Nobody ever tells you to ‘get your head in the cloud’ – in fact the reverse is generally true! Knowledge of cloud computing varies greatly, so for the benefit of those who are still roaming in the cumulonimbus of cloud awareness, join me as I turn the key to reveal the intricacies of the cloud.
Cloud computing is a general term for anything that involves delivering hosted services over the Internet. It is also the architecture and technologies necessary to provide those services.
The Cloud is efficient, flexible and extremely scalable. However, cloud adoption can become confusing, and the multiple options turn even the simplest of concepts into a complex endeavor. So what is the cloud all about, and what information should reside in it?
Because businesses need to respond very quickly to a rapidly changing marketplace, company CEO’s are demanding computer usage to be nimble and lithe. The ability to expand and contract usage of the applications that are pertinent to the business is what enables a highly flexible environment and allows for the necessary supple response. Very few companies have the in-house expertise or equipment to allow for a rapid scale deployment of computer power. That is where you can use Cloud companies to deliver the needed service.
Options for cloud delivery can be defined in three broad areas:
Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) – Is essentially an outsourcing of the equipment needed to support applications, including storage, hardware, servers, and networking. The service provider owns the equipment and is responsible for housing, running and maintaining it. You provide the software and architecture of how it all fits/works together.
Platform as a Service (PaaS) – Provides a platform to build applications, or run existing applications, using the resources of the hosting cloud. The Cloud service provider is responsible for keeping the underlying hardware working patched and upgraded. You are responsible for the software.
Software as a Service (SaaS) – leverage business processes, activities, or tasks done in full-featured applications that are available by network access and are contracted for use on a subscription basis. The Cloud service provider is responsible for everything; you are only responsible for running the application.
Cloud offerings generally fit into four types:
Private Cloud – A popular option for individual businesses or enterprise. It provides a secure environment for a specific purpose. The infrastructure is secure and the users and applications on the private cloud are known. The private cloud can easily be monitored and supported by personnel within the specific environment; which offers a high degree of security.
Public Cloud – A public cloud offers easy and quick availability and can save time when embarking upon a project. The biggest potential drawback of the public cloud is that multiple businesses or individuals are leveraging the same resource. The environment is always available, but less controllable. Data can potentially be exposed through network connections linking the platforms together. As a result of the potential data risk, often, security mandated corporations choose not to select this route.
Community Cloud – A mix of private and public cloud that offers multiple companies with similar interests the opportunity to reside on the same platform and infrastructure. A set of requirements and rules are agreed upon by each community thus offering a higher level of security to that of a public cloud, but not as much as a private cloud.
Hybrid Cloud – Allows certain applications to reside on a public cloud infrastructure, while those that need a higher level of security can reside on a private cloud.
There really is no single type of cloud methodology that fits every need, especially within a large IT environment. Environments can be deployed in a variety of ways; it is all about finding the best fit.
By outlining the various cloud environments, it becomes clear that there are many factors to consider when deciding upon the type of cloud deployment that would be right for your particular business, such as:
- Information security
- Data privacy and governance of cloud use
- Regulatory requirements within your specific industry
- Technical architecture
The good news is that with so many options available the cloud is no longer an obstacle, it has become an advantage. What needs to be defined is a solution that custom fits requirements. Generally in the short to middle term, cloud adoptions will progress through a mixture of environments, factoring in security needs, budget, and types of applications to be moved to the cloud.
Big Green IT will work with you to determine the right mix, and will not leave you hanging with a myriad of possibilities. We have a deep understanding of IT and of current business needs. We can indeed reveal the cloud!