According to a recent survey, 71% of small business owners have never heard of cloud computing. And three-fourths of the 29% in the survey that knew about cloud computing could not define it. Of course, SMBs have more important things to worry about than high-tech computing trends. Hosting providers and software vendors, in misrepresenting their old web-based technologies, have also misled SMBs about the definition of cloud computing. As a result, SMBs may approach cloud computing with unreasonable fears or unrealistically high expectations. They also may misperceive cloud computing as an insubstantial buzzword and assume that the cloud would fail to offer any improvements over their existing system.
We hope this series of blog posts will help clarify the main forms, concepts, and benefits of cloud computing for our audience in the SMB sector. IronOrbit designs, builds, and manages private and hybrid clouds. We develop customized solutions for our clients adapted for their industry- or company-specific requirements and preferences. Rather than exaggerating the capabilities of cloud computing, we prefer to educate our customers about the actual versions and benefits of the technology. Knowledgeable customers will be in a better position to be able to communicate to us their exact IT requirements and preferences, streamlining the customization process.
Cloud Computing Glossary: the Basics
–Cloud computing has these defining characteristics: 1) It delivers computing resources over a network, such as the Internet; 2) Users share its computing resources (multi-tenancy); 3) It has a highly flexible and scalable infrastructure. Cloud computing has several intrinsic advantages over on-site IT systems. First, its centralization encourages the maximization of computing resources and gives network managers absolute control over an entire system. Second, its flexibility makes expanding and moving IT infrastructure much swifter and easier. Third, cloud computing’s delivery method of the Internet allows mobile users and satellite offices to share the same computing resources and data as on-site workers.
-In explaining cloud computing, many journalists and consultants use the phrase, “You’ve probably used cloud computing without realizing it.” Most likely they mean the public cloud. Examples of public cloud computing include free online email services, online data storage sites, and web-based applications like Twitter and YouTube. Public clouds make cloud computing resources available outside of a company firewall.
-A private cloud provides cloud computing resources within a company firewall. The private cloud can be adapted to deliver any desired IT solution or group of solutions (for instance, applications, databases, and virtualization platforms). Private clouds differ from public clouds by being more secure, centralized, and reliable. To be clear, “private” does not mean self-hosted and on-site. Private clouds can be hosted by a third-party IT services company. Like public clouds, they can accessed by people outside of the internal company network, such as mobile workers and external contractors and partners.
-As the name suggests, a company establishes a hybrid cloud when combining private and public clouds. Smart companies will base their sensitive data and processes in a private cloud, such as an internal database or CRM, while locating processes that require external collaboration on a public cloud, such an online project management tool. Rather than limiting companies to one kind of cloud or the other, hybrid clouds allow organizations to exploit the desperate benefits of both private clouds (security, control, reliability) and public clouds (accessibility, quick to deploy).
Come back next week for Part Two of “From Cloudy to Clear”. Next up: IaaS, PaaS, and SaaS.