Finding opportunity in the cloud

Cloud computing

The Cloud.

Even for an industry rife with hyperbole and marketing abuses, “The Cloud” stands out as one of the most inflated and misunderstood concepts in technology. Unfortunately, this misinformation leads to businesses making poor decisions about how, when, and why to implement cloud computing. In this series of blog posts, we’ll help to clarify what the cloud is -and is not.

This series of posts is a primer for business leaders. We won’t get buried in the technical minutiae. Instead, we’ll focus on giving you the information you need to make the right decisions for your business.

First of all – what is the cloud?
Quite simply, the cloud is on-demand, pay-for-consumption computing resources accessible over the internet. This definition contains some key concepts, so we’ll look at them in greater detail.

On-demand: Cloud services are available when you need them, and you turn them off when you don’t. This on-demand feature is key to making cloud services cost effective. With computing resources you purchase, like servers and laptops, you pay for them whether you use them or not. With cloud services, you only have to pay when you turn them on.

Pay-for-consumption: Most cloud services are metered, like your electricity. You don’t have to pay for the entire power plant, just the electricity you use. Most cloud services are billed based on what you use, so you don’t have to pay for the cost of a high-end server, just for the computing resources you use.

Computing Resources: This one is self-explanatory. Cloud services are delivering computing resources like storage space, processing power, and internet bandwidth. You could consider hardware and the physical space required to house the hardware as cloud services, but that is splitting hairs.

Example: The office communication platform Slack is accessible via the internet. You pay for the number of users using the software (as opposed to paying for the cost of the servers and memory required to run the software). And you can turn your subscription to Slack on or off immediately with no ramp-up costs.

For the next post in this series, we’ll take a look at the types of cloud services with some examples and businesses cases.