What is Cloud Computing?

Cloud computing is marketing jargon. Effectively Cloud computing is where computer software, or services are delivered over the Internet. Examples of Cloud computing, are email, web sites, Microsoft update, Apple iCloud.

Is it new?

No. Cloud computing as jargon term is new. However, we have been using this technology since the proliferation of the Internet. The term "Cloud" was used by network architects to represent the Internet. Then the marketing people got hold of the term and it became a new buzzword. Products like Microsoft Hotmail, or Google Gmail are examples of cloud services that have been around for many years before the term "Cloud" was invented.

What is "Private Cloud"

It is more jargon. It is where computer software, or services are delivered from privately owned computers over a private (or virtual private) network.

Does it affect me?

Yes. Without Cloud services we would not be able to conduct business in the modern world. We rely on email, Internet commerce and services, etc.

Should I move everything to the cloud?

No. Cloud services suit some types of applications and not others. One misguided reason we are seeing people envisaging moving all of their computer infrastructure to the cloud is to reduce cost. To date, every pay-per-month cloud proposal for companies in the 20 - 100 user space that we have seen has been substantially more expensive than current in-house systems. This is taking into account all of the support costs and connectivity costs of both scenarios.

Additionally, some applications work well in the cloud and some not so. Multimedia is fast becoming a major requirement in business networks. This means video and audio streaming, video conferencing and graphically rich applications are being used more and more. These applications do not work as well in a remote display environment over the (typically) slow networks we encounter in Australia. The speed of our Internet connections that approach anywhere near affordable prices are around 1000 times slower than an internal network.

When considering a network for your business remember time is money. If your systems are slower in the cloud than on your premises, this will lead to lower productivity, lower staff morale and ultimately impact profitability.

What should I run from the Cloud?

Some applications should be run in your office and others from the cloud. An exception to this is might be in a multi-site environment where you need all sites to access all of the same resources.

Chances are, you are already putting the correct services into the cloud. You will have done this through your own experience and business growth. If you find an application that will be cheaper to run from the cloud, will still give you as good, or better functionality and the data for that application will be safe, then it is worth considering moving it to the cloud.

Other considerations.

There are other considerations with putting all of your I.T. infrastructure into the cloud and briefly these are :-.

Data security: Who is looking at your data?

Data access: If your provider was to go broke, would you be able to access all of your I.T. infrastructure to move it somewhere else? Would your business survive if you lost all of your I.T. resources and data?

Data integrity: Is your data being backed up off site to allow for disaster recovery? Can you recover individual pieces of data that might be lost due to human error?

Downtime: If the connection to the provider of your cloud service is severed you will have no computing power. If you have a cloud based phone system, you will not even be able to call within your office.

Flexibility: You may have to give up some of the flexibility you are used to so you "fit" the cloud provider's operational constraints.

Conclusion.

Cloud is not a new technology. We at Datamerge have been working with what is now called Cloud for many years. We can help you determine what is best for your business. We do this with a mixture of cloud and non-cloud technologies and even with privately owned equipment using cloud technology in the user's premises.

We design data and telephone solutions for our customers to use the best of the current technologies to create fast, efficient and secure networks. We ensure that data is backed up and that if a system should experience a failure, that we can get our customers working again quickly with minimal data loss and downtime.