Cloud computing is no longer the future. It’s here and everyone is making the move. However, there is still some confusion over what the cloud is. Here, we’ll try to answer some of the key questions surrounding cloud computing.
1. What is the cloud?
In simple terms, it means your data is housed in centralised data centres in various locations, as opposed to being housed on a server in your office. This means you can access your applications and data anytime, anywhere as long as you have an internet connection.
The cloud uses the internet to deliver hosted IT services such as, storage, running applications and maintenance services.
Azure is Microsoft’s cloud platform. It provides a wide range of cloud services including business analytics, databases, website hosting, media services and data storage/recovery. Click here to find out more about Azure.
2. What are the benefits of using the cloud?
The cloud offers much more flexibility than the traditional method of using local servers.
Benefits include reduced IT costs. The amount of hardware and software required to run the IT infrastructure is greatly reduced. The scalability benefits deliver more costs savings. Instead of having the systems in place to be ready for peak usage times, companies can scale their usage up and down as required. The cost per user pricing structure helps with budgeting and means you only need to pay for what you use.
The cloud also provides increased reliability as well as disaster recovery processes due to the support and backup resources that can accompany your cloud solution.
Businesses who make the move to the cloud no longer have to worry about managing hardware and software – that’s the responsibility of your IT partner. This gives your IT department more time to work on proactive IT projects. Click here to discover more benefits of moving to the cloud.
3. Where is my data stored?
Data is stored on servers in large data centres. The chosen location is determined by your IT partner based on your specific requirements. As a Microsoft partner, P2V Systems can choose from any of the Microsoft regions worldwide. For redundancy purposes, data can also be spread among different regions too to ensure that you always have access to your data. Highly regulated industries such as banking, government and healthcare may require data to remain within the UK in which case Microsoft’s UK based data centre can cater for this.
4. What happens if the data centre fails?
To ensure business continuity, your applications and data can be stored across multiple servers in various data centres. Deployment to more than one data centre reduces the risk of applications or data being unavailable should the worst happen.
Microsoft data centres have tens of thousands of servers. P2V Systems ensures that interdependent applications run in the same parts of the data centre. Where there is a need for resilience, we ensure that applications run in separate parts of the data centre. We also design highly available solutions for customers where the data and applications are spread across multiple regions.
5. Is my data safe in the cloud?
Many organisations feel data is more secure on their own servers rather than in the cloud. However, when you select a global cloud solution like Microsoft Azure, you receive world-class cyber security expertise. Microsoft invests billions into cyber security research and development to ensure Azure is a reliable and secure cloud infrastructure. Microsoft also vigorously defends the right to privacy and invests heavily in challenging governments and organisations around the world to ensure their cloud is private and secure. With this kind of support from your cloud provider, security can be seen as a reason to migrate to the cloud rather than a reason to avoid it.
6. What is the difference between private and public cloud services?
The public cloud is based on shared physical hardware which is owned and operated by a third-party provider. The cost of the public cloud infrastructure is spread across a number of users so that each can take advantage of the lower-cost, scalable approach.
A private cloud is dedicated entirely to your business and is hosted either on-site or in a data centre. The private cloud delivers all the benefits of the public cloud with greater levels of control and security. However, it lacks the economies of scale cost benefits associated with the public cloud. Getting the right cloud solution is not a choice between public or private. With hybrid cloud solutions, your business can get the best of both.
7. How do you pay for the cloud?
Cloud services are subscribed to on a monthly basis. This means you can keep track of how much you are spending on IT without any unexpected costs such as upgrading your server. Pay-as-you-go subscriptions are the most popular and flexible payment plan. You pay only for what you use each month with no minimum purchases or commitments, and the option to cancel at any time.
8. Does the cloud put IT staff jobs at risk?
There is a false perception that moving to the cloud will remove the need for internal IT departments. The truth is their roles simply change. With the cloud, most maintenance is taken care of as part of the monthly fee. This means that in-house IT staff can move away from reactively maintaining existing infrastructure, to more innovative work and proactively assisting users in your organisation.
9. What happens if I need more storage or if I increase staff levels?
One of the main benefits of cloud computing is the scalability and operational agility it offers. Additional storage or bandwidth can be provisioned at any time and then easily reduced. The cloud is ideal for businesses with fluctuating storage demands. For example, companies who have an e-commerce website can scale their storage up or down as required for events like Black Friday and seasonal offers.
10. How will a move to the cloud impact day-to-day operations?
The migration time will differ from business to business depending on how much data you need to migrate to the cloud. Our dedicated team will keep you up-to-date throughout the process and will make your transition as quick and smooth as possible with minimal business disruption.