Our mandate at General Data is to help clients understand different topics in Information Technology. Once a client understands a topic, then we can help form a strategy designed to put that technology to work for you. Cloud Computing is no exception. Cloud Computing has increased in popularity in recent years and is by far on one of the most important topics to emerge in the world of IT. At one time a mainstay for large cap enterprise, more and more cloud computing providers are designing services at a price point and availability that make them accessible to companies operating in the small-to-medium enterprise market. Cloud computing can help improve any business, gain productivity and generally help run things more smoothly. In order to understand how this is accomplished, we explore cloud computing and its origins in the following paragraphs.
Computing in a contemporary scenario.
Consider a typical scenario: a company with a main office, two remote offices and an individual who spends most of their time on the road (see figure “A” below). Now add a server at the main office and a primary Line of Business (L.O.B.) application that runs on the server, as well as files and folders. All the staff in the main office access the application across the LAN, with the two remote offices and remote worker connecting to the main office via the Internet, which, in any diagram is represented in the center as a cloud.
In the best-case scenario, there are no issues; staff in remote offices are able to access the main office at all times. The main office does not experience any issues and the remote teleworker has no issues getting in. This frankly is rarely the case. If the Internet goes offline at the main office then no one working remotely will be able to get in. A power blackout or brownout will cause similar issues. The server itself requires special attention; it needs to be protected against loss of power which is usually accomplished by the use of a UPS or Uninterruptible Power Supply. Servers can also generate a great deal of heat and thus Air Conditioning needs to be supplied. The room that the server is in also needs to be protected fire and flood. Businesses large and small have had issues arise in many of these aspects and thus suffered downtime and losses.
The Cloud Computing Difference
Cloud computing makes a difference for companies by doing away with most of the issues noted above. Cloud computing is essentially accomplished in one simple stroke. Referring to figure B below, the Server and with it the LOB application and files are moved into the cloud. In doing so, the critical components required to run the business are moved to a tertiary location, typically in what is known as a datacenter. A datacenter is a controlled environment that is designed to protect server assets and subsequently applications and files. UPS, Air Conditioning and protection from the elements are all essential elements of a datacenter and thus the uptime, reliability and availability are improved.
As mentioned early on, cloud computing has become increasingly available as an option to any company. Many providers offer cloud computing options in a variety of packages. Solutions are offered by Apple, Google, Amazon and a number of medium-enterprise sized cloud computing providers. Probably the largest, fastest growing and most accessible cloud computing provider is Microsoft, creator of the Azure cloud computing portal and all the services contained therein. As part of the Microsoft Partner Network, General Data has rolled out many cloud computing solutions based on the Azure platform.
“Do I actually move my server into the Cloud for Cloud Computing to work?"No. Typically what happens is we will create space in the Microsoft Azure cloud on behalf of a client. The space is available on a trial basis for 30 days at no cost of obligation for the client. After resources have been allocated, one or more virtual machines will be created and your important software, files and folders will be migrated into the cloud in a seamless transition.
“I am a laptop user, can I do this using Wireless or WiFi?”Yes. General Data will normally alleviate any issues by first conducting a no-obligation, on-site assessment. The assessment is always offered on a complimentary basis.
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