Alan McMahon works for Dell in enterprise solution design, across a range for products from servers, storage to virtualization, and is based in Ireland.
Cloud computing is used in many different ways these days, but not everyone is completely on board the cloud train quite yet. For those holdouts who just aren't sure whether or not they're really benefiting from the cloud, a close look at the technology shows that you can improve almost any IT department with a bit of cloud computing. You don't have to go as far as setting up a platform or complete infrastructure on the cloud, as even a small amount of cloud applications could provide you with cost and time saving features.
The main advantage of the cloud computing world is its flexibility but initially this can seem confusing as you can have private clouds, public clouds, or a mix of both. A private cloud is your own virtualized environment, while a public cloud is one that another company provides for you. Companies may opt to do a mix of both, with their own proprietary applications in their private cloud, and additional applications in the public cloud. This allows the business to use their own developed software in a cloud that they personally handle the security of, while getting the cost saving benefits of the public cloud by avoiding upfront equipment costs and other overhead.
Private clouds do require costs in development and deployment, since these are typically built from scratch. The control that a company has over a private cloud is complete, as opposed to public cloud offerings. There are also some service providers who focus on private cloud services, so you get the benefit of private cloud without all of the associated upfront cost. It's a good compromise between doing it all yourself, especially if you aren't completely sold on the cloud computing idea. This method of cloud computing is commonly used by federal agencies who can't risk their data being in even a slightly unsecured location.
Public cloud computing is not for the sole use of a single company. These resources are shared with many users, and the hardware the cloud computing company provides is built on a system that makes the most efficient use of it. The biggest advantage of this type of cloud is the cost savings. You don’t have upfront costs, downtime for deployment, or time for implementation. You may have to spend some time training your employees to get used to the cloud, but it's not going to be any bigger time investment than other types of software.
Then you have hybrid cloud computing. This type of cloud computing interfaces with both public and private clouds, so you can get the best of both worlds. One way that is common use of hybrid cloud computing is "cloud bursting." This uses public cloud resources to handle times of heavy traffic or increased load on the private cloud servers, such as an e-commerce store during Cyber Monday or the Christmas holiday season.
It's going to take some time for the entire IT world to get on board with cloud computing, but the benefits are well worth it. A mix of private and public cloud services is a great compromise for companies who are worried about security issues in relation to the cloud. You'll find that you spend much less time worrying about maintenance, support, and deployment when public cloud providers are taking care of software updates and other necessary tasks for you. You'll also save budget, since you won't have a lot of servers or hardware sitting around that you simply don't need most of the time, but only reaches capacity during heavy traffic times. Even cloud computing in a small scale is worth taking a look at, as it allows access to much more powerful hardware than you would otherwise have.
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