Background and Definition

Cloud computing is Internet-based computing, whereby shared resources, software, and information are provided to computers and other devices on demand, like the electricity grid.

Cloud computing is a paradigm shift following the shift from mainframe to client–server in the early 1980s. Details are abstracted from the users, who no longer have need for expertise in, or control over, the technology infrastructure “in the cloud” that supports them. Cloud computing represents a new delivery model for IT services based on the Internet, and it typically involves over-the-Internet provision of dynamically scalable and often virtualized resources. It is a byproduct and consequence of the ease-of-access to remote computing sites provided by the Internet. This frequently takes the form of web-based tools or applications that users can access and use through a web browser as if it were a program installed locally on their own computer.

Most cloud computing infrastructures consist of services delivered through common centers and built on servers. Clouds often appear as single points of access for consumers’ computing needs. The major cloud service providers include Amazon and Google. Some of the larger IT firms that are actively involved in cloud computing are Microsoft, Hewlett Packard, and IBM.

Future of Technology (IT) Infrastructures

As infrastructures grow and become more and more expensive to manage, the idea of “cloud computing,” a concept that’s been around since the dawn of the computer age, makes more and more sense. In essence, cloud computing is the outsourcing of parts of your IT infrastructure. No longer do clients have to deal with upgrade cycles, downed hardware, out of disk space errors, performance hits due to old technology. With cloud computing, you can outsource your applications, your servers, even your desktops.

Virtual private server (VPS) is a term used by Internet hosting services to refer to a virtual machine for use exclusively by an individual customer of the service. The term is used to emphasize that the virtual machine, although running in software on the same physical computer as other customers’ virtual machines, is functionally equivalent to a separate physical computer, is dedicated to the individual customer’s needs, has the privacy of a separate physical computer, and can be configured to run as a server computer (i.e. to run server software). Each virtual server can run its own full-fledged operating system and can be independently rebooted.

The advantages of incorporating cloud-based computing and virtualization into your organization is compelling:

  • No more hardware lifecycles – Server upgrades are a thing of the past. If your server needs more memory, you go online and flip a virtual switch and your server has twice as much memory. Need more hard drive space. Same thing.
  • Backup and redundancy – Backup as we know it doesn’t exist in the virtual world. Since dozens of computers make up the backbone of 100s of virutalized computer servers, each computer backs up the other, for both data protection as well as failure redundancy.
  • Availability – If you’re traveling in Hong Kong, just login to your file server from your hotel and download those documents. Need something off your office desktop computer? No problem. With virtualization, your documents are wherever you are.

At Hawkins Consulting, we have experience with cloud computing and virtualization. These are not concepts or cutting edge computing, but they are the future of computing. Call us and let us know how we can help you ensure the future of your IT infrastructure and move you into the future NOW!