The Versatile Cloud

July 22, 2015
versatile cloud

Cloud can be so many things to so many people. I have direct deposit. I don't know what bank my money is actually in, but it is always available to me no matter where I am. I just have to go into the cloud to get it through an ATM or a merchant or even online. Heck, even my paycheck is in the cloud!

I have been drawing clouds in Visio diagrams for years. We draw a cloud to represent the WAN, LAN, PSTN, Internet and many other areas of a network topology. So what kinds of cloud solutions are out there and how might they help your organization?

  • Servers: The rule of thumb is every new CPU created is twice as fast as the one created 18 months ago. It's hard to keep buying servers. That is a value-add for cloud computing.
  • Virtual Servers: They can be increased or decreased in real time and are sold by the CPU core, amount of RAM and hard drive space. They are in a shared pool environment.
  • Physical Servers: They are not as dynamic to change, but you are guaranteed you're on a private section of compute, which satisfies many compliance needs for customers.
  • Backup: I include this with servers because you are basically renting hard drive space off-site to store data. It can be as simple as that or much more complicated with data replication in multiple locations, caching to speed up services, etc.
  • Voice: Telephones have been relied upon, regulated and purchased for a century. We rely on them if we need an ambulance. They are essential to producing revenue. They keep us in touch with the ones we love. They are an essential part of our lives. There are many other voice variations, such as mobile integration, outlook integration and others.
    • Hosted Phones: Pay per seat and get a phone on your desk that has the same features as an expensive PBX.
    • Voice over IP: It has remote users going into the Internet with virtual phones to connect into your enterprise phone service. This is perfect for home users.
    • Hosted PBX: Get access to an expensive phone server managed by someone else in a secure location, such as a data center, that you connect to from your existing network.
  • Applications: Enterprises have spent millions on hardware, consultants and programmers just to get applications running. Then they spend millions more to keep them running. Companies are looking to get away from that spend with a predictable monthly spend that is guaranteed to keep the applications up and running.
    • Hosted Exchange: Taking the management of email off an IT manager's plate can be a dream come true. Many carriers are offering email boxes by the seat and managing the Exchange server in a secure location for their clients.
    • Virtual Desktop: Enabling a CEO to access everything from his Windows PC on his iPad is in high demand. Rolling out and managing a virtual desktop environment is a hot topic most marketing executives and finance executives have interest in.
    • Other Applications: Many vendors offer other applications to manage Oracle, SQL and even QuickBooks. It's off-site, patched, updated and can be another headache removed from the IT manager's workload.

Cloud can be so many things to so many people. So what kinds of cloud solutions are out there and how might they help your organization?

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