When you’re thinking about making changes to the technology that your business relies on it can be a difficult decision. You want to know what the initial impact will be, the long-term effects and the benefits. The most important thing you need to understand though is the change that you are actually making. It’s very easy to go ahead with something and not understand the basics of what you are doing.
The Cloud is a term that gets used all the time in a variety of different scenarios. It’s one of those tech terms that get associated with all manner of different things with no real explanation of what it is. We think that it’s important to take a step back and understand the basics of the Cloud and what it is before jumping in at the deep end. We thought we would put together a beginner’s guide to the Cloud to get you started on your migration journey.
What is the Cloud?
The best way to describe the Cloud is as a collection of services that you access via the Internet instead of locally on your computer. Think of your music streaming services like Spotify and Apple Music. You pay a small fee per month to be able to stream music over the Internet rather than having the mp3s on your hard drive like you would have done a few years ago. Spotify and Apple Music are examples of the Cloud: services accessible via the Internet.
The advantage of the Cloud is that you are able to access those services from wherever you are and any device as long as you have an Internet connection. You can log into your PC, laptop, iPad, phone or tablet and you will still be able to access those services without needing to transfer files.
Of course, those files still need to exist somewhere. What you’re actually doing with the Cloud is accessing the hardware you would have had via an Internet connection. For example, if you’re using the Microsoft Cloud called Azure then Microsoft would be storing those files for you and you would be paying a small fee per month to be able to access them. They’re still your files, you have just put them somewhere else and access them in a different way.
The different forms of Cloud computing
There are mainly three different forms or categories of Cloud computing on offer. These include: Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS) and Software as a Service (SaaS). Each of these different categories allows you to do a different form of Cloud computing and gain different benefits.
Infrastructure as a Service
Infrastructure as a Service or IaaS is all about accessing hardware. Essentially this is where your hardware is provided by a Cloud provider such as Microsoft (if you choose a public Cloud rather than a private one) and managed for you. IaaS is where you can put things like your servers and back up devices in the Cloud.
There’s many different benefits of looking at this avenue of Cloud computing. One is it removes the issue of redundancy. For example, for your disaster recovery plan you may have a redundant server sitting there just in case something goes wrong, whereas if you deploy your disaster recovery solution in the Cloud you would only have to pay when you needed it.
Another benefit is that you are paying a small continuous fee instead of having a large upfront cost. So instead of having to budget for a new server every five years you just pay a small fee to always have a reliable server. The Cloud allows you to work on an operating expenditure model rather than capital expenditure for your IT budget.
Platform as a Service
Platform as a Service or PaaS is the next level of Cloud computing and includes things like your operating system and development tools. Again, you access them via an Internet connection and they are managed for you by your Cloud provider.
Platform as a Service is often used by developers when deploying applications. It makes it easy to develop applications easily without worrying about maintaining software or infrastructure.
Software as a Service
Software as a Service or SaaS is probably the category you are most familiar with. Things like Hotmail, Spotify and Facebook are all services that you access via an Internet connection.
For business applications, you often pay a small fee per user per month to be able to access your software from anywhere and always have the latest versions. For example, with Office 365 you pay on a subscription basis to always have the latest Office applications and email on a multitude of different devices. You can still install applications locally if you wish to, such as Microsoft Word or Excel, but generally you’re accessing a service via an Internet connection.
This blog is just a beginner’s guide to the Cloud. We have explained what the Cloud is, how it works and the different options that you could consider. There are many different benefits to Cloud computing to consider that we have not covered. If you would like to discuss using the Cloud in your business or wish to find out more information then do call us on 01675 469020 or email email@example.com.