When the average person thinks of the cloud, they tend to think of backing up their photos and music or using email. Cloud computing is a misunderstood term which can mean all those things and much more.
Simply speaking it means having access to a service, resource, application or data via the internet. You could store some or all these things in your own datacentres, with companies like Microsoft or Amazon or in a hybrid configuration where you own some of the systems.
Wikipedia defines it as:
“Cloud computing is the on-demand availability of computer system resources, especially data storage and computing power, without direct active management by the user.”
While NIST’s definition identifies “five essential characteristics”
1. On-demand self-service
2. Broad network access
3. Resource pooling
4. Rapid elasticity
5. Measured service
There are three types of clouds:
• Private cloud – your company owns the hardware
• Public cloud – someone else owns the hardware
• Hybrid cloud – a combination of private and public
Now that we have some of the basics out of the way, let’s discuss cloud computing and how it can help your business stay relevant and profitable. First reason to consider cloud computing:
1. Reducing Capital Expenditures
Updating and replacing hardware on a 3-5 year cycle can handcuff your organization due to the large capital expenditures required. Moving workloads to the cloud allows you to shift your capital expenditures (CAPEX) to operational expenses (OPEX). This can make budgeting easier and make it easier to scale up or scale down (discussed later).
In a public cloud model, the provider is responsible for maintaining the hardware. You are responsible for managing the applications or platform depending on your solution. In theory, your cloud provider should be upgrading their systems on a consistent basis to leverage the performance gains that new technology provides.
2. Right-Sizing your Business
Businesses that win in today’s market are more agile than ever before. Whether it is due to expansion, contraction, or seasonal reasons, you must be able to size and re-size your environments without incurring massive costs or complexity.
The pay-per-use model of cloud computing allows you to control your costs, improve customer experience, and allows for a faster time to market. For example, you have a great idea for a new service but don’t have the budget to buy hardware and setup a lab to test. You could setup your account with a cloud service provider like Microsoft Azure with a credit card and only pay for what use while your services are powered on.
If you realize you no longer need the service, no problem! Just delete it. If it is still required but growing, no problem just add more resources to meet the demand.
3. Workforce Transformation and Employee Retention
Businesses is global more than ever and it runs 24×7. The proliferation of smartphones and the always on experience they provide has altered the workforce and business permanently. Work and personal boundaries have converged. Your staff may be surfing Facebook posts in the morning and replying to emails or on conference calls in the evening.
Allow your employees the opportunity to decide how they want to work. Many employees would prefer having access to their desktop and applications in a secure and consistent way. Deploying a solution like Citrix which allows a secure, seamless experience across all devices, gives you the flexibility required.
In a Citrix scenario, you may have your applications stored in your own datacentre, co-located or in a public cloud like Azure or AWS. Whichever solution you go with, the ability to deliver an amazing, consistent user experience securely over the internet is what today’s modern worker desires.
4. Communication & Collaboration
Leveraging communication tools found in the cloud such as Microsoft Teams and Slack brings your staff closer together. By utilizing these tools, you can respond quicker to customer requests, have your team resolve issues faster and build community within your teams.
Teams and Slack can organize your messages and files in channels that make it easier to collaborate, onboard new team members, and have video calls. Microsoft Teams more specifically, allows you to record calls, webinars and meetings to be published or shared with team members and clients.
Both applications have intuitive mobile apps which allow your staff to stay connected while out of the office. Calling from these applications can reduce long distance charges or having to purchase costly conference bridges.
5. Big Data and the Internet of Things (IoT)
With storage and computing costs dramatically decreasing as time moves on, the world has seen an exponential growth in data. The introduction of the Internet of Things (IoT) devices is only further fueling and accelerating this trend.
IoT devices are changing the way companies do business and we are still only in the early days. Imagine being a manufacturing company that is getting real-time data points and telemetry from your equipment allowing you to understand what is going on with your equipment in real-time.
Now imagine having millions of devices with thousands of data points for each transmitting this data back to your cloud storage. How do you process and analyze all this data?
Big data is how and that is why the combination of IoT and Big Data will revolutionize the way the world works. It’s not just being used for manufacturing. Other examples where big data and IoT are being used include: insurance companies, government, information technology, and media.
If you want to drive innovation, increase profits or need a business strategy that leverages cloud computing and technology, then we want to hear from you. Our main goal with our customers is to be their trusted technology partner and business growth strategist.
Contact us today at 1-888-664-6954 to learn more about our services.
Ferroque Systems is a technology consulting, IT advisory, and managed services firm specialized in virtualization and digital workspaces. Recognized internationally for our Citrix expertise, we focus on delivering innovative solutions to meet the needs and strategic goals of growing enterprise and mid-market businesses across the globe.