Cloud computing is a big shift from the traditional way businesses think about IT resources. However, cloud computing is an ever-evolving piece of technology that more and more businesses are adopting and implementing. It has proven itself to be a beneficial tool for many reasons, but what exactly are these reasons?
What is Cloud Computing?
Simply put, cloud computing is the delivery of computing services—servers, storage, databases, networking, software, analytics, etc.—over the Internet ("the cloud"). Companies offering these computing services are called cloud providers and they typically charge for cloud computing services based on usage, similar to how you would get billed for water or electricity in a home.
Cloud Computing services all work a little differently, depending on the provider. However many provide a friendly, browser-based dashboard that makes it easier for IT professionals and developers to order resources and manage their accounts. The first makeup of these services are barely a decade old, but already a number of organizations are embracing the technology; tiny startups to global corporations, government agencies to non-profits, just to name a few.
What Are the Business Benefits of Cloud Computing?
Why is cloud computing so popular? Here are 6 common reasons organizations are turning to cloud computing services:
- Cost - Cloud computing eliminates the capital expense of buying hardware and software and setting up and running on-site data centers racks of servers, the round-the-clock electricity for power and cooling, the IT experts for managing the infrastructure. It adds up fast.
- Speed - Most cloud computing services are provided self service and on demand, so even vast amounts of computing resources can be provisioned in minutes, typically with just a few mouse clicks, giving businesses a lot of flexibility and taking the pressure off capacity planning.
- Global Scale - The benefits of cloud computing services include the ability to scale elastically. In cloud speak, that means delivering the right amount of IT resources—for example, more or less computing power, storage, bandwidth—right when its needed, and from the right geographic location.
- Productivity - On-site data centers typically require a lot of “racking and stacking”—hardware set up, software patching, and other time-consuming IT management chores. Cloud computing removes the need for many of these tasks, so IT teams can spend time on achieving more important business goals.
- Performance - The biggest cloud computing services run on a worldwide network of secure data centers, which are regularly upgraded to the latest generation of fast and efficient computing hardware. This offers several benefits over a single corporate data center, including reduced network latency for applications and greater economies of scale.
- Reliability - Cloud computing makes data backup, disaster recovery, and business continuity easier and less expensive, because data can be mirrored at multiple redundant sites on the cloud provider’s network.
Moving IT functions to the cloud makes a lot of sense, for a lot of businesses. However, it's important for them to consider how cloud computing has and continues to change the face of corporate IT.
- As companies switch to cloud-hosted services, these maintenance, repair, and upgrade services will be provided by the provider, which will free up these support personnel to work on other important company projects.
- It will create an increased demand for cloud specialized consultants, developers, and architects to meet the growing markets immediate and specialized needs.
- It will drive a switch in emphasis from support to innovation, as companies require new and better cloud-hosted applications to support their business needs.
What Are the Major Types of Cloud Services?
Most cloud computing services fall into three broad categories: Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS), and Software as a Service (SaaS). These are sometimes called the cloud computing stack, because they build on top of one another.
1. Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS)
The most basic category of cloud computing services. With IaaS, businesses rent IT infrastructure—servers and virtual machines (VMs), storage, networks, operating systems—from a cloud provider on a pay-as-you-go basis.
2. Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS)
Platform-as-a-service (PaaS) refers to cloud computing services that supply an on-demand environment for developing, testing, delivering, and managing software applications. PaaS is designed to make it easier for developers to quickly create web or mobile apps, without worrying about setting up or managing the underlying infrastructure of servers, storage, network, and databases needed for development.
3. Software-as-a-Service (SaaS)
Software-as-a-service (SaaS) is a method for delivering software applications over the Internet, on demand and typically on a subscription basis. With SaaS, cloud providers host and manage the software application and underlying infrastructure, and handle any maintenance, like software upgrades and security patching. Users connect to the application over the Internet, usually with a web browser on their phone, tablet, or PC.
What are the Major Types of Cloud Deployments?
Public clouds are owned and operated by a third-party cloud service provider, which deliver their computing resources like servers and storage over the Internet. Microsoft Azure is an example of a public cloud. With a public cloud, all hardware, software, and other supporting infrastructure is owned and managed by the cloud provider. You access these services and manage your account using a web browser.
A private cloud refers to cloud computing resources used exclusively by a single business or organization. A private cloud can be physically located on the company’s on-site data center. Some companies also pay third-party service providers to host their private cloud. A private cloud is one in which the services and infrastructure are maintained on a private network.
Hybrid clouds combine public and private clouds, bound together by technology that allows data and applications to be shared between them. By allowing data and applications to move between private and public clouds, hybrid cloud gives businesses greater flexibility and more deployment options.
Is There a Cloud Computing Skills Gap? (Take a Look at the Stats Below)
- A 2016 survey by Gartner found that 59% of IT professionals thought their organizations were not prepared for the necessary changes to bring about a digital business approach.
- According to Forbes, in the U.S. alone there are 3.9 million Cloud-related jobs. The median advertised salary in 2016 for cloud computing professionals is $124,300.
- In 2016, the U.S. Department of Labor stated that Cloud Computing had the highest growth, making it a promising field.
- Goldman Sachs found in a study that Cloud Computing is one of the top three initiatives planned by IT Executives.
- Forrester Research anticipates that the global Cloud Computing market will grow from $40.7 billion in 2011 to $241 billion in 2020.
- IDC predicts that by 2018, more than 60% of enterprises will have at least half of their infrastructure on Cloud-based platforms.
- According to RightScale’s 2016 State of the Cloud Survey, lack of resources and expertise is now the #1 cloud challenge (cited by 32%).
- Forbes has found that Linux, Java and Virtualization expertise are the three most in-demand skills for cloud computing professionals in 2016.
What Areas of Cloud Computing Does New Horizons Offer Training?
Amazon Web Services (AWS)
Amazon Web Services (AWS) is a platform that allows an organization to run everything they need in the cloud. This comprehensive set of infrastructure and application services gives you the power to run enterprise applications for your business, complete large-scale data projects, create and launch games, and develop mobile apps.
CompTIA (Computing Technology Industry Association) is one of the top non-profit trade associations, and issues vendor-neutral professional certifications for the IT industry. CompTIA offers two certifications around Cloud Computing: CompTIA Cloud Essentials and CompTIA Cloud+.
Microsoft Azure (formerly Windows Azure) is a cloud computing service created by Microsoft for building, testing, deploying, and managing applications and services through a global network of Microsoft-managed data centers.
NCTA (Nation Cloud Technologists Association)
The National Cloud Technologists Association (NCTA) was created in 2012 with the intent to provide vendor-agnostic cloud technology training for IT professionals within all levels of an organization.
Cloud technology is pervasive and is woven into many computer platforms and solutions. Office 365 is a cloud based software suite. System Center from Microsoft is used to created private clouds for organizations. VMware and Citrix also offer cloud optimized products such as vRealize and NetScaler.
The biggest way that cloud computing can easily be implemented into your business is through training and certifying staff. Working to make sure how cloud computing has and continues to change the face of corporate IT is what training partners like New Horizons are for. We work with businesses to assure that an organization's Cloud strategy will be at the forefront of industry best-practices. It's equally important to upgrade your evolving Cloud solutions as getting the training to upgrade the skills of those people responsible for deploying and maintaining the technology.