“The cloud” has become a popular buzzword used in business and technology circles.
The cloud refers to a pool of shared resources that enables scalability, elasticity, and high-value computing power available from multiple locations and devices. The cloud enables you to do more virtually by storing and transferring your information from a server to an environment that is accessible wherever there is an internet connection.
Techies and non-techies alike understand cloud computing is here to stay because it helps businesses work more efficiently than before.
But, true cloud service means more than access to your files from anywhere at any time, especially in business cloud computing. Not all so-called cloud providers offer the level of service that makes the cloud valuable. Understanding the cloud service and its functions will help you decide which cloud solution is right for your business.
4 things a true cloud provider must offer:
1. Scalability - services that meet your growing workload
Scalability is a cloud provider’s ability to adequately handle your current cloud resources and increase capacity as your workload grows.
The cloud provider should be able to predict your company’s demand. A scalable cloud provider will calculate how many resources are needed to meet your current demand and offer an expansion of services without significant costs or downtime to achieve the needed growth.
2. Elasticity - services that adjust for your business’ demand
Elasticity means a cloud provider has predictable ways to adjust your resources in real-time.
Elasticity ensures the platform can monitor real-time demand and ensure its virtual tools accommodate for changes. This way, the service you pay for will never have wasted resources or lack the resources you need.
3. Resource pooling - maximizing capabilities and minimizing cost
Cloud servers pool together resources and share them among a group of users. This gives users the advantage of a high-functioning server or application without the high costs associated with hardware because it’s on the cloud. Some of these resources include:
- CPU - the speed at which programs can be run in the cloud
- Memory - the amount of temporary and cached storage that cloud programs can access
- Bandwidth - the size of the pipe connecting the cloud to the rest of the Internet, and the speed at which data can flow through that pipe. Sometimes this can refer to the amount of data that can be transferred in a specific time period.
- Power - the electricity required to run servers in the cloud, because at the end of the day, the cloud is someone else's hardware running somewhere you'll never see.
- Cooling resources - heat is a waste product of computing, so a cloud computing provider will find ways to reduce or remove it.
- Storage - the amount of disk space available to your cloud environment
4. Redundancy - backing up primary resources in case they fail
You can’t trust a provider with your company data if they don’t have a backup server or a backup power source to mitigate outages or data loss. Redundant network components make your cloud service more reliable by backing up your primary resources. Examples of redundant server resources include:
- Cooling fans
- Hard disk drives
- Support hours
Pegasus has seen cases where supposed “cloud providers” are nothing more than a single person on a computer with an internet source. In worse cases, they’ve operated out of a basement with no reserve power or backup generator.
Reconsider what the cloud should do for your business
If your business has applications on the cloud, make sure that they meet the standards of what a true cloud provider offers. The cloud has the capability of being more than a server for your files. It can help you save money and improve performance if implemented correctly.
Look at the cloud solutions your business uses. Ask yourself if you are receiving the full benefits the cloud can offer. If you have questions, ask your IT solutions provider what recommendations they can provide.