Is the internet full of clouds?
Well, yes. Service Providers talk about “The Cloud” as though it is a single entity. It suggests that if your business “goes to the cloud” and your competitor “goes to the cloud” you are both doing the same thing. Whilst you may be doing the same thing, it is quite possible, even likely, that you are doing something completely different.
“The Cloud” is simply a computing resource located in a remote data centre. You could be sharing a physical server with other customers (a Public Cloud) or the server could be dedicated to you (a Private Cloud). You could be paying for it per user per month, which is the traditional way, or you could purchase the server and software yourself and rent the data centre space. This is termed a hybrid cloud and is often the less expensive model.
All remote data centres are not the same either. They can range from a server in a domestic garage (literally) to a fully certified, highly available and secure data centre with thousands of servers inside. As ever, it pays to do your homework.
It’s also important to consider what it is that you are actually using from this remote data centre. Platform as a Service (PaaS) provides your applications as part of the fee, Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) just provides the processing platform for you to install applications on to.
You could even simply use individual applications from “the cloud”. Many businesses use hosted Exchange for their emails, paying per mailbox per month. DR as a Service (DRaaS) provides remote data storage with fast data recovery to meet your Disaster Recovery requirements. There are many other examples.
When considering whether to move to “The Cloud” or to change cloud providers, it is important to understand what you mean by “The Cloud” and how you see your business benefitting from such a move. The International Standards Organisation (ISO) has released two documents to assist businesses with the terms used by Service Providers to define their cloud offerings. ISO/IEC 17788 provides definitions of the terminology used and ISO/IEC 17789 contains diagrams and descriptions of how the various aspects of cloud computing fit together.
It you haven’t got the time or inclination to review these documents and investigate your options, then NLDC can help you. Please get in touch if you are considering the future of your IT systems to see how we can help you move to the next stage in your business’s development.