A day doesn’t go by that I don’t receive few emails about the cloud! Well, what is all this hype all about? Most executives keep asking me about what the cloud is and its implications on their IT systems. Simply put, cloud is the ability of applications and computing resources to reside outside our organizations traditional server rooms. We have all been using the cloud for several years. Anyone using email services such as Yahoo or Gmail, doing electronic banking or shopping on Amazon, eBay or iTunes has been using power of cloud computing.
Similar to transition that took place twenty or so years ago from terminals connected to a mainframe system towards using PCs, we are now going back to having our machines connected back to such systems again! Key differences now are that these mainframe systems (that are actually hundreds or even thousands of tightly connected servers) can talk to one another in an easier format using standard Internet protocols and thanks to the power of the Internet, we can access such systems from anywhere at any time using any devices with browser capability, being it a PC, a cell phone or a tablet. Welcome to cloud computing!
Moving to a cloud architecture will have an impact on how we manage our IT resources. Such resources are no longer under our direct control. It is both good and bad. Benefits are that we can focus on our core competencies without having to be wrapped up with mundane system management and upgrade issues. Challenges will be to ensure proper security, reliability and a seamless integration with other corporate applications. It requires a different set of management and technical construct to ensure our IT systems are operating effectively. Done right, cloud computing can open up a whole new set of opportunities for organizations.