As the cloud is still a relatively new form of technology there are still a number of myths and misleading beliefs surrounding it. Many individuals and businesses will resist implementing cloud services because they firmly believe that many myths about the cloud are true. As a result many businesses may be missing out on improving their infrastructure because they have not looked more closely at what the cloud can offer them. Taking a little time to find out more about the various ways you can use the cloud in your business can give you a number of opportunities to improve your current set up.
There are a number of myths surrounding the cloud. One of the most commonly used adages is that the cloud will not last, that it is only a passing trend. This, however, is looking less and less true. The cloud has a wide range of extremely valuable uses for both individuals and businesses. The fact that internet giants Amazon and Google both use the cloud only serves to demonstrate how it has become a hugely influential area of technology. Cloud services are now even included on a number of mobile phones. Even video-game companies have started to integrate cloud services into new gaming technology. Though the cloud is a relatively new concept, it is likely to become a cornerstone technology.
This is another myth about the cloud that often very off-putting to prospective users. In recent years it has become increasingly important to keep your data and your online presence secure. Off-hand comments and unsupported opinions about the cloud have somehow led to the idea that the cloud is not a secure place for your data. This is not the case. As with any form of hosting or computing, it is only as secure as you and your provider make it. You need to work together with your provider to make sure your services are as secure as they can be. The cloud is no more or less secure than any other similar form of technology. Many users may worry about the security of using a public cloud, but if you have chosen a provider that offers a good system of security and a thought out design this should not be a problem. If you are still concerned about security levels, a hybrid option that utilises both a public cloud structure and a private cloud structure may be a useful idea.
This particular myth about the cloud is partly true. Moving your applications and hosting needs to the cloud can reduce your company’s carbon footprint to a certain point. Moving to the cloud can mean that you no longer need to have in-house servers which can save the company energy and money. However, the overall ‘greenness’ of the cloud depends on where the cloud is based. If the data centre that houses the cloud is in a country or area that uses renewable resources, then moving to the cloud is likely to be a ‘greener’ choice. However, if the data centre is in an area that is using energy produced from coal or un-renewable resources, then the improved overall ‘greenness’ will be negligible.
Many people may shy away from moving some of their applications and services to the cloud because they believe that it may be too complex. This is another misleading belief about the cloud. Cloud providers want to find more business, so in the majority of cases they will try to make the process as easy as possible. Many offer different levels of complexity depending on the customers’ needs. Lower levels will often involve only simple changes to your existing architecture, while higher levels may offer more in terms of usage and control but will involve more advanced knowledge and changes. Through doing a little research you can find a provider that will offer Infrastructure as a Service at the level you require.
As with security, using the cloud should be a collaborative effort between the user and the provider. You cannot expect that once you relocate to the cloud you no longer have to think about anything. Many cloud providers will not be responsible for setting up back-ups or organising contingency servers. In most cases you will be responsible for manually setting up automated backups and ensuring that there are contingency servers available to you. This may be something of a change for users who had previously had managed hosting plans. Cloud computing and hosting is a straightforward system but you will have a certain amount of responsibility to make sure it is running as it should.
Many people have become used to seeing promises of 100% uptime and think that is what they will get. However, in the majority of cases this does not happen. Technology is fallible and there is no guarantee that it will be online 100% of the time. The cloud is no exception. It is however, designed to accommodate very high levels of availability and redundancy. These levels may be achievable on a dedicated hosting plan but with cloud hosting it is a much more cost effective option. The cloud can achieve very high levels of uptime at a more affordable rate due to economies of scale. The cloud can be very reliable but take claims of 100% uptime with a pinch of salt.
© Izzy Evans 2012
If you would like to find out more about using the cloud and IaaS then you can visit Infrastructure as a Service.
This article is copyright
Images supplied and available to download from Dreamstime.com