IT Services and cloud computing
IT Services and cloud computing
Cloud computing refers to the application of hardware and software computing resources that are conveyed as services through the Internet or other networks. The term ‘cloud computing’ originates from the utilization of a cloud-shaped icon as the concept for the complex configuration it contains in schematic diagrams. Cloud computing depends on remote services to store software, user data and computation. The categories of public cloud computing are numerous, but the most common ones include Infrastructure as a service (IaaS), Storage as a service (STaaS) and Storage as a service (STaaS) although there are other uses of cloud computing besides these three major ones (Sauve et al, 2009).
In business structures that depend on software as a service, the consumers are allowed access to databases and application software. Cloud computing handle the environments and infrastructure on which applications are installed. Of the three main uses of cloud computing, SaaS is probably the most common. Proponents of the SaaS technology claim that it allows an enterprise the probability of lowering IT operational costs by subcontracting hardware and software solutions and assistance to cloud providers. This allows companies to transfer IT operations costs from hardware, software and human resource expenses, towards accomplishing other IT objectives (Sauve et al, 2009). Additionally, when applications are centrally hosted, newer updates can be released without much effort on the part of the user to install newer software. One major disadvantage of SaaS is that the cloud provider’s server acts as the users’ data storage center. Consequently, the stored data could be accessed by unauthorized users.
The most common way for users to access cloud-based applications is through an internet browser, a desktop PC or a mobile application. However, large-scale firms and organizations store their business software and data on servers at an isolated location. Using the cloud technology can allow companies to access their applications at a faster pace, have enhanced manageability and lower maintenance, and facilitates IT to swiftly alter the resources to meet variable and volatile business demands. Cloud computing depends on distribution of resources to realize consistency and economies of scale in a fashion comparable to a utility over a system. At the base of cloud computing is the wider model of shared services and converged infrastructure.
Some of the fundamental characteristics that make cloud computing a preferred choice for most organizational problems include agility that refers to the improved dexterity of obtaining technological resources. The feature of integration popularly referred to as Application Programming Interface (API) is another key characteristic of cloud computing that allows it to interact with other software, platforms and equipment (Chang et al, 2010). Cloud systems also have low costs in that they convert capital expenditure to operational expenditure. Cloud systems have the feature of virtualization that allows users to easily share and utilize cloud software. Users can also migrate to other workstations easily. Lastly, cloud computing is remarkably cheap and easy to maintain as they are only installed on one server but allow access from various places (Chang et al, 2010).
Benefits of cloud computing
Cloud computing is undoubtedly the most cost efficient technique to apply, sustain and improve. Conventional desktop software is far more expensive and offer poorer services as compared to cloud computing. Hidden costs such as licensing fees for several users can end up being very expensive for the organization concerned. Using cloud systems in an organization is much cheaper and can considerably lower the company’s IT operating expense. In addition, there are flexible payment rates that are tailor made to suit any organization model, for example, different rates, packages and other financial agreements that make it very sound for the company.
The storage capabilities possessed by cloud systems make them highly favorable among clients having numerous users. This is because a company can employ the services of the cloud to store an unlimited amount of information or data. Normally, storage solutions for most companies prove to be expensive in that they are either insufficient to handle all the data or they are costly to maintain on a regular basis. Companies with these problems include phone firms, Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and other major firms (Carter, 2010). Such companies may benefit from cloud technology as it can ease the authentication and record keeping functions in the firm.
On the part of the employees, cloud systems offer numerous benefits. One, they eliminate many drawbacks and leave the IT staff to focus on innovation. Cloud computing eliminates tasks such as constant server updating, software updates, replacing hardware. In this place, it offers a platform that employees can exploit to maximize the way a business’ IT structure can support the wider company goals (Carter, 2010). With cloud systems, the personnel training costs and time are significantly lowered, as it requires fewer personnel to do extra work on a cloud. A company has the option of increasing their scope to a global level thanks to the mobility feature of the cloud. Employees worldwide can gain entry into the cloud and perform administrative tasks.
Counterarguments against cloud computing
There are critical technical issues that exist in implementing cloud systems. The major advantage of accessibility of data from any location in the world is an advantage as well as a disadvantage. In unique situations, this feature can result in critical dysfunction. Despite being a revolutionary innovation, the cloud technology is always susceptible to failures and other technical difficulties (Chang et al, 2010). Even the most efficient cloud service providers regularly encounter these types of complications, in spite of their high maintenance standards. Moreover, cloud systems are dependent on steady and abundant Internet services at all times to be efficient. In the event that network or Internet systems fail, the whole essence of cloud computing is lost (Chang et al, 2010).
The difficulty in creating a hybrid system poses as a major drawback toward using cloud technology in certain organization. This oversight pertains mainly to those businesses that process sensitive data and information. Organizations like government headquarters and financial establishments have their own IT services and are unwilling to take their information offsite to other servers even for the advantages associated with cloud such as performance and efficiency. This is because there are no policy statements or industry regulations that govern the installation and usage of cloud systems. In the face of legacy systems that run in backs and police headquarters, making the change to a liberalized and uncontrolled environment offered by cloud systems may not be worth the investment (Galup et al, 2009).
Cloud systems offer various innovative techniques of dealing with the common problems faced by most large organizations. The IT services provided by the large corporate entities such as HP, Oracle and IBM are sufficient in serving the demands of the company. Cloud computing takes up a complimentary role in the IT services environment. The function of cloud is to enhance the quality, accessibility and affordability of these IT services. In doing that, cloud computing has exposed the IT sector to new forms of problems such as loss of privacy, poor compliance with state regulations and other legal battles concerning security concerns and trademark violations. Using cloud technology within the workplace environment can only be beneficial if these and other unforeseen complications are ironed out.
Carter, P. E. (2010). IT Service Value Creation in a Global Environment. Journal of Global Information Technology Management, 13(4), 4-29
Chang, V., Bacigalupo, D., Wills, G., & Roure, D.E. (2010). Categorization of Cloud Computing Business Models. Retrieved from http://eprints.ecs.soton.ac.uk/18751/11/vchang_ccgrid_2010_poster.pdf
Galup, S. D., Dattero, D., Quan, J., & Conger, S. (2009). An overview of IT Service Management. Communications of the ACM, 52(5). 124-127.
Sauve, J. S., Moura, A., & Marques, F. T. (2009). Business-Driven Design of Infrastructures for IT Services. Journal of Network and Systems Management, 17(4), 422