By now you’ve probably heard about the “cloud” and wondered why it’s such a big deal…
More companies are moving their business processes to the Cloud, including real-time applications like voice communication and video conferencing. Instead of managing their own phone systems and data centers, companies can now focus on growing their business – without the cost and hassles of upgrading hardware, operating systems, applications and security.
The cloud is simply a remote data center run by a third-party. From there, a menu of services is delivered on a monthly subscription basis. Microsoft Azure, Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Rackspace are examples of the growing number of cloud providers. They offer a reliable, scalable, and inexpensive technology platform. They are free to join. Businesses pay only for what they use.
With these types of services, there is no longer any need for businesses to invest in their own data center or phone system and the specialized staff to manage it all. Entrepreneurs can leverage cloud services to develop new applications without the need to burn through scarce capital to set up their own technology infrastructure.
The cloud is also being used for website hosting. With this service, your website draws resources from multiple servers. This avoids the performance bottlenecks of traditional shared server hosting arrangements. If your website experiences a sudden traffic spike, for example, it can draw upon the resources of other servers to prevent slow page loads or even prevent the site from going down.
The cloud service provider handles everything for its clients, including…
- Enforcement of licensed software as well as upgrades and patches
- Automated backup of computers on the network
- Security scans to protect your data and applications from harm
- Rapid response to alerts of potential performance problems
- Redundant systems and network connections to eliminate downtime
- Power consistency and generator backup to prevent catastrophic failure
- Security regimes to control physical access to the data center, racks and cages
With cloud services there is no longer a single point of failure. When a system goes down in the data center, a redundant system immediately takes over. If a connection goes down, voice and data traffic are handed off to another connection. If there is a regional commercial power outage, a diesel powered generator or fuel cell array takes over. If a remote site loses its connectivity, mobile users can connect to their desktops delivered from the data center via WiFi or a cellular connection.
The cloud solves all of the problems that once plagued do-it-yourself data centers, plus it delivers greater efficiency, reliability, security and costs savings. That’s the big deal about the cloud.
Nathan Muller is the author of 29 technical books and over 3,000 articles that have appeared in 75 publications worldwide. He also writes articles, blogs and social media content for tech companies and their executives.