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  1. 1. DEMISTIFYING THE CLOUDA Cloud Computing Guide:Now Small Business, Corporations, and Enterprises can discover how theycan use cloud computing services and hosting platforms to expand theirinfrastructure without having to pay for unused resources, and at the sametime focus on their core competencies as opposed to dealing with theheadaches of server and hosting Page 1
  2. 2. Table Of Contents 1. What is Cloud Computing? a. History of Computing / Conventional Hosting b. Evolution of Cloud Computing 2. What are the Benefits Of Cloud Computing? 3. The 3 Layers (Building Blocks) of Cloud Computing 4. Which Platform is right for you? 5. Making An Informed Decision 6. Page 2
  3. 3. What is Cloud Computing?Just in case you are not particularly technologically knowledgeable, then cloudcomputing could quite possibly make you feeling confounded as well as despairing. Theexpression is without question pretty ambiguous, and furthermore every time a thing isreferred to as a cloud, quite often it can be due to the fact no one knows the best way tocorrectly define it. If you are browsing for the simple definition, relax. Right now thereare a good number of people to help you comprehend this term, you merely would needto perform your investigation and look at a handful of different places for the most well-rounded material.Cloud Computing is a service or platform that hosts a businesses applications on aninfrastructure (server hardware, datacenter infrastructure and/or network) or “cloud”.Cloud Computing allows you to scale, expand, and retract your computing resourcesneeded to host your web applications, but only pay for what you use. This modelmimmicks the way you pay your electric bill. You pay for the electricity used based onthe meter readout.With Cloud Computing, you also pay for the hosting, or computing resources that youused, (Space, bandwidth, power) and you don’t pay for an entire server, or serverinfrasctructure, if you don’t need it.I think it is beneficial in explaining cloud computing at this point to talk about conventialhosting methods. Typically if you were to have your own business, and needed awebsite (taking the analogy down to the smallest iteration on the hosting scale) youwould have looked for a webhosting company that would offer you “shared hosting” or inlaymans terms, a small slice of space and bandwidth on a larger server that was hostedin a facility.With that shared hosting many small companies could get by, even with the cons of nothaving their own space. Shared hosting is you sharing space on a server with othercustomers. Issues with security, high availability and resource utilization become aworry because your sharing the space with someone else. Their website could surge intraffic, causing downtime or issues for you and your business.The next logical step was to get a dedicated server and have your own dedicatedspace. That way noone elses site could affect yours as you would have your own gearand resources on the server.Another form of hosting is called colocation. Some companies have their owninfrastructure or hardware already and need to host it in a top tier facility, becausemaybe they don’t have the bandwidth carriers or the uptime, or power requirementsthey need in their physcial location. Quite possibly it would cost them much more tokeep their gear at their own location, so they would “co-locate” their gear, or put it at adatacenter facility, which had the space, power and bandwidth to accommodate theirgrowing Page 3
  4. 4. This form of hosting requires typically that the company have their own in-house staffthat can manage the equipment, scaling, and other issues that companies commonlyface today.As virtualization became a hot topic a few years ago, with the advent of virtualizationsoftware companies like VMWare, XEN, Parallels, and others, companies were able totake their own gear, and create computing environments on VIRTUAL serverenvironments that used less physical hardware and resources, because they were ableto split the physical server up into 2 or 3 servers or more, and reduce capitalexpenditures.This was and still is an obvious step in the right direction for companies wanting to savemoney. Whether they colocated their own environment and virtualized their gear downfrom 1000 servers, to 100 servers, lets say, with a product like VMWare or whether theylet the hosting company offer them virtualized environments, like a VPS (Virtual PrivateServer) or VM (Virtual Machine) as opposed to renting a full server.The only issue is you are still dealing with hardware, and that’s where Cloud Computingcomes in. According to IBM, a cloud computing platform or application, “dynamicallyprovisions, configures, reconfigures, and de-provisions servers as needed.”Forrester Research Group stated, “Cloud Computing looks very much like theinstantiation of many vendors’ visions of the datacenter of the future; it’s an abstracted,fabric-based infrasructure that enables dynamic move-ment, growth, and protection ofservices that is billed like a utility.”Thus the phrase utility computing is heard so much of these days. Cloud computingseparates or “divorces” the issues of hardware and “hosting infrastructure” from thecustomer. Customers don’t have to purchase their own webservers, they pay for theiruse of the providers servers or infrastructure as they use them.This method of computing really does simplify things for the end user or hostingcustomer and opens up the doors for smaller startups to be able to access theresources of large hosting infrastructures, yet only pay for their Page 4
