Cloud Computing – Cost Effective and Flexible Solution for Companies – Part 1
What is Cloud Computing
Cloud computing is gaining popularity since last few years. It is a computing model that uses shared infrastructure to provide computing resources to companies dynamically over a cloud, such as internet. It enables companies to use data storage, software applications, and computer processing power owned and maintained by cloud service providers through the internet or proprietary network of the service provider.
The cloud computing services are broadly divided into three categories:
1. Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS)
2. Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS)
3. Software-as-a-Service (SaaS)
Alternatively, some providers use some different nomenclature, e.g. Hardware-as-a-Service (HaaS) for IaaS and only SaaS for later two categories.
Cloud computing allows enterprises and small businesses to user a shared infrastructure as a service. It brings freedom from maintaining and configuring local servers by allowing the usage of distributed servers and computers maintained and configured by cloud computing service providers. These service providers are essentially well equipped and capable of operating distributed computing infrastructure than a small business or enterprise that does not specialize in IT infrastructure and services thereby allowing them to concentrate on their core business.
The cloud also allows companies to use the computing resources as needed by making them a service. For example, a retail business that requires more computing resources say the number of servers for certain months of a year due to the high volume of business while its needs drop to a few servers for the rest of the year. By using cloud from a cloud service provider, such retail business can save capital investment that remains idle most the year.
The same is true about ‘Software as a Service’ (SaaS) provided by cloud computing providers. Companies can purchase monthly or quarterly subscriptions instead of purchasing complete license and become worry free from its becoming obsolete in a few months or a year. Traditionally, newer versions of software require companies to purchase them again, and sometimes these newer versions also need enhanced infrastructure due to added functionalities, and thus add up to investments in infrastructure. Cloud services, both infrastructure and software allow companies to cut cost on repurchase of newer versions and upgrading of infrastructure.
How Companies Benefit from Cloud Computing
Companies can readily benefit from cloud computing. Some of the benefits cloud offers to companies are:
1. Time to start using the infrastructure and services is significantly reduced. Since cloud providers can extend services quickly, companies do no longer need lead time for bidding, purchasing, installation, and configuration of hardware and software
2. Costs on software licensing are reduced as companies can use online services in the cloud
3. Companies no longer need dedicated human resources for IT infrastructure and thus save administrative costs
4. Since cloud service providers specialize in infrastructure and software, they can offer more availability and reliability than a small in-house IT team could provide
5. Companies no more need to maintain their servers. This reduces maintenance cost
By Krishan Lal Khatri,
Krishan is a technology researcher and writer with over 12 years experience in telecommunication industry. He has a masters degree in Electronic Engineering and is member of IEEE and ISOC. He has worked with leading telecommunication service providers in Pakistan and United Arab Emirates for 10 years and then switched to teaching and research by joining a public sector university. He is currently pursuing PhD in Electrical Engineering.