27 March 2011
Cloud Computing Explained
Cloud Computing is one of those topics that we could talk about for hours. For those that have not heard of or fully understood the meaning of Cloud Computing, I have compiled my own explanation:
Cloud Computing is computation, data, access, software, and storage services that are hosted by a provider so the end-user does not require knowledge, physical location, equipment and configuration to use the service.
In a nutshell, it is a service that is you pay to use, generally with minimal or no setup cost, and is flexible with scalability of the number of users, space and size. Examples of Cloud Computing services include: Google’s Gmail and Microsoft’s Skydrive. Cloud Computing is not new; however, it is a major marketing buzz word of the moment. Many businesses have re-branded existing products as Cloud Computing product/services, when in reality some do not meet the full definition.
Are All Clouds White and Fluffy?
In the past twelve months, some significant news announcements have raised Cloud based problems. We have seen entire providers go under, resulting in data being lost; providers have also had outages affecting thousands and millions of users. Most recently, Google lost access to customer data for a while when updating software for its email service, Gmail. The good news is they restored access shortly after.
How is TechPath Aligning Itself with the Cloud?
At TechPath, we have been a very early adopter of Cloud Computing and have migrated over 400 email users onto Microsoft’s Hosted Exchange environment. It is not just the technology we look at when discussing the future of your IT needs. We look at the business, its staff, and requirements for today and into the future. Once this information is obtained, we then look at all options including Cloud Computing in some cases.
TechPath is also investing further into its Data Centre infrastructure and resources so Cloud solutions can be done directly through us.
5 Top Cloud Tips
1. Check productivity of the solution. Will it be more or less productive for your business? The up-front savings can be attractive, but the total cost of ownership needs to be considered.
2. Look at where it is hosted and the access speeds. Services inside Australia are generally much faster.
3. Who is the provider? Make sure they have a good track record and are likely to be around in the years to come.
4. Consider backup methods and how you could migrate to and from them if required.
5. Look at the features as some Cloud offerings are only new and still under development.
Cloud Application Review
Microsoft has offered 25GB of free online storage with skydrive. Skydrive now integrates with their Office Web Apps meaning Office documents can be created, edited, viewed, shared and more from a web browser. Additionally, with Windows 7, you can also map your skydrive just as if it was a network drive.
Skydrive is a great example of a Cloud application/service which is affordable (free in this case!) and offers great features without the large investment.