Layperson digest for businesses looking to understand about this area of computing
Cloud-based services have been around for a while. Amazon Web Services (AWS), for example, is famous for being really the only profitable part of the Amazon empire. SMEs like many members of the Chamber may be using this technology to keep their costs down and avoid investing in hardware that may become outdated in only a couple of years.
The Hybrid Cloud is new ICT industry jargon for a mixture of cloud computing and using your own servers, sometimes in your own offices but also possibly a secured “private cloud” which only your own organisation has access to.
However public clouds are outperforming private clouds. Lydia Leong, technology analyst in the IT Leaders group at Gartner says, “The problem for firms considering private cloud is that as the cost of public cloud drops and the major cloud platforms gain new features, it becomes ever more difficult for a private cloud to match the efficiency and capabilities of public cloud.” The costs for AWS have dropped 50 fold since it was introduced and added over 1000 new features since 2008.
Many businesses use “legacy” IT systems. The advantage is that the costs have long been written down, and the systems are well known, and staff understand how to operate them. Moving to a new system would involve disruption – but these things happen in business and when a server farm becomes obsolete, there are factors which may well make it worthwhile to transition to a cloud-based operation. There may be some processes that need to be held on the companies own servers, so a migration might have 70% public cloud and 30% own servers. For example, GE is migrating 60% of its processes to AWS, but is not shutting down its own server centres – they will handle the remainder, obviously being smaller than now, and less costly.
Public/Private hybrid cloud ICT offers scalability, efficiency and probably reduced costs. But it does come with overheads – for example security issues, which are an extra layer of complexity which needs to be managed.
Julian Jackson is Wandsworth Chamber’s blogger, whose interests encompass technology, cryptocurrencies and blockchain, the environment, as well as photography and film. His portfolio is here:
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