Companies including Amazon, Google, IBM, Microsoft, and Oracle, are spending billions of dollars building out infrastructure to meet the growing demand for cloud-based computing. Demand is exploding because all businesses regardless of size, will benefit from cloud computing. As a business owner, you must understand what cloud computing is and how to capitalize on it.
So, What exactly is Cloud Computing?
Cloud computing consists of three types of services, software as a service (SaaS), infrastructure as a service (IaaS), and platform as a service (PaaS). There’s a good chance that your business is already using cloud services. For example, if you are using Microsoft Office 365 or the cloud version of QuickBooks you are using SaaS. If you’re backing up offsite or storing your photos in Google Photos, you’re using IaaS.
Software as a Service – SaaS
Software-as-a-service (SaaS) is a method for running software that is hosted on the internet. With SaaS, the software publisher manages the infrastructure and software and the users of the software connect to the system using the browser on their phone, tablet, or PC. There is no need to buy, install, and maintain software locally. A good example of SaaS is Microsoft Office 365.
Infrastructure as a Service – IaaS
With IaaS, you rent IT infrastructure such as servers, storage and operating system from a cloud provider. The cloud provider owns and maintains the infrastructure, and you consume what you need and only pay for usage. Backing up your iPhone to iCloud is a good example of IaaS.
Platform as a Service – PaaS
Platform-as-a-service (PaaS) is typically used by developers that need an on-demand environment for testing software and developing software. PaaS makes it easier for developers to work on new applications, without worrying about setting up or maintaining the servers, storage, network, and databases needed for development.
Types of Clouds – Public, Hybrid, Private
There are three types of clouds, the public cloud, the hybrid cloud, and the private cloud. The type of cloud is determined by who owns and manages the equipment and circuits.
Public clouds are owned and maintained by a third-party. As a customer, you rent the equipment and services your business requires, and the cloud service provider provides the infrastructure for you. A good an example of a public cloud is Microsoft Azure.
Hybrid clouds use a combination of services available on the public and privately-owned infrastructure. This configuration gives you more control of critical hardware or sensitive data. It also is a common configuration as a business transitions to the cloud.
A private cloud refers to cloud infrastructure that is owned, operated, and used by a single business. A private cloud can be located on the business’s premises or may be hosted at a third-party data center.
The Benefits of Cloud Computing
Setting up a private cloud is necessary for certain situations, however for most businesses the key benefit of cloud computing is not having to worry about buying or maintaining computer equipment while still having all the resources you need to run your business. A good way to think of it is like a utility that provides water, electricity, or gas to your home. As an end user, all you need to do is open the faucet, flip a switch, or turn on your stove. You pay for what you use and never think about all the work the utilities need to do to provide these services.
Cloud computing lowers the amount of capital required by eliminating the expense of buying server hardware and software. You’ll also save on labor that is needed to maintain and monitor your equipment, maintenance contracts, and on power and cooling.
In a typical on-premises configuration, you must buy resources to meet peak demand. Most of the time your resources are underutilized, yet you must pay for them anyway. Because cloud computing services automatically scale up or down to meet the actual demand, you pay less and get the performance you need when you need it.
The cloud providers operate redundant data centers around the world. Your business will benefit from their investments in technology that are designed to provide their customers with secure and reliable infrastructure. In the event of a local disaster or outage, the cloud will provide help to keep your business up and running.
Need more computing power, storage, or additional servers? With a few clicks of your mouse, you can enable the services you need. And if necessary, you’ll be able to set up shop in different geographic areas effortlessly.
Plan for Your Migration to the Cloud
The cloud is a tool that your business must take advantage of because it’s better and less expensive than premise-based systems. Moving off your existing systems and into the cloud is not something you have to do in one fell swoop. It’s a process that will take place over time. The key to a successful migration is planning. You must understand what can be migrated today and what should be left as-is for the time being. As George Patton famously said, “a good plan today is better than a perfect plan tomorrow.”
For Help Planning Your Cloud Migration Call (631) 756-0404