What do you notice when technologists or IT professionals gather together either in an event or any non-formal occasion and started to discuss about new trends? Usually, amongst the topics that comes in mind are mobility, big data, security and most likely cloud computing. There is no denying that these trends are changing the way we managed our IT infrastructure especially when it comes to the topic of cloud computing. Many business organization already embraced the use of cloud computing but others still have doubts about its capability and potentials.
When we talked about cloud computing, not everyone probably knows that even before it became full blown we are already using some solutions that is offered by major tech giants such as Microsoft and Google. You might have heard or used Hotmail email by Microsoft or the personal storage space offered by Google Drive. This simple services are example of basic solutions which can be considered as part of cloud computing. To understand it better, let us define what cloud computing is.
As defined by Wikipedia;
Cloud computing is an information technology (IT) paradigm, a model for enabling ubiquitous access to shared pools of configurable resources (such as computer networks, servers, storage, applications and services), which can be rapidly provisioned with minimal management effort, often over the Internet.
My personal definition;
Cloud computing is simply an internet based computing for shared services provided and managed by central entity.
As technology evolved, major tech companies such as Amazon, Microsoft, Google and others have devised a way to tap the power of internet as a means to open new model in delivering IT services that would benefit business organization in a form of subscription. Business organization can subscribe for servers, storage, network, application or other services depending on how long they are going to use it. Say for example you need to deploy a virtual machine that will be used by a development team for a period of one (1) year, then you can just pay for the corresponding usage and after which you can end your subscription. You don’t need to invest on buying the servers needed and doing all the messy stuff since all of the infrastructure will be provided by a cloud service provider. Just like in telco where they provide packages for postpaid plans that includes mobile devices and in exchange, you will just pay the monthly fixed amount or depending on usage.
Implementing IT solutions such as setting up a data center or private IT infrastructure within business organization has become the common practice to reap the benefit of technological advancement. Most IT driven companies or even SME rely heavily on technology to deliver the best service that they can give to their customers. This means a huge part of their income or budget needs to be invested in IT infrastructure. It is actually good in order to remain competitive in today’s market. However, the downside of it means lots of responsibility and many considerations to apply.
Organization or companies needs to consider the following;
- Space requirement to accommodate the data centers or servers
- Continuous power supply
- Data center cooling or air conditioning
- Hardware and software deployment
- Network connectivity
- Facility security
- Management personnel
- Software licensing
- Recurring cost of maintenance, utility and space rental
The list are just some of the things the business organization needs to consider and those are no brainer. Taking into account, if some of the services requires redundancy to ensure maximum uptime that means the cost would be even higher.
Cloud computing has huge potential. Its rapid growth means more benefits that can be gained and so many cloud service provider are racing to give the best service in the market. Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure and Google Compute are just the three major tech player in the market and the trademark alone already gives the confidence for stability. It is just a matter of choosing the best solution that would fit the organization or company.
To list some of the benefits;
- Centralized. Cloud service provider have several data centers located in every strategic region that caters to almost all countries. This gives customers the option to choose on which location is the nearest for optimal performance.
- Secured. Data centers facility are equipped with physical security to prevent physical breach. This includes employing personnel to maintain the vicinity and the entire facility. Security also includes sophisticated firewall, secure perimeter and other end-point hardware and software protection to protect data against any malicious threat.
- Redundant. Data are automatically replicated across different data centers or region to ensure services are available at all times in the event of site failure.
- Rapid deployment. Deploying services such as virtual machines only takes minutes which is fast as compared to deploying and installing on Private IT infrastructure.
- Customizable. Business organization can choose different packages and add different add-ons depending on what services is needed.
- Use on demand. Customer have the option to minimize cost by turning down services if not needed. For example a virtual machine that has an application that is not used during weekend, customer has the option to shutdown the virtual machine to save cost.
- Resources flexibility. Adjustment on subscribed services is possible. For example a virtual machine is not memory intensive, business organization has the option to reduce the number of RAM and allocate it to other applications that requires higher amount of resource.
- Managed services. Managing the data center facility will no longer be a concern for the business organization since all hardware are already maintained by the cloud service provider.
- No physical space requirement. Business organization will no longer worry on where to put the servers that includes rental for space, hardware cooling, connectivity and power supply.
- Cost effective. Maintenance is no longer a concern and future deployment for the hardware will not be an issue since cloud service provider can take care everything which covers the latest hardware in the market.
- Resource efficient. Personnel for maintaining the physical facility will be managed by cloud service provider. The only resource needed by business organization will be the system administrators that maintain the management of subscription or developers that will use the application.
There are still a lot of benefits that can be taken in using the cloud environment and its future still have unlimited potential. For business organization, determine your IT infrastructure needs. Consider other possibility and the future direction of the company. Adapt and think about cloud.
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