Cloudy Days Ahead

4 years is a long time in Technology and it seems like we’ve been talking forever about the benefits of Cloud Computing. One area of Cloud in particular that seems to dominate is off-site hosting and virtual networks versus on-site server installations (yeah, I know - we have some fascinating conversations...).

A lot of people considering Cloud services are familiar with the headline benefits such as initial speed of deployment and lower start-up costs. There's an abundance of info out there in google-land about the whys and hows, and numerous research reports supporting whichever view the reader, or more tellingly the seller, is promoting at any particular given time.

Just recently I came across a report by Nucleus that suggests a signifcant increase in ROI for Cloud adopters - up to 1.7 times that of on-site deployments. And that's just for openers; apparently cost benefits continue to increase over time with the built-in flexibility and scalability that Cloud provides plus future deployment and development becomes the domain of in-house process analysts rather than more costly external developers. So what's stopping you - it pays for itself.

To be clear these results are dealing with the applications aspect of Cloud Computing. Which is interesting to make a distinction as to many a purist in the industry, Cloud is only to do with applications; all else they say is nought but hosting by any other name. Our industry has always attracted its own disproportionate share of pedants.

'Cloudwashing!' - they cry and I can understand that when a service provider re-heats their existing product, adds zero value, passes it to the marketing department who stick 'Cloud' front, centre or behind it and hey presto, instantly become the new cloud computing experts then maybe, 'you dirty cloudwasher' is appropriate. But for our purposes and to avoid confusion, and to make our industry more open and inclusive we prefer to say providing Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS), or Software as a Service (SaaS), puts you firmly in the Cloud Computing space. And many agree.

So having got that off my chest lets take a high level view of what you can expect, benefit wise, from Cloud Computing in all its aspects. Signifcant on-going cost savings, such as:

no operational maintenance costs, no end of life replacement costs, no break/fix repair costs, no upgrade or relicensing fees, lower cost/lower maintenance of end user devices (thin client vs PC)

It gets better when you factor in business continuity benefits, such as:

remote data back-up; built-in redundancy; purpose built environment (security, power, heat, etc)

And the icing on the cake for software and services; efficiency, productivity and business enabling benefits, such as:

true mobility working; ease of data sharing; flexibility to scale up and down as workforce changes; virtual office operating virtually anywhere

So there in just a few words are 14 great reasons why so many businesses are making the move to Cloud Computing (I know - you went back and counted them and you only got 12 didnt you? But dont forget the 2 up top!). And this is just infrastructure – as for applications well that’s a whole other Cloud…

Reasons to be cheerful...

Stop buying hardware – no need to spend $000’s on physical server hardware

Stop buying software – lease or pay per use on-demand. When you stop using, you stop paying.

Stop buying licenses – no more AntiVirus, spam filtering or malware prevention costs

Stop paying maintenance fees – you don’t own the hardware so you don’t pay to maintain it

Stop backing-up data – it’s done for you and its already stored off-site

And on, and on, and on…