What is Cloud Computing?

Cloud computing is a model for enabling convenient, on-demand network access to a shared pool of configurable computing resources (e.g. networks, servers, storage, applications and services) that can be rapidly provisioned and released with minimal management effort or service provider interaction.

NIST (National Institute of Standards and Technology) definition.

If you search the term ‘cloud computing’ you will find that it returns almost 85 million results, including many differing definitions of what it actually means. The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) definition, which we have included above, is one of the most well-known third-party definitions being used. But even that may be considered overly complicated by some.

Cloud computing is essentially a means of delivering computing capabilities (processing, storage, etc.) using shared or dedicated resources that are housed in a secure centralised platform (e.g. a ‘cloud’), rather than using your own servers. Cloud capacity can be expanded or contracted as required to meet fluctuations in demand.

Once you understand what cloud computing is, you then need to understand what type of cloud services are available and which of those services is right for your business.

Unfortunately though, the complexity doesn’t end there. There are various delivery models for cloud services such as public, virtual private, private and hybrid.  During your decision-making process you will need to decide which of the many infrastructure hosting options is the optimal solution for you, based on a mixture of your requirements and preferences.

Ultimately, what really counts is what cloud computing means to your business. It’s about what you are trying to achieve as an organisation, what outcomes matter, how it will comprehensively improve your businesses’ processes. Therefore, we would encourage you to weigh up all the pros and cons of a cloud-based solution before immersing yourself in the technology, as we must understand where we are going before we work out how to get there.

Jargon Buster

A simpler analogy might be to imagine cloud computing as ‘utility computing’ – the idea that, like our gas, water and electricity, computing resources would be available on demand and we would only pay for what we consume. For more ‘jargon busting’ log on to: Up to the Cloud

      OGL’s Data Centre credentials:

          • Two unparalleled co-location Data Centres with Tier IV-aligned resilience
          • Fire threat detection and suppression
          • Contemporary efficient cooling technology
          • Onsite 24/7 monitoring and physical security with state-of-the-art CCTV surveillance systems
          • Multiple carriers and Tier 1 ISPs
          • ISO27001 security standards
          • 24/7 monitoring and technical support on MPLS network
          • N+N redundant power

      Questions to ask your potential cloud services provider…

      Do they own the infrastructure?

      For peace of mind a cloud services provider (CSP) should own the hardware infrastructure upon which your mission-critical data is hosted. This is to ensure that, should a problem occur, your provider can directly resolve any issue themselves, rather than having to wait for third party involvement. You should also consider CSPs who host your data in the UK where you know the security is tightest.

      Which cloud platform do they offer?

      There are many different cloud platforms available; the vast majority of which use virtualisation to offer value added cloud services. Lower end cloud providers tend to use open source software, whereas higher end providers use VMware etc. The cloud platform and its reliability are important factors to consider as ongoing management, support and future service integration may raise issues for cloud users in the longer term.

      Are they ISO27001 compliant?

      An ISO27001 certification is the best indication as to whether your CSP is suitably qualified to store, manage and protect your data. The ISO27001 standard demonstrates that CSPs have the necessary information security processes and practices in place to reliably protect and safeguard your data.

      Do they hold any industry accreditations?

      Your CSP should be able to manage and maintain their cloud infrastructure and have a proven track record of IT expertise. Many vendors offer common cloud industry accreditations and you should check to see if your potential CSP holds any of these rather than having to rely on a third party subcontractor.

      For more Q&A please click here

      What does OGL’s CloudSuite offer?

      Please click here for more information on our CloudSuite of products.