Since 2008 the cloud computing is acquiring importance, more and more enterprises are offering or adapting their solutions to a cloud computing environment. Could be an advantage for our business to use them? How will affect us the migration to the cloud?
First of all, what does a cloud computing environment offer? And how could be helpful for our business? Briefing, a cloud computing environment is basically a server (usually virtualized) hosted by a third-party company which provide computation, software or data storage. There are three forms of using the cloud:
Author: Sam Johnston
- Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS): An infrastructure can be delivered as a service, covering servers, networks, load balancers, operative systems, databases, etc. With this option we will have control of our server, keeping the configuration as we decide.
- Platform as a service (PaaS): A platform to develop, deploy, host and run our applications. PaaS format will provide us certain features such a server, network, operative system, database, etc. Unlike IaaS, with a PaaS we will lose governance of the server because we won’t control certain activities as operative system configurations, network security features, etc.
- Software as a service (SaaS): Applications provided over Internet and administrated and hosted by a third-party. SaaS has been used since a long time, for example with the web mail (Gmail, hotmail, etc). However several business solutions are currently being offered in this format, as for example:
- CRM: SugarCRM, SalesForce, OpenCRM, etc.
- Business Intelligence: Talend, Pentaho, BIRT, etc.
- DataBases: TeraData, Amazon SimpleDB, etc.
- Other: Google Analytics, SurveyTool, 360EnterpriseSuite, DropBox, etc.
Our business could profit any of the previous models, but what would be the advantages and disadvantages of using them? Of course, it will always depend on specific factors but for a wide range of cases:
- Reduced costs: Pay as much as you use it. Also IT department will reduce its cost because hardware, software and other services will be provided by a third-party.
- Maintenance: No needs to worry about machine support, hardware upgrades or space to keep it. IT maintenance will be lighter and easier.
- Scalability: To scale up will be easier and faster if we need more resources at pike times or permanently due to the flexibility of cloud computing environments.
- Remote access: Our business resources could be accessed wherever our employee has an Internet connection, promoting availability and collaboration.
- Security: Our customer’s data will be stored in an external machine, even using secure protocols, as HTTPS, it will be a risk.
- Control: The server, OS, software… all remains on the third-party side, losing its control.
- Dependence: To use a cloud computing platform an Internet connection is required. Moreover, if the third-party had any kind of problem it will affect us too.
As seen above there are pros and cons, so taking advantage of a cloud computing service will depend on our business situation that has to be analyzed before making a decision. The answer to the following questions could tip the balance in the right direction:
- What are the costs associated with our IT? A cloud computing environment could reduced them, it’s an alternative.
- Could be our customer’s private information stored in a third-party’s machine? It will depend on internal politics, regulations, or customers conditions. The security features of our business could be the main limitation to use the cloud.
- What software applications are our business using? are they offered as a SaaS? The replacement should be analyzed looking for a cost reduction.
- Does our business need a high performance? As indicated previously, we will depend on the Internet connection and certain processes (as large data processes) couldn’t keep the same performance running on a cloud computer environment.
Don’t hesitate to leave a comment if you want to share your opinion about the use of a cloud computing service in your business.
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