What is the Cloud?

In basic terms, the cloud is the Internet, but more specifically, it is all the things you can access remotely over the Internet. When something is stored in the cloud, it simply means it is stored on Internet servers instead of your computer’s local hard drive or a local server. Made up of servers in data centers spanning the world over, the cloud provides more than just convenience for users; it can save companies money as well. With cloud computing, users and companies no longer have to manage their own physical servers or run software applications on them. However, your mileage may vary, as not all applications and  

Since computing and storage occur on servers in data centers, with the cloud, users can access files and applications from just about any device.  When your old phone breaks and you buy a new one, the cloud allows you the ability to log into your old Instagram account to find all of your photos, videos, and conversations still available. Similarly, you can check your Gmail or Microsoft Office 365 email account from just about any device because of cloud storage. 

Transitioning to cloud computing offers many advantages for businesses, such as eliminating some IT costs and overheads, along with the labor required to update and maintain servers since the cloud vendor handles these tasks. The affordability of outsourcing cloud computing greatly impacts small businesses that struggle to afford their own internal infrastructure. Additionally, the cloud also allows companies to operate internationally since files and applications can be accessed by employees and customers from any location. 

How does the cloud work? 

The answer to this is a technology called virtualization, which allows for the formulation of a simulated, digital-only “virtual” computer, acting as a physical computer or server with its own hardware. These virtual machines can share the same host machine but are kept separated from one another to prevent interaction. This guarantees that the files and applications on one virtual machine are not visible with other virtual machines. Think of a large ship; it has a central plant that provides power to all the compartments, but each compartment can be isolated from the next in the event of water, fire, or other major failure. 

With many virtual machines running at once, one server becomes many servers.  A suitable host can power 20-30 virtual machines per physical host.  Likewise, a single data center can simultaneously serve several organizations at one time, reducing overheads and increasing efficiency. Because of these economics, cloud providers can simultaneously reach multiple customers at once and run much higher utilization rates.  

Though individual servers go down, in general, cloud servers should always be online and available. This is because cloud vendors replicate your data and back up their services on multiple machines spanning multiple data centers.  

What are the common types of cloud deployments? 

Private cloud: With a private cloud, a server, data center, or network is allocated to one organization only.  

Public cloud: Run by an external vendor, a public cloud can include servers in one or more data centers shared by multiple organizations. Known as a “multitenancy” situation, multiple tenants rent server space within the same server. 

Hybrid cloud: Combining public and private clouds, a hybrid cloud may use their private cloud for some services while utilizing a public cloud for others. Some companies even use the public cloud as a backup for their private cloud.  

Multi-cloud: Operating with multiple public clouds, organizations utilizing multi-cloud deployment typically rent virtual servers and services from various external vendors, similar to leasing multiple adjacent plots of land from different landlords. Multi-cloud deployments may be hybrid cloud or vice versa.  

What are the common pitfalls? 

Most organizations do not perform adequate testing or discovery of the cloud environment before making the jump.  The most common pitfalls include:  

  • Not understanding how your applications interrelate to one another 
  • Not understanding the traffic patterns and bandwidth requirements of the applications 
  • Running an 8×5 application in the cloud on a 7x24x365 basis 
  • Not creating a team that focuses on optimizing the environment (think DevOps vs. Application Support)  

Let Excipio Help You Migrate to Cloud Storage 

With Excipio’s elite team, it has never been a better time to have your head in the cloud. Cloud storage is a technological advancement that offers an innovative way to not only maintain but also manage content. With our proven Economic Analysis Modeling and Methodology (EAMM) process, clients are provided a comprehensive analysis to help them make highly informed decisions about their technology strategy. If you are ready to learn more about what cloud storage systems can do for your organization, contact us or call 918-357-5507 today. 

Posted in