The Advantages of ‘Cloud’ Computing
There are many advantages of ‘Cloud’ computing including reduced costs, easy maintenance and provisioning of resources, resulting in increased profits. The ‘Cloud’ also contributes to reducing the environmental impact that computing technology, power and emissions have on the globe. This article covers the advantages of ‘Cloud’ computing and whilst highlighting the positive impact ‘Cloud’ computing contributes to the environment versus traditional technology.
An Introduction to ‘Cloud’ Computing
‘Cloud’ computing could be defined as a pay-per-use model, enabling on-demand access to reliable and configurable resources that can be quickly provisioned and released – with minimal user involvement in terms of management. You only pay for the resources you use. There is no need to set up the infrastructure or buy the software. This is just a selection of the many advantages of ‘Cloud’ computing.
Any ‘Cloud’ should have the following characteristics irrespective of whether it is private or public and irrespective of the type of service it offers:
1. It should be able to quickly allot and relieve resources whenever required by clients
2. It should have real-time backup to offer maximum up time to clients
3. It should be able to cater for the needs of clients without having to involve clients into management of the service
Types of Cloud Services
IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service): Offers infrastructure on demand. The infrastructure can be anything from storage servers to applications to operating systems. Applications/services such as Office 365 offer a combination of these infrastructure and falls under this category. With these, you can get plenty of applications along with storage space. Buying infrastructure or renting it out in traditional models can be very expensive. When you opt for IaaS, you save a lot on expenses, space, and staff required to set up and maintain the infrastructure. The ‘Cloud’ service provider takes care of everything. You just pay a fee to use it per your requirements.
SaaS (Software as a Service): This is the most popular form of ‘Cloud’ services. The service provider offers software to support the service on offer. The software is built by the service provider while the end users can configure it to suit their needs. The clients (end users) however, cannot change or modify the software. PCPro is an example of SaaS. It is basically a backup service that offers software to help people back up their data. Enabling you to use the service without actually having to buy the software. You just have to pay a monthly or annual fee to use the service.
PaaS (Platform as a Service): Offers a platform to clients for different purposes. For example, the Windows Azure offers a platform to developers to build, test, and host applications that can be accessed by the end users. The benefit being that the storage space for user data may be increased or decreased per the requirement of the applications. As with the SaaS, there is no need to build the platform. You just pay a nominal fee for using the service.
As you will note, there are numerous advantages of ‘Cloud’ computing, the most basic ones being remote accessibility, lower costs, and quick provisioning.
The other advantage of ‘Cloud’ computing is its impact on the environment (Green Computing). Green computing can be defined as energy efficient usage of computing resources. Most of the computers today are Energy Star certified. They are designed to reduce the consumption of electricity while also reducing emissions that damage the environment. Taking the advantages of ‘Cloud’ computing further contributes to green computing.
As ‘Cloud’ computing can always be used for re-provisioning of resources, when you need to expand, there is no need to buy the infrastructure to increase the carbon emissions by way of using more electricity to cool off the computer resources. You can just expand to the ‘Cloud’ to use the pre-built resources to stop the increase in electricity usage at your end. No need to add cooling components thereby reducing the hazardous emissions. Thus, you save the environment while also saving on the expenses incurred due to a demand for expansion.
The expansion can be as small as writing a code for your business. There are several generic software applications available through SaaS. You can use the one that suits your company or personal needs. This saves you the trouble of adding one or more computers to your infrastructure for the purpose of storing the database(s) used by the code. This keeps a check on your electricity usage, thereby contributing to green computing and reducing expensive electricity bills.
‘Cloud’ computing also enables you to let your staff work from home. This means large savings while contributing heavily to environmentally friendly green computing. Your staff can access the ‘Cloud’ – public or private – from anywhere in the world and can work from home. This means no drive to work which saves fuel and reduces carbon emissions, this in turn, saves the environment. It’s logical to say that if you are using less computers and servers, there is a reduction in the need for cooling resources, which in turn reduces both electricity usage and carbon emissions – again contributing to the environment and green computing.
As you can see, there are several advantages of ‘Cloud’ computing:
Remote Accessibility: With cloud computing, your business is not restricted to a particular location. This applies to individuals also. You can access the services from anywhere. All you need is your ID and password. In some cases, there may be extra security requirements but as they too are mobile, you can easily access your ‘Cloud’ services from any part of the world.
Easy Expansion: As is the characteristics of ‘Cloud’ computing i.e. flexibility, you can quickly access more resources if you need to expand your business. There is no need to buy extra infrastructure. You just need to inform your ‘Cloud’ provider about your requirements and they will allocate resources to you. In most cases, the entire process is automated so the expansion takes just a few minutes. The same is applicable if you wish to use fewer resources. One of the best advantages of ‘Cloud’ computing is easy re-allocation of resources.
Security: Although people doubt ‘Cloud’ computing, clouds tend to be more secure than the traditional business models. ‘Clouds’ offer real-time backup which results in less data loss. In case of outage, your clients can use the backup servers that sync with the main ones as soon as they are up. Your business gets maximum uptime without any loss of data during the transitions. Other than this, ‘Clouds’ are less prone to hacks and DDoS attacks as the whereabouts of your data is unknown.
Environmentally Friendly: Usage of ready-made resources tailored to your needs helps you reduce the electricity expenses. While you save on electricity, you also save on resources required to cool off computers and other components. This reduces the emissions dangerous to environment.
For more information on how you can benefit from the ‘Cloud’ please contact our Solutions Consultants on