Article reposted form HPC in the Cloud Online Magazine. Article originally posted on Nov. 29 2010:
For decision makers looking to maximize their impact on the business, cloud computing offers a myriad of benefits. At a time when cloud computing is still being defined, companies are actively researching how to take advantage of these new technology innovations for business automation, infrastructure reduction, and strategic utility based software solutions.
When leveraging “the cloud”, organizations can have on-demand access to a pool of computing resources that can instantly scale as demands change. This means IT — or even business users — can start new projects with minimal effort or interaction and only pay for the amount of IT resources they end up using.
The most basic division in cloud computing is between private and public clouds. Private clouds operate either within an organization’s DMZ or as managed compute resources operated for the client’s sole use by a third-party platform provider. Public clouds let multiple users segment resources from a collection of data-centers in order to satisfy their business needs. Resources readily available from the Cloud include:
● Software-as-a-Service (SaaS): Provides users with business applications run off-site by an application provider. Security patches, upgrades and performance enhancements are the application provider’s responsibility.
● Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS): Platform providers offer a development environment with tools to aide programmers in creating new or updated applications, without having to own the software or servers.
● Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS): Offers processing power, storage and bandwidth as utility services, similar to an electric utility model. The advantage is greater flexibility, scalability and interoperability with an organization’s legacy systems.
Many Platforms and Services to Choose From:
Cloud computing is still in its infancy, with a host of platform and application providers serving up a plethora of Internet-based services ranging from scalable on-demand applications to data storage services to spam filtering. In this current IT environment, organizations’ technology ecosystem have to operate cloud-based services individually, but cloud integration specialists and ISVs (integrated software vendors) are becoming more prevalent and readily available to build on top of the emerging and powerful platforms.
Mashing together services provided by the worlds largest and best funded companies like Microsoft, Google, Salesforce.com, Rackspace, Oracle, IBM, HP and many others, gives way to an opportunity for companies to take hold and innovate, and build a competitive, cost saving cloud of their own on the backs of these software giant’s evolving view of the cloud.
Cloud computing comes into focus only when you think about what IT always needs: a way to increase capacity or add capabilities on the fly without investing in new infrastructure, training new personnel, licensing and maintenance of new software. Cloud computing involves all subscription-centric or pay-for-what-you-use service that extends your IT environments existing capabilities.
Before deciding whether an application is destined for the cloud, analyze you current cost of ownership. Examine more than just the original licenses and cost of ownership; factor in ongoing expenses for maintenance, power, personnel and facilities. To start, many organizations build an internal private cloud for application development and testing, and decide from their if it is cost-effective to scale fully into a public cloud environment.
“Bridging the Whitespace” between Cloud Applications
One company, Nubifer.com (which in Latin, translates to ‘bringing the clouds’) approaches simplifying the move to the Cloud for its enterprise clients by leveraging a proprietary set of Cloud tools named Nubifer Cloud:Portal, Cloud:Connector and Cloud:Link. Nubifer’s approach with Cloud:Portal enables the rapid development of “enterprise cloud mash-ups”, providing rich dash-boards for authentication, single sign-on and identity management. This increased functionality offers simple administration of accounts spanning multiple SaaS systems, and the ability to augment and quickly integrate popular cloud applications. Cloud Connector seamlessly integrates data management, data sync services, and enables highly available data interchange between platforms and applications. And Cloud:Link provides rich dashboards for analytic and monitoring metrics improving system governance and audit trails of various SLAs (Service Level Agreements).
As a Cloud computing accelerator, Nubifer focuses on aiding enterprise companies in the adoption of emerging SaaS and PaaS platforms. Our recommended approach to an initial Cloud migration is to institute a “pilot program” tailored around your platform(s) of choice to in order to fully iron-out any integration issues that may arise prior to a complete roll-out.
Nubifer’s set of Cloud Tools can be hosted on Windows Azure, Amazon EC2 or Google AppEngine. The scalability offered by these Cloud platforms promote an increased level of interoperability, availability, and a significantly lower financial barrier for entry not historically seen with current on-prem application platforms.
Cloud computing’s many flavors of services and offerings can be daunting at first review, but if you take a close look at the top providers offerings, you will see an ever increasing road map for on-boarding your existing or new applications to “the cloud”. Taking the first step is easy, and companies like Nubifer that provide the platform services, and the partner networks to aid your goals, are resourced and very eager to support your efforts.