by: Chris Knotts, PMP – ASPE Creative Director
Despite skyrocketing use of cloud-based services and systems, a lot of people in the business world still don’t quite understand what the “cloud” is. But there’s no excuse to go another day without educating yourself! Let us help with these three brief but informative (and free) white papers.
Cloud computing is a term that has become almost universally used over the past few years. But is there an “emperor’s new clothes” element at play here, in which nobody wants to admit that they just don’t quite know what cloud computing really is, exactly?
Now, I know that plenty of people in the tech space (especially IT pros and tech-savvy management) are perfectly familiar with the state of the cloud. But you don’t have to have many conversations among the larger business world to understand that in fact there’s a lot of ambiguity and misunderstanding among the general public about cloud computing. Is the so-called “cloud” really something big and new – a total paradigm shift – as all the hype would seem to indicate? Or is it really just hype; a new way to describe traditional IT services that are being packaged and marketed in a new way?
The reality is that there’s a lot of truth to both angles. So today’s white papers are about cloud education at its basic level…call it cloud computing for the rest of us. Those of you who have been working in IT for decades and pay attention to technology religiously can probably tune out now. But for everyone else: the cloud is a concept that’s much too important to be unsure any longer about what it means. So let us help with the following three brief but informative white papers which will de-mystify cloud computing for regular folks.
White paper #1: Cloud Computing: What It Is and What It Can Do for You
The “cloud” is a great marketing term, derived from many years of network design diagrams that used a picture of a cloud to represent what was generally understood to be the public internet, or at least some portion of the network that was beyond the reach and control of the network designers. An image of a “cloud” made sense because it was part of the network equation that was – like the weather – a nebulous outside ingredient, unable to be directly managed, but often still providing critical functions to the overall system design.
But beyond that origin of the term, definitions rapidly begin to diverge and get fuzzy. There are different meanings for different people. This disparity, combined with fast and loose language by marketers and companies with something to sell, has led to the current state of confusion when discussing the cloud. Our first white paper discusses the following:
- The origin of what we call “cloud computing”
- Different meanings for different people: simple vs. complex definitions
- The two types of “clouds”–public (external) cloud and private (internal) cloud
- The beauty of the cloud: “pay-as-you-go” services, quick scalability, and reduced system risk
- The evolution of the cloud: where we are and where we’re going
- Using cloud computing in your own organization
White paper #2: The Cloud: Promises and Realities
While it’s true that cloud computing offers new levels of capability across the business spectrum, the ideal characteristics that users hope the cloud will deliver are a constant work-in-progress. Current economic circumstances continue to drive the demand for a more effective model of delivering applications and computing services. Yet while the technology evolves, users are encountering a range of cloud experiences, both positive and negative. As a result, a number of users and organizations still question the reality of what the cloud can deliver.
This white paper explores some of the early drivers of cloud services and how they have influenced current expectations. We’ll look at how different technologies have helped create those promises—some that have been realized, and others that haven’t. Finally, we’ll learn about the current realities of cloud computing as they relate to data control, performance, security, and ROI. We cover:
- What is the cloud: a review
- The big questions facing cloud computing. How will it evolve? What does full-scale adoption mean? Can it meet the increasing complexity of the business-service model? How will it transform markets and industries as it develops?
- The promises of the cloud: Cost savings, software development, computing power, automation, infrastructure simplification, and multi-tenancy
- The realities of the cloud: Security, fail-safe reliability, integration factors, and first adopter costs
- Further reading
White paper #3: Understanding Data Centers and Cloud Computing
Competitive business environments are putting pressure on IT managers to accomplish more each year with reduced budgets. With the need for flexibility, competitive edge, and faster time to market, IT organizations must find new solutions that are more efficient and more cost-effective than their past or current solutions.
The original data center started as a private server room hosted within the organization’s facility containing many individual servers running single applications. In the early days of data centers, most organizations were responsible for maintaining the servers and software, and required a number of personnel resources to manage the servers as well as the facility. While some larger organizations continue to manage internal data center, many business managers are able to increase service levels, cover more users, and lower response times by outsourcing their out-dated server farms to third-party data centers and cloud computing providers. These third-party data center providers are better equipped to maintain and update server equipment.
- This white paper will define data centers and explore cloud networking, as well as providing links to additional sources for more in-depth further reading.
We are one of the nation’s premier providers of real-world technical training and advanced professional skills. Our IT division focuses on cloud collaboration and practical tools that allow your organization to cut costs and boost project successes using Microsoft SharePoint, backend server support, Microsoft Project, and ITIL best practices. To view more white papers and free offers from ASPE-IT, please click here. This resource series is offered in partnership with Global Knowledge