasher.
Where Did the Term Originate
The first specific mention of Cloud Computing was in a 1997 paper entitled "Intermediaries in Cloud-Computing: A New Computing Paradigm" by Dr. Ramnath Chellappa
"Cloud computing is a computing paradigm where the boundaries of computing will be determined by economic rationale rather than technical limits"
One analogy for Cloud Computing is a shared office building;-
- you pay for your own office
- you may have considerable choice and flexibility over decor
- you cannot add windows or doors
- generally what you pay is a small fraction of what you would pay for your own building
You pay a weekly or monthly rent and most likely a maintenance charge;- the maintenance charge you pay your landlord or building management company is the equivalent of Virtualization (the provision of hardware / computing resources / Software as a Service) via The Cloud.
Just as the landlord or management company takes care of utilities, leaks, maintenance, security, upgrades, back-up power so the Cloud based provider performs similar equivalent tasks in the online environment.
Email Provision is a Perfect Example of Cloud Computing
Email via Google/gmail, Hotmail or Yahoo mail is a perfect example of modern cloud computing, your email messages, data and folders and attachments reside on a server somewhere, it does not matter. This browser based email service is also an example of an App (an Application)
Ok So What is the Big Deal
Traditionally companies have had an IT Department that looked after hardware, software, problem solving, training, expansion, troubleshooting. The hardware needs to be bigger, faster, fatter, the software has to be upgraded, patched.. the End result, a degree of chaos;-
- A Lot of Waiting
- A Lot of Cost
- A Lot of Frustration at senior levels
This is a Paradigm Shift
a paradigm shift = a change in our basic assumptions
It is now possible / essential to examine your Value Chain with a view to outsourcing both support activities and primary activities for your business. These could be said to fall into three main categories;-
- Productivity Apps
- Collaboration Apps
- Business Apps
Support activities would include things like email & Calendar, Docs & Sites via Google Apps and invoicing via Freshbooks. Then there is the juicy stuff, the primary activities;-
HR and all the compliance that goes with it
the Sales function and all the data and follow-up and coordination that goes with it
CRM (Customer Relationship Management) and the database issues, security, backup that goes with it.
Anyone who has ever bought into a business or taken over a business and tried to integrate the competing systems and IT Departments will know how big a nightmare this used to be... yes Used To Be !!
What Does It Mean for Small Business or Start-Ups
It means you can have large company enterprise grade hardware and software without all the costs that used to accompany it
It mean you can be in business almost immediately at very little cost
It mean you can expand (or contract) quickly
It means you will be able to see the Key Performance Indicators (KPI's) for your business at a glance
It means you can have enhanced control over invoicing, payment, cashflow, stock control, employee management, sales management, customer management
Over To you
As an IT Consultant... It's Your Problem Now :-)
What Is In this for Me
I own a little Cloud computing deployment company in Ireland and like to see changes or advances in technology that level the playing field between the big companies (them) and the small companies (us) :-) You can contact me if you would like more information.
Great Cloud Articles on Hubpages
- The true power behind Cloud Computing
Cloud computing is difficult to understand, because it's up the individual or group to make it work for themselves despite a unique definition. Many people are using it daily, but have no idea how it works..... Contd