The silver lining on the cloud computing jargon
The term “cloud computing” has been around for some time now and at times it can seem like if your business isn’t “in the cloud” then it’s in danger of going in the bin. Cloud computing is a buzz word, a rebranded version of a service that has been in place for many years and it has got a lot of business owners unnecessarily confused and anxious about the future.
In this article we aim to give you an overview of what cloud computing is and how it affects you. We’re cutting out the technical jargon to give you a clear and simple understanding of the basics and help you decide on whether it’s right for your business at this present moment.
What is cloud computing?
Firstly, we should point out that cloud computing is not a new phenomenon. You’ve probably been using it for years without realising it. Gmail (Google mail) is an example of cloud computing. All your Gmail contacts, calendars and emails are stored in servers1 held outside of your office (please ignore if you work in the GMail server room) and you access the data stored via the internet on your laptop, desktop or mobile.
This means that you no longer need your local hard drives and desktop computers. There is now a cloud computing solution for the vast majority of your business needs. You can store email, presentations, spread sheets, website, data backups and much more. All you need is a laptop, tablet, or similar device that is connected to the internet and you can login to the provider of your cloud based application and begin work.
Cutting through the jargon
If cloud computing is something you are thinking of exploring for your business then you will come across a lot of technical jargon. It’s time to arm yourself against this barrage of abbreviations so get your wellies on as we’re about to wade through the dark, murky waters of the cloud computing language.
The three types of cloud service:
SaaS (Software as a Service)
This is simply software or application that you access over the internet and as a result you don’t need to install the software. Google Apps are an example of this.
IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service)
Imagine accessing your desktop PC’s infrastructure – CPU, RAM, network equipment, hard drive – over the internet, add the ability to scale in a “pay for what you consume” model and you have IaaS.
PaaS (Platform as a Service)
Generally the most difficult to type of cloud service to describe in a simple way. PaaS refers to a hosted environment in which developers can build and launch new applications and if that hasn’t made your head explode then here is a simpler explanation.
The steak and ale cloud pie
Envisage a plate of delicious steak and ale pie. In this scenario the kitchen where you make your pie is your IaaS. It’s the foundations of your pie cloud world, fundamental to the creation of your pie and without it your pie wouldn’t exist. PaaS is your trusty copper pot. The tool you use to make your pie where ingredients and ideas are added, and a tasty application is created. SaaS is the end result, the hot bubbly steak and ale pie. It’s easy on the eye and ensures the kitchen and pots have a purpose.
With these three types of cloud service you can ensure that your pie cloud is “all gravy”. Right, time for lunch anyone?
Why is cloud computing getting such hype?
Largely because it is beginning to fulfil its potential. The amount of applications and uses for cloud computing are now of real benefit to businesses of all sizes. Never before has a new start-up company been able to work like a large scale organisation with only a bedroom office and a single laptop, particularly for such as low cost.
With UK unemployment in the situation it’s in many people at going self-employed and creating their own businesses. Thanks for cloud computing this option is now much more affordable and can scale with you as your business grows.
What are the benefits of cloud computing?
The key benefits are really attractive to businesses of all shapes and sizes. This is why the forecast for this market place is very promising.
- Reduced IT costs – Cloud computing allows companies to avoid the up-front costs of new hardware and refreshing that hardware. In its place is a predictable monthly/annual cost based on the resources used. You don’t need to worry about the real estate, electricity, cooling, and connectivity or security costs.
- So long tedious upgrades – None of us enjoy that little pop-up asking you to upgrade your software or finding out the firewall is on an outdated version. Cloud computing customers don’t need to worry about this as a responsible cloud provider ensures you always have the latest hardware.
- Scalable when you need it most – There are few things more frustrating as a business owner than seeing your website crawl to a halt at the crucial moment you needed it to be at peak performance, such as during a major marketing campaign. And as your business grows so too can your cloud computing solution as the majority of providers will offer packages that scale.
- My sites down, oh wait – Business continuity is of vital importance to all businesses. Downtime costs money and damages reputations. With Fasthosts cloud hosting if your hardware does fail the server fails over instantly to one that is performing. So your business continues operating without losing data.
- Keeping it green – Cloud computing and in particular cloud hosting, which is a product Fasthosts provides, really helps businesses reduce their carbon footprint. You no longer need to run a room of underutilised servers, which means less energy is consumed and you have a smaller carbon footprint.
So hopefully you now have a clearer understanding of cloud computing and how it may help your business. If you’ve any question on cloud computing then please leave a comment below or drop us a tweet @fasthosts. We also have a team of Technical Sales Consultants who are experts in helping businesses fit a cloud hosting solution to match their needs. They are available 9am-6pm on freephone 0808 1686 777.
1 A server is a lot like the tower of your desktop PC. The hardware within your tower stores all the important data, runs the software and is essentially the brain of your PC. A server does the same but is normally optimised to perform these tasks. It’s installed on an external data centre rather than on your premises.