Cloud Computing \u2013 An Ultimate Guide for Businesses
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Cloud Computing – An Ultimate Guide for Businesses

Posted By Rich Enns     October 27, 2022    

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The global cloud computing marketplace is expected to reach US $1251.09 billion by 2028. Having emerged somewhere around the turn of the 21st century, the cloud computing marketplace has formalized into unique service and deployment models helping millions of businesses (and customers) inadvertently.

Were it not for cloud computing technology, we might still be bereft of the many conveniences we take for granted. Cloud computing solutions have helped businesses off-load the bulk of IT resource management to off-shore vendors, bringing down the cost of doing business and increasing ROIs. Therefore, the question for entrepreneurs and interested prospects isn’t whether to avail cloud solutions or not, but how to?

If such is your dilemma, then this guide will shed much-needed light on the efficacies of cloud computing for business solutions, both big and small.

What is Cloud Computing? Cloud computing refers to the outsourcing of IT resource management by an organization to third-party vendors. Clients pay on the go for the computing resources they avail and are billed on a pro-rata basis.

What is Cloud Computing

Generally, the types of resources that are delivered on-demand include data storage systems and computational power. Subscribers become direct beneficiaries of IT resources that they avail through the internet and are spared the expenses for setting up the infrastructure in-house.

Not all demand curves are predictable. Therefore, an investment towards cloud professional services cuts through maintenance costs of organizations and empowers them to scale operations as per business requirements. Be it startups, legacy businesses, or digital-at-scale companies, cloud computing applications allow all to get products up and running faster and better.

Types of Cloud Computing Services Now that we have covered what is cloud computing, let us explore the various types of cloud computing models that are available for interested prospects. There are majorly three types of cloud services to choose from. These cloud computing models are explained below:

Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) SaaS operators extend access rights to subscribers for using software and databases over the internet. In other words, instead of installing and running the software applications on self-owned equipment, users can access the same through cloud providers. Therefore, software-as-a-service is often pointed to as an on-demand software solution.

Subscription models vary from monthly plans to charging users a lump sum yearly fee per account. The fluctuating demand for IT resources is managed by vendors by cloning tasks onto multiple virtual machines. In order to maximize the subscription base, cloud vendors often use multi-tenancy frameworks i.e. one machine runs applications for multiple organizational users. The popularity of SaaS platforms has increased in that business owners are now migrating their entire SaaS operations onto mobile apps.

Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) PaaS model is conceptualized to offer developers an integrated, end-to-end platform for developing applications. Such cloud computing applications mitigate the development cost for especially bootstrapping companies who can then afford ambitious business goals.

To elaborate further, PaaS vendors offer development toolkits, and also define the protocols for development. Subscribers gain access to computing platforms that include OS, programming language execution environment, databases, and web servers. When the demand peaks, users can opt-in to scale their resource bandwidth, instead of purchasing and setting up the hardware/software layers manually.

Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) IaaS is one of the most basic types of cloud services. It refers to using IT infrastructure such as virtual private machines, storage systems, and operating systems on a pay-as-you-go basis.

The services are delivered through virtualized machines over the internet. Since providing standalone infrastructure won’t suffice, therefore vendors also offer moderation, log access, security layers, load balancing, clustering, and storage resiliency such as data backup, duplication, and recovery mechanisms. Check out the key differences between IaaS and PaaS.

How can Cloud Computing Benefit Your Business? As per the Denodo Global Cloud IT Survey (2021), there has been a rise in global IT businesses, upto 19.59% from 15.48% in 2020, who are inclined to move advanced workloads on cloud settings. All this is precisely due to the advantages of the cloud.

Here are a few benefits that your business stands to realize in switching to cloud computing technology:

Flexibility One of the greatest benefits of cloud computing is that it has unhooked IT departments from the need to invest heavily in equipment. Virtual servers open the doors for cloud subscribers to remotely access applications from anywhere around the world.

Operational Fluidity Noticeable cloud computing advantages for businesses include minimizing downtime and maximizing productivity.

Adopting cloud computing for business operations negates building data silos in-house. As the servers mirror data across multiple layers, data backup and recovery become easier.

24/7 Connectivity Third-party vendors use cloud computing solutions to establish access rights for files across cross-border users. Unhindered connectivity allows businesses to advance departmental functions seamlessly. The same cannot be said of traditional IT resource management.

Limitless Storage Growth demands massive throughput towards self-owned IT equipment. Or does it! Over the years, c-suite decision-makers have realized that stacking in-house data warehouses is like pumping funds down the drain. Instead, paying for the exact bandwidth that has been consumed (in times of peak demand) keeps money in the bank for cash-strapped enterprises.

Low Carbon Footprint Multi-tenancy models are having a positive impact on lowering carbon emissions. Case in point – a study found that Microsoft cloud-based units mitigated carbon emissions by 90% for small operations (per 100 users), 60%-90% for medium-sized operations (per 1000 users), and 30% – 60% for large-scale operations (per 10,000 users).

Is Cloud Hosting Better than Traditional Web Hosting? Traditional web hosting is mainly of two types, dedicated and shared. In dedicated hosting clients pay upfront for one or more servers from the service provider. There are caps to digital utilities such as bandwidth, CPU, and RAM.

Shared hostings are more profound amongst small and medium enterprises. This model allocates a single server to multiple clients, hence the name shared. Since multiple websites populate a single server, the scope of scaling is minimized at the time of rising website traffic. Worse, if the server experiences downtime, it will affect all the business assets hosted on its digi-scape.

The benefits of cloud computing supersede these limitations. Cloud vendors host websites on virtual servers. Workloads are equitably distributed across multiple clusters with data mirroring mechanisms running in the background. In the event of a server going down, secondary servers maintain functional stability and business continuity.

Such elastic and downtime resilient cloud computing advantages make this technology head and shoulders above traditional hostings.

How Much does Cloud Computing Cost? This is a rather tough question to answer. You should perform an audit of your current IT infrastructure which should help you identify computational necessities in terms of a cloud environment. In fact, you can bifurcate the same into direct and indirect costs. Direct costs cover license fees, bandwidth allocation, cost of equipment, server capacity, and the likes. In the same vein, indirect costs include workforce management, workspace rent, and hardware maintenance among others.

Another top-of-the-line priority would be the intricacies involved in migrating your data onto the cloud. This would vary depending upon whether you’ve been reliant on legacy systems or not. Subsequently, the volume of data would dictate the architectural style and blueprint of your cloud. Factoring in such parameters should allow you to estimate the borderline expenditure.

While we’ve summarized the journey for a better understanding, the cost varies as per the requirements of each business. However, if you’re looking to get a ballpark figure then it costs approximately USD 400 per month for one cloud server. This could go upto USD 15,000 to avail the entire back-office infrastructure as a service.

Source: Cloud computing solutions

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