Join David Rivers for an in-depth discussion in this video What is cloud computing?, part of Cloud Computing First Look (2012).
Before we can begin to explore the cloud, including strategies for migrating to the cloud and cloud tools, we should really understand what the cloud is. So let's begin with a quick overview of the cloud and what cloud computing means. The label cloud computing really is a metaphor for the Internet. If you've ever looked at a network diagram, the Internet portion of that network is typically represented by a cloud graphic. Also important to consider, the cloud in a diagram like this will typically represent the part of the solution that is someone else's concern. And this is what cloud computing is all about.
By leaving a good chunk of the networking solution in someone else's hands, a business can cut operational costs dramatically while allowing your IT departments to concentrate on strategy as opposed to maintaining the data center. But these days it would be overly simplistic to equate cloud computing to the Internet. A business might choose to access applications that reside at a location other than their own computers or servers. This would eliminate the need to install applications, like an Office Suite for example, locally on every computer in the company.
And when any update or even upgrade becomes available, there's no work to be done at your end, because someone else is hosting those applications and the updates are completed by them and not you. They handle it all including the costs of the servers that host those applications. Of course data storage has become a big piece in the cloud computing puzzle as well. With some or all of your data stored in the cloud we can cut capital expenditures since you won't need to buy the equipment needed to store everything.
And one of the biggest advantages to the cloud is the ability to access your applications and data from anywhere on any device that connects to the Internet. Users simply log in from wherever they are to use their applications and access their data. No more copying files and transferring them to multiple devices. Of course with anything IT related there are going to be some pros and some cons, and that goes for cloud computing as well. And Internet outage can be an issue in cloud computing, cutting off access to your applications and data and preventing you from getting your work done.
Sometimes a problem can be with the site you're accessing. If they are having issues, and it does happen, you are once again out of luck trying to get at your applications and data. It might be rare, but it's a real possibility to consider. And in some scenarios, if your company deals with sensitive or proprietary data, it may be necessary to store that data or run that application locally and not on someone else's machines. Healthcare organizations come to mind in the sensitive patient data they deal with. So that's a high-level look at cloud computing including some of the pros and cons. In most business scenarios you will see cloud computing as an important piece of an overall networking strategy and not the only solution.
David also presents an overview of migration and common cloud technologies as you contemplate a move to the cloud, including Google Apps, Microsoft Windows Live, and more. The final chapter outlines how to evaluate the ongoing effectiveness of the cloud for your business.
- Understanding the components and infrastructure of the cloud
- Working with storage and database services
- Understanding the benefits of cloud computing
- Assessing security risks
- Obtaining cloud storage
- Working with Google Apps, Windows Live, iCloud, and more
- Migrating to the cloud
- Training others on cloud use