In this digitized era everything is run by computers. Nobody uses pen and paper to manage its inventory, invoices, customer base, expenses and so on. We now have finance departments running special applications, database servers, and email services and so on. The efficiency of a company depends on the availability of all these tools. An inefficient IT infrastructure can lead to financial losses but how can cloud computing help?
There are many benefits to switching over from an in-house infrastructure to cloud provided IT services.
1. Lower costs to maintain an IT infrastructure.
Cloud computing service providers invest a lot of money into hardware so that the client will not have to. This includes maintenance costs, staff, rack space and the severs themselves. Because they work with high numbers of hardware of high performance and capacity, they can host multiple applications on one server. For a small to medium sized business, such investments are not feasible.
2. Versatility and mobility.
Cloud hosted applications do not require a lot of hardware resources to be accessed by the users. Most of them can be run from an internet browser and in some cases even tablets are powerful enough to run these services. Additionally, the users can access them from almost anywhere and any type of device capable or running browser based applications such as email accounts, remote database management, data processing and so on.
This feature is not available if the it services are hosted in-house. If the current infrastructure needs to be upgraded, the entire process can take weeks if not more. Hardware needs to be deployed, configured and software to be installed. Also the databases need to be migrated to ensure continuity. Cloud services make data migration and upgrades much easier. The provider will deal with the upgrades and ensure that everything is running in optimal conditions.
4. What you use is what you pay for.
Sometimes, having an entire server running an application is a waste of financial resources when only 10 or 20 users need access to the resource hosted on it. For example, having a mail server can cost tens of thousands of dollars. Hosting the accounts on a cloud will prove to be much more cost effective since one mailbox slot can cost as low as $1 per month. The same rule applies for other resources such as database hosting. One cloud server can be used by multiple organizations and each of them will only pay for the resources utilized such as storage space, number of users and server load.
5. Data security and environmental stability.
Cloud data centers have complex infrastructures. They rely on a gateway to allow users to authenticate and pass-through to access their data. All the data stored gets backed up constantly and when server load reaches certain levels other servers pick up some of the tasks to balance the utilization. This ensures that all users have a smooth experience and they will not have to face poor performance issues due to high server loads. At the same time, data can be synchronized between multiple servers to ensure that when there is a hardware fault, another server can immediately pick up the workload and reduce downtime to zero.
All these advantages are standards included in almost any kind of cloud computing service. Taking IT operations from in-house to a cloud changes the infrastructure from a service to a utility. Cloud enables managers to control the resources required and pay a per seat usage. At the same time, the stability of such environments is difficult to match by classic infrastructures. The costs of having multiple servers handling tasks, balancing loads and sharing data to minimize downtime costs a lot of money that many small companies cannot afford to spend.
Cloud computing providers have dedicated all their resources to build powerful infrastructures that can be shared with multiple clients. All of them can benefit from this stable environment even when they share the same resources. This enables the providers to come up with affordable service plans that include cost control measures and services that can be easily upgraded at any given time at the request of the customer. When a business starts to grow and increases in size, creating new accounts is just a matter of clicks that can be done in a few minutes.
Victor writes on various topics related to law, business and tech. He is currently a web content writer for Ninefold, an Australian Linux VPS provider.