The revolution started in 1999 when Salesforce became the first site to deliver applications and software over the internet. The Cloud has come a long way since then and has been the hottest technology topic of the last decade. You’ve probably heard about it, but what exactly is the Cloud?
So, what is the Cloud?
In brief, the Cloud has completely revolutionized how data is shared and stored – by using the internet as a backbone, applications and data can be accessed from anywhere at anytime with nearly unlimited scalability. Before the cloud, storing work files or saving music required you to do it on your own computer or a thumb drive. Those days are now over.
Although more of an approach than a technology, the blueprint of the Cloud essentially harnesses the strength and storage capacity of servers around the world in unison with virtualization technologies. By combining servers across the globe into a giant computing pool, independent computing resources join forces to tackle global-scale technology tasks. Think of it like a giant power grid where sections can be turned on and off based on the needs of the user.
What are the benefits of using the Cloud?
Reduced IT costs for one. IT infrastructure now require less hardware and software, and the scalability delivers more costs savings. Instead of having the systems in place to be ready for peak usage times, companies can scale their usage up and down as required. The cost per user pricing structure means you only need to pay for what you use.
The cloud also provides increased reliability during a disaster and gives your IT department more time to work on proactive IT projects because managing the hardware and software is the job of your MSP.
Is there just one type of Cloud?
No! Depending on the needs of your organization (or just you), a Private, Public, or Hybrid Cloud offering may be the right choice.
In the Public Cloud, your data is in a multi-tenant environment where your server shares the same network and hardware as other tenants. Along with this, your data is held in a data center whose management and maintenance is not your own. This arrangement appeals to businesses that are looking for a pay-as-you-go model that doesn’t tie them to long-term contracts and doesn’t have tight requirements for security and compliance. More benefits include high reliability due to the vast network of servers on-call and nearly unlimited scalability.
Contrastingly, the Private Cloud is a single-tenant environment, and you guessed it, the hardware, storage, and network are your own. This offers the level of security that large companies (often government agencies or financial institutions) need to meet compliance regulations and delivers highly customizable network and storage performance.
Somewhere wedged in the middle of the Public and Private Cloud offerings you will find the Hybrid Cloud model. The benefit of a hybrid approach is the flexibility to move data and applications between private and public clouds. Being able to use the public cloud for high volume web-based email, and the private cloud for high-security operations for example, affords companies a plethora of options for their operations. Access to the private cloud when needed, with the resources of the public cloud, and the ability to scale when necessary, are all reasons a hybrid cloud model could be right for your business.