  5. 5. What Are The Benefits Of Cloud Computing?Cloud Computing offers many benefits, however we will narrow it down to four differentaspects: the flexibility to scale upward or down due to its flexibility, automaticprovisioning or self-service provisioning, a pay as you go design together with billing aswell as metering, and APIs or application programming interfaces. All of this mergedflexibility help to make it an appealing alternative to small together with big corporationsequally.Many consumers can easily incorporate as well as profit via cloud computing.Regardless if you are the end consumer who knows nothing of the technology, theoperators inside the businesses who manage the info and service level or perhaps thehosting company who does all of the servicing and IT, cloud computing is becomingmore and more mainstream each and every day.One of the main benefits of cloud computing is the shear fact that it allows companies tofocus on their core competencies. Lets take a large Greeting card company forinstance. Their business is seasonal, and in certain months they use massive amountsof computing power, while in others, they use much less. The company itself doesn’thave to worry about scaling, they are utilizing cloud computing, so they know it will bethere if they need it. In turn, they can focus on what they do best, greeting cards. Bringsmore revenue, makes their customers happier, and in the end they can focus on theirbottom line.One of the greatest benefits of cloud computing is the cost savings of paying for onlywhat you use. Also, institutions that historically would have huge expense by keeping alltheir IT function In House, are seeing cost savings by significantly lowering capitalcosts, maintenance costs, and IT personnel costs.Generally cloud computing is difficult to understand, especially when you find out howthere are variations. Aside from community and exclusive clouds, yet you’ll find hybridclouds. Hybrid clouds are generally a mixture of both private and public, plus there maybe different versions of all of them.Whether you are a small or large corporation, you will in some form or fashion end uputilizing cloud computing technology. Several larger corporations such as Amazon notto mention Google have got the vast majority of their own IT resources within the cloud.Regardless your volume, it will save you on cost, potential, space plus time. Thesesolutions combined with data virtualization allow businesses to be more efficient.So for a simple bullet list of benefits to cloud computing they are: 1. Lower Costs – Cloud computing pools all of the computing resources that can be distributed to applications as needed – optimizing the use of the sum of Page 5
  6. 6. computing resources and delivering better efficiency and utilization of the entire shared infrastructure 2. Cap-Ex Free Computing – Whether you go with a public cloud or outsourced private cloud computing option, cloud computing delivers a better cash flow by elimiting capital expense associated with building the server infrastructure. 3. Deploy Projects Faster – Because servers can be brought up and destroyed in a matter of minutes, the time to deploy a new application drops dramatically with cloud computing. Rather than installing and networking a new hardware server, the new server can be dialed up and imaged in through a self-serve control console. Or better yet, with a private cloud, your service provider can dial up a new server with a single call or support ticket. 4. Scale As Needed – As your applications grow, you can add storage, RAM and CPU capacity as needed. This means you can buy “just enough” and scale as the application demands grow. 5. Lower Maintenance Costs – driven by 2 factors: Less hardware and outsourced shared IT staff. Since cloud computing uses less physical resources, there is less hardware to power and maintain. With an outsourced cloud, you don’t need to keep server, storage, network and virtualization experts on staff full time. You get the economy of scale of those experts through your cloud provider. 6. Resiliency and Redundancy – One of the benefits of a private cloud deployment is that you can get automatic failver between hardware platforms and disaster recover services to bring up your server set in a separate data center should your primary data center experience an outage. 7. Rapid Staging Environments For Development - The final benefit is probably best suited for development firms, but the cloud computing environment gives a company the ability to have changed-based management between development and production environments quickly and easily. As a matter of fact there is no waste. For instance, a development company creates a development environment for a project …. As soon as the client signs off, and says lets go live, they can take a snapshot, and rename it as the production environment, and simply turn off the development environment until they need it Page 6
  7. 7. Cloud Computing LayersThere are three layers or building blocks to cloud computing. Companies use themdifferently based on their needs and requirements. These layers are, SAAS (SoftwareAs A Service, PAAS (Platform As A Service), and IAAS (Infrastructure As A Service).All of these allow users to run applications and store data online. However each offers adifferent level of flexibility and user control. The differences are explained below. 1. SAAS (Software A Service): Allows users to run existing online applications. An example would be, one of the most popular Sales and CRM systems used by many corporations. 2. PAAS (Platform As A Service): Allows users create their own applications using supplier specific tools and languages (platforms). A good example of this would be Applogic by 3Tera. ( 3. IAAS (Infrastructure As A Service): Allows users to run any applications they please on cloud hardware of their choice. This is where most cloud hosting providers live. An Example would be An environment where you can create your own instances practically as small or as large as you want and host whatever you want on them.Lets discuss these layers of cloud computing in a bit more detail. SAAS is the easiestway to cloud compute, and is where off the shelf applications are accessed over theinternet. For example, Google Microsoft and Zoho each offer an online word processor,spreadsheet, and presentation software. There are also some great businessapplications such as ADP, Netsuite, and Salesforce.The Advantages of SAAS are: 1. Free or Paid Subscription to the software or service. 2. Can Be Accessed From Any Computer or Device (Smart Phone or PDA) 3. Facilitates Collaborative working (Users don’t have to email back and forth, or worry about having out-dated copies of group shared documents any longer)With those advantages there are also limitations. In business there are requirements forapplications that simply cannot be met with generic applications you can find online.The next stepping stool is PAAS, an Platform in which you can create customapplications for your business and your companies needs. Microsoft’s Azure offers aPlatform for developers to create windows applications that they can use and Page 7
