Cloud Computing: Defining The Cloud

This white paper by Jay Ethridge and Joe Jezior of Technology & Business Solutions (TBS) will help you understand what cloud computing is and what it can do for your company. It’s the second in a series of TBS whitepapers on cloud computing that will define the cloud and discuss its benefits, why companies of all sizes, including Google, Microsoft and the Federal Government, are embracing it, and how you can leverage this new technology at your firm.


Cloud Computing: Defining The Cloud

Cloud computing, simply defined, is any system run remotely through the Internet.  Technically, any such system can be considered a cloud—even one run out of your brother-in-law’s basement.  The “cloud” metaphor originates from the telephone infrastructure and symbolized how wired telephone networks were connected together.  Today, the same metaphor symbolizes how computer networks are connected through wireless clouds.

Cloud computing is steadily and inexorably revolutionizing the IT marketplace.  It is causing a fundamental shift in the role of IT, from an asset that companies own in the form of computers, software and related components to a service that they purchase from utility providers.  In fact, we’re witnessing the end of corporate computing.  As noted in a 2005 article by that title in the MIT Sloan Management Review, author Nicholas Carr wrote: “The traditional model’s economic foundation already is crumbling and is unlikely to survive in the long run.”

Private Cloud vs. Public Cloud

Some organizations have adopted “private” clouds that consolidate systems, but still keep files on their own dedicated file servers.  This is done out of concern about data security, corporate governance or reliability. Since these systems are dedicated to a specific client, they cost the same—if not more—than internally run systems.  The problem with private clouds is that users still have to buy, build and manage them, and therefore do not benefit from lower up-front capital costs and reduced hands-on management.  Thus, private clouds do not provide the economic model that makes cloud computing such an intriguing concept.

In addition, private clouds aren’t really clouds in the truest sense of the term.  Instead, it is more accurate to define them as hosted stand-alone software delivered over the Internet.  They don’t provide the benefit of scalability afforded by shared software, such as that provided by TBS.   

“Public” clouds, in contrast, exemplify true cloud computing in the best sense.  Resources are furnished on a self-service basis over the Internet, via web applications or web services, from an off-site third party provider who shares resources and costs.

Public Enterprise Clouds

Enterprise-level public clouds offer multiple advantages. Public cloud computing from TBS provides a level of security and stability typically seen only at Fortune 500 companies, for any size company on a scalable, affordable basis.  You simply pay for what you use.  In addition, location becomes irrelevant.  Employees of a firm using cloud computing can access critical information anytime, anywhere, via the Internet.  Online access is available using secured access; encrypted data transmission; and secured facilities.

Public enterprise clouds are where the market is going, and represent a true paradigm shift in the industry.  At TBS, we’re convinced that this is the right approach for clients, so our firm delivers a public cloud and provides applications as platforms.  As part of this arrangement, we provide ongoing upgrades and improvements to the client’s system.  Costs are shared, because the environment and security model are shared.

Customers and prospects look at the private cloud and wonder what major benefit it will confer upon their company.  In contrast, when they look at the enterprise cloud, they immediately see its value.  Just look at what analysts are saying about the following companies that are moving to enterprise clouds: Microsoft, Salesforce and Google.  Thanks to economies of scale, the service is designed to securely support thousands of users across the globe, yet is available on a consumption basis (per drink) to any size client.  

TBS can successfully help you craft an enterprise cloud model tailored to your needs, so your organization can move into cloud computing and benefit from this revolutionary shift that is transforming the IT industry.

And, stay tuned to this white paper series. In the coming months we’ll explore these important cloud computing topics:

To craft an enterprise cloud model tailored to your organization's needs, contact TBS or call 703.444.6562.