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What Does 'Cloud Computing' Actually Mean?

Posted 18 February 2013 by Anthony Green

If you haven’t heard the term “Cloud Computing” several hundred times over in the last couple of years, I have to ask… where have you been? The term has become ubiquitous, but what does it actually mean?

First things first, Cloud Computing isn’t just a marketing term, nor is it the same as virtualisation. It’s true to say that virtualisation plays a significant part, allowing applications to be abstracted from their underlying hardware. But Cloud is about more than this; it’s a service, delivery, and consumption model that delivers far more than virtualisation alone can.

Cloud Platforms typically offer a number of advantages over on-premise deployments:

  • Flexibility: Resource can be provisioned on demand, and can be scaled up or down as necessary, in contrast to on-premise deployments where additional hardware investment is often required (or wasted) as needs change.
  • Practicality: Costs associated with Cloud Services are typically Pay-as-you-Go, facilitating predictable, Opex based costs.
  • Security: Ordinarily deployed within purpose-built datacentre facilities, affording high levels of redundancy and uptime. Additionally, stringent security controls are typically in place to ensure protection of customer data.

So what does this mean for organisations today? Undeniably, some IT Departments and IT Professionals see Cloud as a threat (I’d be lying if I didn’t include myself as a former member of this category as “Cloud” began to evolve just a few years ago!), but I’d argue equally that it’s an opportunity - one which will take on a different form for each business. A decision to “move to the Cloud” is one that we recognise you won’t (and shouldn’t!) take lightly, but is one that we feel we can offer sound and comprehensive advice on having been involved with numerous Cloud transition projects for our customers.

Understanding how Cloud technology can complement your business and add benefit is key. Migrating to a 100% Cloud based infrastructure, whilst viable and attractive to some, isn’t necessarily the “right” approach for everyone. What’s clear however, is that Cloud computing is here to stay and with high-bandwidth connections becoming increasingly affordable, leveraging Cloud Services & Infrastructure is on the increase.

Increased availability, enhanced options for Disaster Recovery, Online Backup, and significant reductions in Capital expenditure are all achievable and very tangible benefits of Cloud implementations that we’ve been involved with. Far from being a “threat” to traditional IT, I’ve seen Cloud evolve to a point where it adds significant value to day to day IT Operations, acting as an enabler for organisations who want to more broadly embrace IT in support of business activity.

The Cloud isn’t something to be afraid of, and isn’t going to disappear any time soon… so why not embrace it, as well as some of the many benefits of which we’ve first-hand experience. For further information on Blue Chip's Cloud Services, please contact us.

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