Technology

What will you find in the cloud?

April 18, 2014
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What will you find in the cloud?
Cloud-based infrastructure allows users to remotely access data. Photo via fb.com

Many small- to medium-size businesses use a traditional local client-server infrastructure, but they could show significant advantages by employing cloud technologies.

Local technology

A local client-server structure can be summarized in the following way.

Centralized services. All servers and critical infrastructure are contained in house. This traditionally means a lot of hardware in the office. There are servers, phone systems, UPSes and the comprehensive infrastructure to support your important business functions.

Fixed assets. Upgrades to this infrastructure are done as needed or on a schedule and require a significant cost and services effort. Mission-critical servers and applications are limited by the need for the hardware itself. If the hardware fails or needs to be upgraded, there is a cost for new hardware, applications and licensing.

Data access. A user’s PC is in the office. If the user leaves the office, they must connect back to it to continue working or access refreshed data. This shared environment provides traffic flow for communications, file sharing, printing and applications. The traditional model limits operations to an office. If the office becomes unavailable, such as common power outages and Internet outages, all users are impacted and the business suffers.

Cloud technology

We can show improvements and benefits if we compare the above structure to a cloud-enabled setup. Here’s what the same structure would look like in a cloud-enabled environment.

Centralized services. Cloud-based services allow for less critical office infrastructure in the actual office. Hardware and their associated costs to backup and maintain are off loaded away from the company. The results are fewer problems and a flattened, more predictable total cost of ownership.

Fixed assets. Cloud services are not limited by a company’s assets, as they are redundant and scale up or down on demand. The hardware and software capabilities will fit the size your company needs at the time you need it. With this approach, business resources are not wasted paying for future capacity before you even know your future needs. You also save cash over time on system upgrades, time and license costs, which do not affect the cloud.

Data access. Cloud technologies ensure that there is no single point of failure for your business, because no single building needs to ensure connectivity to all employees. With this decentralized approach comes more flexibility for your users. Users and admins can access company resources remotely, from any location, with a variety of devices. 

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