What is Cloud Computing?
Cloud computing is a mis-used or over-used term in the industry today. Cloud Computing by definition is any scenario in which there are a large number of computers connected over some sort of communication network. In today's marketing-world, Cloud Computing has become synonymous with services such as SaaS (software as a service), PaaS (platform as a service), and IaaS (Infrastructure as a service). These offerings all have one thing in common: access to the resources that are easily obtained through a small mobile client or web browser and the system resides in someone else's data center.
Some of the larger players in each of the *aaS spaces:
SaaS - Internet based delivery of software - iCloud, Evernote, Office 365, Salesforce
IaaS- Compute power (most commonly virtual servers and storage) for on-demand usage - Amazon EC2, Rackspace, Google, Softlayer, Microsoft Azure, HP Cloud
PaaS - Platform delivered includes OS, development engine, web server and database - AWS Elastic Beanstalk, Cloud Foundary, Force.com, Apprenda, IBM, VCE, OpenShift
What Is the Difference Between Traditional Hosting and the Cloud Models?
Traditional hosting is different than Cloud models in that hosting is typically an agreement with a service provider to house and maintain a server in a remote data center. Typically in a hosting model, you as the customer are required to purchase the hardware, network services, and support. Upgrades and maintenance are separate expenses due to the fact that you own the infrastructure from end to end.
Cloud services are typically built on the subscription model with monthly payment for services. There are no additional costs over and above the subscription.
So Why Would I Use A Cloud-Based Service?
There are a number of benefits that directly impact the small and mid-sized business:
In our estimation, this is one of the most important benefits to small and mid-sized businesses (SMB). The SMB market regularly has on the top of its "Technology Challenges" list the fact that their technology is out of date. A great example of this is Windows XP in the desktop environment. Windows XP is 10 years old now. There have been three subsequent operating systems released by Microsoft, yet many companies still rely on Windows XP. The main reason for this is that they know it works and there is no additional testing required. However, the difference in a Cloud environment is that the provider is regularly performing upgrades and updates, keeping the technology current for the consumer rather than requiring step change every couple of years. An example of this is the release of Microsoft Exchange in the email hosting environment. The provider performs all the migration from E2010 to E2013, enabling new features and functionality to the consumer for no addition cost.
Multi-tenancy or economies of scale is also an important benefit to Cloud computing. This is the capability of having multiple businesses on servers without allowing the data between businesses to be co-mingled. This significantly increases the ability to scale these Cloud Computing environments at a much lower cost to you.
Speed to market also allows for your business to bring on additional capacity or computing power in seconds rather than weeks. Simply from the click of a button, you can have new or additional service provisioned.
With Cloud services, there are no sunk hardware costs to battle and make IT services more "sticky" with a high barrier to change. Since there are no start-up costs, moving to different services can be easier and more attractive, thus increasing competition. Since there is no hardware purchase, much of the IT expense can be moved from the CAPEX side of the ledger to the OPEX side.
Finally, it is not often that small and mid-sized business can buy into services that are housed in premium data centers with real-time failover, monitored cooling and backup generators at such a low price.
Monument Technology Group Cloud Services Offerings - Monument TotalCare Platinum
Here at Monument Technology Group, we have four main categories of cloud offerings:
DaaS - Desktop as a Service - We have developed a fully integrated virtual desktop that can be delivered to any web browser on any PC. The Monument Desktop 1.0 is fully integrated with file storage solutions (SharePoint), hosted email, Microsoft Office 365, QuickBooks, and any of your CRM applications. Additional applications can be easily integrated. Monument Desktop 2.0 is targeted for release in the Spring of 2014 and will include much deeper integrations into the mobile and tablet platforms.
Email - We have email hosting relationships with both Microsoft and Intermedia. Email services include mobile device management and IM integration (Lync). All partner disaster recovery plans are reviewed annually.
BaaS - Backup as a Service - Offsite and security backup services from Iron Mountain and Barracuda Networks for all desktops and local file storage.
IaaS - Infrastructure as a Service - We have partnered with JungleDisk (Rackspace) and AmazonCloud for file storage and Microsoft Azure and Intermedia for virtual servers and on-demand compute cycles.
SaaS - Software as a Service - Microsoft Office 365 and various CRM integrations.