What is the Cloud and Cloud Computing?

The cloud is a global network of servers that functions as a single ecosystem. It is a term used to refer to accessing information technology (IT), computer and software applications by accessing data centres. It is carried out by using Internet connectivity or wide area networking (WAN).

In its most basic form, the cloud is just a bunch of computers/servers connected to the internet. The process of using servers hosted on the internet to manage, process and store data instead of local servers or personal computers is known as cloud computing.

How embracing cloud infrastructure help my Business?

Cost-effectiveness is the number one reason businesses are considering to move to a cloud server. Most business running a server will need to pay for the maintenance of the server along with the running cost (electricity etc). If you are running a server in the ‘cloud’ this can help reduce the cost as you will only pay for what you use.  On average, most businesses refresh their hardware every three years, this ensures they get optimum performance out of their servers and in turn get optimal performance in business processes.

If you are using a server in the cloud you do not need to worry about the ‘three-yearly’ outlay of cost as you will have optimum servers provisioned which can be updated on the go. You can simply store data of your organisation according to various cloud storage options. Many organisations have embraced cloud technology to such an extent that their entire setup is now based on cloud infrastructure.

Who are good cloud service providers?

There are many cloud providers in the market today, however, some of the bigger players that you will hear often are:

AWS (Amazon Web Services)- Launched in the year 2006 by Amazon, it was one of the first players in the market. Amazon has 16 data-centres all over the world which are known as regions.

Azure – Microsoft’s cloud offering, this was launched in 2010 so has not been around as long as AWS. Azure has by far the most regionsas they have the most data-centres around the world. They have around 30 regions, and this number is growing yearly.

GCP – This is Google’s cloud offering, the letters stand for Google Cloud Platform. Google is the newest players in the market having launched the service in 2012. GCP has around 10 regions to date but are rapidly increasing in numbers.

Terminology:

Region This is used by the big three companies to define where in the world the physical datacentre your machine is on is located in.

Zone Each region can have multiple zones or datacentres within one region. This pin-points exactly which data centre in any given region is being used.

Is the cloud infrastructure safe?

Many people still believe that cloud security is still a major concern. In reality, the cloud providers have fantastic security AZURE, AWS and GLP all have the best security audit passes.

There are however a few things each business can do to ensure security:

a. Make sure your implementation is secure.

b. Limit Public Ports.

c. Take advantage of VPN connectivity and ACLs.

d. Ensure your guest machines are encrypted.

How popular is the cloud?

In a poll recently done on one of SIOS’ webinars, we found that the majority of people (that attended the webinar) in 2017 have between 0-25% of servers running in the cloud. Although this seems like there has been a relatively low uptake of cloud, most businesses will select a few systems within the business to migrate into the cloud.

Can the cloud go down?

There are outages in the cloud! In March 2017, there was an outage with AWS in the east region where some of the lower end storage went down. This type of storage is mainly used to host websites etc. Again, in March 2017 there was an outage with Azure and GCP. Would your business survive an outage?

High Availability & Disaster Recovery in the cloud?

It is still very important to use HA/DR plans for cloud servers. We would highly recommend making sure you are spreading loads across different regions and maybe even across different providers. To reduce the type of outage described above there are options available, such as SIOS DataKeeper. SIOS DataKeeper allows you to create SANLess clusters across different regions/zones and occasionally different providers.

At Open Minds, we help organisations to reduce their downtime to increase productivity with the help of our various solutions like SIOS Protection Suite for Windows, SIOS Protection Suite for Linux, DataKeeper, SAP cluster software and more. To know more about cloud-related services simply call us on 0121 569 2503 and our team of experts will be available to help you.

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