What is the Cloud?
Cloud Computing, in simple terms, is sharing resources on-demand over the internet. These resources include infrastructure but also software, platforms, storage, databases, and test environments.
Cloud Computing and Virtualization are often confused, but Virtualization is about technology; Cloud is about applications, features and deployment models. Virtualization allows one physical server in your Data Center to run several individual computing environments. Virtualization technology is fundamental to Cloud Computing and has many benefits, including making better use of your hardware investment.
Cloud providers have Data Centers full of virtualized servers enabling each Cloud customer to work with a virtual instance of the same software. While both Cloud Computing and Virtualization maximize company IT resources and can possibly cut costs, Cloud services can provide additional benefits particularly for the small to medium sized organizations by granting access to applications otherwise out of reach.
Benefits of Cloud Computing
The Cloud offers a wide range of services and applications that many small or medium sized businesses could not normally afford. This provides opportunities for innovation that can help companies stay competitive.
With an ever increasing mobile workforce, the cloud enables a flexible platform for your employees to work remotely, run applications while at a client site, or check up on projects from anywhere and on multiple devices.
In general, the Cloud is a more cost effective solution, especially for small and mid-size companies. Due to the shared infrastructure, there are fewer up-front costs and investments in hardware, software and maintenance.
While reliability is a concern, the reality is that software-as-a-service (SaaS) providers deliver products that are typically more reliable and secure than a small business could maintain itself in-house.