Cloud computing is a style of computing in which scalable and elastic IT is delivered as a service using Internet technologies.
Cloud Computing is transforming the way organisations consume computer services. Where in the past you had to have local systems and servers to run various applications, in the cloud they are managed by an external provider that charges you for the use.
Let’s look at an analogy to bring further clarity:
With cloud computing, you pay for your usage just like you pay for electricity. Power is something you just plug into the wall; you turn a switch on and off and you get charged for the amount you use. You don't have to worry about where the power station is, or maintaining the power station or anything like that. All you care about is consuming the service. The concept is the same with cloud computing. It takes the focus away from having to manage, maintain and support all of the local servers and whatnot. The cloud moves all of that into a hosted environment whereby you have someone else managing it. Now all you do is consume the service via a web browser, and someone else handles all the backend process, and all the servers, configuration and maintenance.
Cloud computing is effectively just taking stuff that was traditionally done onsite and moving it to a hosted environment with a structure around it that allows people to consume the servers on a usage basis. The technology behind cloud computing is really just about allowing people to access information on their computers via a remote data centre or from a hosting environment somewhere else.
Four keys to successfully implementing cloud computing
Moving to the cloud can be difficult for some bigger organisations and quite easy for startups and small businesses. Here are the four keys to successfully making the move into the cloud:
Check to make sure your Internet can handle the bandwidth
The cloud consumes a lot more download than upload. If you think about it, you're downloading a lot of stuff from the cloud provider, but all you're sending back is really just mouse clicks. So when it comes to determining whether your Internet can handle the bandwidth, you should look more at download speed than upload speed.
As a general rule of thumb, we wouldn't recommend putting more than five to ten people on an ADSL service. Anything more than that and you would likely need to upgrade to Cable or Fibre.
Develop a set of business requirements
The next key is to develop a set of functional requirements in the organisation. Look at the organisation, look at the processes, and look at the systems; then create a map that allows you to understand what functionality you're going to need. This is particularly important if you're moving a customer relationship management tool (or something big like that) into the cloud. You really need to go and define what your requirements are in detail so that you can make sure you pick the right cloud service.
Shortlist potential cloud providers
Identify potential cloud vendors and then create a shortlist of suitable partners. Generally speaking, cost will play a big part. However, you should also look at support, track record, references, and who they are currently servicing within your industry. Next, make sure you match your set of requirements with what the cloud provider can deliver for you.
Lastly, you should look at the financial viability of the company. How long have they been around? What are their investments? Will they be around for the long haul? Since this is a big move for your company, you need to make sure they are not at risk of going under, which may post a risk to the data you entrust to them.
Make sure your list of cloud providers meet your requirements
Contact the sales team and confirm that the provider meets your requirements. If they don't have a sales team, compare the requirements yourself. Ask the vendor for a total cost of ownership (TCO) and conduct a TCO analysis. This basically adds up all the costs and all the set-up fees. Also use this final step to vet the provider; ask them the questions you haven’t received answers for.
Are you thinking of moving to the cloud?
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