What Is The Cloud Exactly And Why Does It Matter

What is “The Cloud” Exactly and Why Does It Matter?

David Bakker | May 27, 2015

Cloud ComputingSomeone recently asked me “What is the cloud?” and “Where does everything go?” The answer to that second question is: The data goes to massive data centers which can be spread across the globe. The first question is more complex.

The cloud is a great example of an ambiguous term. It’s used to describe a multitude of services, strategies and solutions. Traditional ASP models are now cloud-enabled (IaaS) and any service/application that is accessed through the internet is now a cloud service.

In order to understand the cloud, it’s necessary to dig deeper into what it can do. Companies such as Microsoft, Amazon, Google and VMware all have cloud services/solutions. Each puts its own spin on the technology and has its own advantages. Below are just a few of the services those companies can provide:

  • Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) – Run your virtual machines in a hosted environment with lots of extra services and greater availability and simplicity. Here you manage from the OS up.
  • Platform as a Service (PaaS) – Applications and their data are all you need to worry about. There’s no need to spend time on an OS and its related patches and security. If all you need is a database, then this is the service for you.
  • Software as a Service (SaaS)/ASP – This gives you an application and lets the provider handle the rest. Development, patching and support all fall on the developer. For example: Office365 and SalesForce.com.
  • On Premises – I know what you’re thinking: “Wait! Hardware? In my data center?” Well, why not? I argue the cloud can be private and local to a company’s own physical data center. The services and ease of business are really the driving forces behind the cloud. These are still possible with an on premises solution.

There are many other hybrid models that are a mix of the above terms and some other unique solutions. Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS), backups and Enterprise Service Management (ESM) are some others that make their way into this mix.

Changing the landscape of IT

I’ve worked with computers, applications and systems for over 30 years now. I installed one of the first SANs in the Greater Philadelphia area and one of the first fiber tape drives. I’ve been through WEB 2.0 (wasn’t that just making things pretty?), WSDL and virtualization (which we had on IBM mainframes forever). Let’s not forget the whole monolithic and distributed systems arguments. Technology always improves, things become faster and data always grows. The innovations I’ve witnessed have made life easier for those of us in IT.

The thing is, the cloud really is the first major shift in the importance of IT and how services are delivered. It’s changed how CIOs and their IT departments go about their business. The days when IT was the central control for the intake of technology services are gone. So are the days of IT deciding when things are upgraded and when new systems are brought online. The cloud has given us a fantastic way to leverage IT services for any business unit with just the swipe of a credit card.

What does Arraya think of all of this? The ambiguity surrounding the cloud means there’s no single answer that fits every organization and so a quick answer is ambiguous. It’s really a matter of understanding your unique business challenges and exploring cloud options where they make the most sense. At Arraya we cover everything from physical data centers to IaaS and more. We take pride in working with customers and their business units to find the right solution to meet their needs. Time to value is a key driver with any cloud solution so working efficiently and quickly is a key part of what we do. Beyond deploying hybrid cloud solutions, Arraya also offers another level of value: our managed services. We wrap all of our solutions with our continued support and expertise in a nice package, ensuring the cloud is assessable and manageable for any organization.

At Arraya we believe the cloud is redefining the business world and every IT department needs to be flexible and deliver the same, if not a higher, level of service as any cloud provider. IT must give the business a competitive edge in the marketplace. Utilizing the cloud in a hybrid or fully-leveraged model and partnering with a company like Arraya will empower IT to do this. It’s our job to help customers figure out which model works best.

If you want to learn more about the latest cloud solutions from industry-leading providers and how those tools are changing the face of IT, register today for the 2015 Arraya Tech Summit. This free, day-long event will be held on June 4th at the Sheraton Valley Forge in King of Prussia. It will feature educational breakout sessions dedicated to the topics that matter most to IT pros – including (but not limited to) the cloud. These sessions will be presented by Arraya’s renowned team of experts, ensuring in-depth technical discussions that feature real, practical lessons and takeaways that attendees can apply to their own jobs.