Many IT managers wisely have their heads in the cloud. But some are still gazing up, wondering what it’s all about.
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Here are the basics that everyone in IT needs to know about cloud computing, the not-so-new technology that is revolutionizing the Internet:
“Stripped down, cloud computing is the latest generation of web-based services,” said Jeff Kaplan, managing director of THINKstrategies, a strategic consulting firm, focusing on cloud computing. “It allows you to get a wide array of business services online.”
The cloud in this equation is the Internet, which is the platform off of which the software or applications run. This allows anyone with access to the Internet to have access to the software or applications running on the cloud.
There are many benefits to cloud computing.
“The analogy with cloud computing is that it is like electricity,” said Ben Kepes, a business strategist and and blogger. “Rather than buying or building a power plant, you pay for what you use.”
Potential cost savings, however, is not the only advantage of cloud computing.
“For me, the biggest benefit is that it gives businesses the agility to scale and grow or shrink as they need,” Kepes said. “Coupled with this scalability it allows them to really focus on the core business.”
Chances are you have already used cloud computing without knowing.
With all these benefits, many people have noticed the potential of cloud computing. Services like Gmail, Google Apps, and Netflix, as well as companies like Amazon and Apple are among the many companies leveraging cloud computing.
“In the example of Gmail you have Google that has data centers all around the world,” said Kepes. “So you rent an e-mail address and they provide you with all the infrastructure and you connect to that.”
Different types of clouds
There are different types of clouds use in cloud computing:
- Public Cloudsare the most traditional form described above.
- Private Cloudsare used on private servers.
- Hybrid Clouds are a mix of the above two.
There are also different delivery methods in cloud computing:
- Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) is where server time is rented.
- Platform as a Service (PaaS) allows for development of software.
- Software as a Service (SaaS)
“Software as a service is the most popular because it touches the end users,” said Kepes. “For example, instead of using Microsoft Office on your desktop, you use Google Appson the cloud.”
“Cloud computing in the next five years will be at the same place as the Internet,” said Kaplan. “Fifteen years ago the Internet seemed like a new frontier, and people could hardly imagine spending time and using it as we do. Cloud computing takes the Internet and serves both the consumer and corporate world. With the introduction of new services, people will become that much more comfortable with the idea of cloud computing.”
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