True Cloud Computing
What Is Cloud Computing?
Cloud computing is a computing model that lets you access software, server, and storage resources over the Internet in a self-service manner. Instead of having to buy, install, maintain, and manage these resources on your own computer or device, you access and use them through a web browser such as Internet Explorer, Firefox, or Safari. Sometimes you might need to download a small piece of client code (i.e. software you install locally), but we’d still categorize that as cloud computing because, for the most part, the real horsepower is supplied from the cloud.
You can perform just about any computing task in the cloud, and it’s likely that you already use several cloud solutions today. For example, software as a service (SaaS) or on demand business applications, such as web based email, Intuit QuickBooks Online, or even Citrix Go-To Meeting are all cloud applications; you access them from your web browser, but the software, processing power, and storage all reside in the cloud. (on the Internet)
Free web services — such as Google’s Gmail or Microsoft’s Hotmail, or Facebook and Twitter for that matter, are all examples of cloud computing. Likewise, if you use online backup solutions, you’re storing your files in the cloud, and many managed service providers also supply services such as network and security monitoring over the Internet.
Why Should You Care?
Most small to mid-sized businesses simply don’t have the time, expertise, or money necessary to buy, deploy, and manage the computing infrastructure needed to run these solutions on their own. Cloud computing shields you from these complexities. As a user, you see only the self-service interface to the computing resources you need and can expand or shrink services as your needs change. Business on-demand — allowing you to pay for the drink without having to purchase the entire bottle.
Instead of laying out capital to buy hardware and software, you rent what you need, usually either on a subscription basis, or on a utility pay-as-you go model. Many cloud computing vendors offer free services as well. Some, like Google and Yahoo, monetize free offerings through ad revenues. Other vendors make money by selling optional, integrated fee-based services alongside the freebies – a model that is gaining momentum.
The main benefits of cloud computing:
- Speed of Implementation
- Because the infrastructure is already in place a business simply needs to subscribe to the services they wish to utilize. This allows companies to get up and running much sooner than if they needed to purchase hardware, software, and hire consultants for installation and setup. Cloud computing is ready-made — customers don’t build, they subscribe and receive services immediately.
- Availability of Services
- Behind the scenes, cloud computing service providers have to do a lot of work to manage all of the infrastructure, technology, and people that make everything possible. To provide services easily, flexibility and profitability to thousands or even millions of users, they invest heavily in hardware, virtualization technologies, networking infrastructure, and automation capabilities. With near 100% uptime and availability your services are always on and available when you need them.
- Data Security & Integrity
- Company data is housed in an environment which is monitored and managed 24/7 by professional staff, with advanced and multi-layered security measures in place that many smaller businesses would find prohibitively expensive to try to emulate in-house. Additionally, by placing company data into a data center, businesses also benefit from instant business continuity and resiliency as data is backed up and protected in accordance with strict service levels.
- Financial Predictability
- In the past, businesses would pay for hardware and software through capital expenditure and take on all the associated risks and headaches that come with that approach. The business would have to invest in servers and software up-front and with no guarantees of success or a return on the investment. Cloud computing gives organizations an alternative to buying and maintaining costly in house infrastructure and allows users to securely access their business applications whenever they want to and wherever they are. Because there is no hardware or software to buy, businesses can avoid all up-front costs and eradicate the unpredictable nature of IT. This also allows smaller businesses to access enterprise grade technologies, but without the issues of cost, complexity, and risk.
What’s Our Role?
Zen Media Studios is a managed solutions provider. We follow the industry news, keep tabs on all the players, and ultimately subscribe to the best of industry services. We then integrate these services into one manageable and easy to use product offering that we lease to our customers. Because all of our services are subscription based you can sign up, and pay, for only the services you need and manage your entire portfolio from one control panel.
We are the IT professionals leading the way into the future of small business computing – welcome to the cloud…