What is the cloud?
The cloud is one of the main buzzwords of this era of computing and one of the most confusing. Almost every provider has developed their own definition of what the cloud means. The meaning of the cloud varies depending on the services being offered and the needs of the consumer. In our opinion there are two different clouds which in some cases may both be used together.
The software cloud
This is the cloud that most people are aware of and interact with on a regular basis. This cloud refers to hosting software as a service on remote servers and accessed over the internet. Examples of this are Google's email and document services and providers such as facebook and twitter. These are all software applications that are delivered as services via the internet. This reduces the need for installing software on the users computers and allows the user to move from device to device maintaining full access to their service.
The hardware cloud
This is the more technical cloud definition which is not usually of interest to ordinary users. In the hardware cloud a provider allows the creation of virtual servers which can be rapidly adapted to suit current needs. This allows technical departments to increase or decrease the power of servers based on current demands. This can have large cost savings compared to purchasing physical hardware that could meet the peak demand needs and would be under utilised the rest of the time. This also allows for the ability to handle sudden and unexpected levels of demand and reduces guesswork when planning the requirements for a new application.
Private versus Public clouds
A public cloud is a cloud service typically shared by many businesses. A private cloud is operated by a single business for their own needs.
A public cloud service generally allows lower startup costs and faster scalability. A private cloud requires greater investment to establish but provides an extra level of security and data protection.
The choice of public or private depends on the needs of the business and the need for data security.