  8. 8. The Advantages Of PAAS are: 1. Rapid development at low cost 2. Private or Public environment/deployment.The Disadvantage is that it limits developers to the programs/tools and languages thatthe PAAS provider offers.There is also the risk of vendor “Lock In” as applications made on one PAAS providerplatform may not be able to be moved to another easily or at all.IAAS, or Infrastructure as a service allows a business to run whatever applications theywould like on a providers cloud hardware. This means that existing applications can bemigrated from a company datacenter to a Cloud (IAAS) provider datacenter to reduce ITcosts.The fundamental unit of cloud infrastructure is the server. As mentioned previously,servers can be either physical or virtual. Physical servers are individual computers,whereas virtual servers are software based slices of a physical server, shared amongstmany users by a process called virtualization.Depending on the types of servers involved, IAAS comes in four different categories.1) Private cloud - The most secure and costly, where a certain number of physicalservers are dedicated to one customer.2) Dedicated Servers - A customer rents physical servers on-demand where the cost isalways matching the amount of servers being used.3) Hybrid Hosting - There is a mix of physical dedicated servers and cloud instances tomeet the flexible demand of a customers requirements and reduce cost.4) Cloud Computing - Where a customer rents virtual server instances on demand andbilled on an hourly Page 8
  9. 9. Which Platform is right for you?So now that we have differentiated the different types of cloud computing platforms, youmight be asking yourself which one is right for you. It may be that a hybrid solution isright.To determine this an assessment of what exactly you are trying to accomplish and whattype of environment you currently have is necessary.SAAS environments typically handle one task or a few tasks, and aren’t usually a fullsolution. i.e. you may be able to handle your payroll, and sales funnel processes withSalesforce and ADP, but what about your business specific applications like productsand or services that you may offer, either digital or physical. Those products andservices typically if they are custom designed may either need to be on a PAAS orIAAS.Most companies can typically go with an IAAS (Cloud Hosting Provider) if they alreadyhave their own development tools and environments in place. If they are newer, orstartups, they may want to use a PAAS and have their developers use a Platform andtools strictly on the cloud.In many situations using a hybrid, which may include all 4 types of hosted cloudinfrastructure and all 3 types of Cloud Layers, is the case.Typically, talking with a hosting provider may be exactly what you need to do, todetermine the best environment for your dev and production environments.There are several providers out there and we have gone through and tested most ofthem. In our opinion if you are looking at moving into the cloud or getting started withcloud hosting, you might want to check out the guys at offers some unique features that make it very attractive. Other than veryaffordable pricing at a mere $20 per month to get your own instance, you can createsnapshots of your environment on a scheduled basis. You have the ability to hostwhatever applications, choosing between whatever operating system you like.Couple that with the ability scale up and down, and a staff of people that are used tooffering top notch managed support from their history as a managed dedicated serverprovider and you can’t go wrong.If you would like to look at them, mention and receive a Page 9
  10. 10. Making An Informed DecisionIf you are ready to start your journey into Cloud Computing, and join the droves ofcompanies who are already experienced the benefits of this new era of computingtechnology, then we advice you to work with a consultant who can help you analyzeyour environment and find out what plan and path will work for you and yourenvironment.We at can also help, as we have been in the hostingenvironment for over a decade, and now have experts in cloud computing technologyand platforms. We can help if you need it.Our Contact Info:consultants@cloudcomputingguide.net817-380-5827We can share with you our expertise, with a brief consultation.ConclusionIn conclusion we would like to thank you for downloading our guide. Hopefully some ofthe confusion and “mystification” behind cloud computing has been cleared.Technology is moving forward at an incredible rate, and the platforms that we computetoday will surely evolve into better and more efficient ones tommorrow.Who knows what the future will hold, but for now, we can embrace the changes that aretaking place all around us. As the saying goes “It’s evolve, or die”. Smart Business is tolook at ways to make your business run smoother, faster, more efficient, and at lesscost to your bottom line.Again, we thank you for downloading our guide, and ask that you join our newsletter formore helpful and insightful information from Page 10