While some people may think “cloud computing” is merely a buzzword that was concocted by marketing firms to generate excitement there are real and solid benefits to this technology that provide tangible benefits to businesses of all sizes and scopes.
The three types of cloud computing commonly encountered are public cloud, private cloud and hybrid cloud. With public cloud computing an external service provider typically provides a range of hosting services, applications and storage solutions that are accessible solely over the Internet. The services, applications and storage solutions are all physically located at the service provider’s datacenter, and customers access the services, applications and data over the Internet. The pricing structures vary, with some providers offering free services to the general public and others providing pay-per-use services for businesses. In a private cloud environment the servers and infrastructure are owned by the business that wishes to have access to it. Instead of having a service provider, the business creates their own cloud datacenter and maintains control and ownership over the hardware and infrastructure involved. With a hybrid cloud infrastructure businesses can have the best of both worlds. In a hybrid environment the business can choose the devices and data they want to remain within their private cloud while also taking advantage of hosted cloud services.
By utilizing cloud computing, it is possible to create a dynamic and cost effective disaster recovery solution for any size business. With a hybrid cloud computing disaster recovery solution a company’s in-house resources can be seamlessly replicated and backed up to the cloud without adversely affecting the in-house network and without wreaking havoc on the IT budget.
Traditionally, disaster recovery and backup solutions have been time consuming and extremely expensive. For the highest levels of redundancy a company would be forced to buy duplicate server hardware and pay for a high bandwidth connection to an offsite datacenter for replication. These solutions often caused numerous headaches for IT staff as they struggled with getting replication to occur automatically and flawlessly. There was an enormous amount of administrative overhead along with the already steep equipment costs.
Cloud computing has created an atmosphere that can effectively eliminate these traditional woes. Instead of having to buy duplicate servers and redundant data centers, it is now possible to replicate backup data to the cloud utilizing services like Amazon Simple Storage Service. With these services, businesses are no longer forced to pay upfront for duplicate servers, and it is possible to scale disaster recovery and backup solutions as needs increase over time. Instead of having to buy large servers that fill up slowly it is now possible to pay only for space needed at the present time. When needs increase it is quick and easy to have the hosting company add more server space.
While this alone can be an extraordinary benefit for many businesses, the usefulness of cloud computing extends far beyond the realm of backups and disaster recovery. Everything from document storage to email systems can benefit from cloud computing. Instead of having only access to documents and email within the internal network cloud computing can be used to create an infrastructure that is accessible at any time from any place with an Internet connection.
With a cloud computing solution a company is no longer brought to its knees by a local ISP outage. Instead, remote workers and employees working from home can access these resources through the cloud and continue to be productive despite localized outages. This creates an infrastructure that can support remote workers and a mobile workforce without the traditional headaches involved with VPNs. Instead of dealing with VPN software remote employees can gain access to documents and email through web interfaces that are hosted in the cloud. They no longer need direct connectivity to the data center to be productive on the road or in the field.
Cloud computing creates the possibility for robust solutions that can meet the needs of any sized business regardless of geographic location. With cloud computing disaster recovery and backups can be made simple, and it is possible to create a fluid and dynamic infrastructure that is resilient to localized issues and outages. With a cloud computing solution it is possible to have an excellent level of redundancy and availability without breaking the budget.