Understanding Cloud Computing
Cloud computing is a blanket term for managed, shared applications, development platforms, or computing infrastructure accessible via the Internet. It provides options such as bandwidth and on-demand computing power with flexible capabilities normally purchased as a metered service.
The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) defines cloud computing as a “model for enabling ubiquitous, 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 lists five essential characteristics:
- On-Demand Self Service – A consumer can unilaterally provision computing capabilities, such as server time and network storage, as needed automatically without requiring human interaction with each service provider.
- Broad Network Access – Capabilities are available over the network and accessed through standard mechanisms that promote use by heterogeneous thin or thick client platforms (e.g., mobile phones, tablets, laptops, and workstations).
- Resource Pooling – The provider’s computing resources are pooled to serve multiple consumers using a multi-tenant model, with different physical and virtual resources dynamically assigned and reassigned according to consumer demand. There is a sense of location independence in that the customer generally has no control or knowledge over the exact location of the provided resources but may be able to specify location at a higher level of abstraction (e.g., country, state, or datacenter). Examples of resources include storage, processing, memory, and network bandwidth.
- Measured Service – Cloud systems automatically control and optimize resource use by leveraging a metering capability at some level of abstraction appropriate to the type of service (e.g., storage, processing, bandwidth, and active user accounts). Resource usage can be monitored, controlled, and reported, providing transparency for both the provider and consumer of the utilized service.
- Rapid Elasticity – Capabilities can be elastically provisioned and released, in some cases automatically, to scale rapidly outward and inward commensurate with demand. To the consumer, the capabilities available for provisioning often appear to be unlimited and can be appropriated in any quantity at any time.
According to NIST, cloud computing is deployed four ways over three service models. The three service models are:
- Software as a Service (SaaS) -The capability provided to the consumer is to use the provider’s applications running on a cloud infrastructure. The applications are accessible from various client devices through either a thin client interface, such as a web browser (e.g., web-based email), or a program interface. The consumer does not manage or control the underlying cloud infrastructure including network, servers, operating systems, storage, or even individual application capabilities, with the possible exception of limited user-specific application configuration settings.
- Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) -The capability provided to the consumer is to provision processing, storage, networks, and other fundamental computing resources where the consumer is able to deploy and run arbitrary software, which can include operating systems and applications. The consumer does not manage or control the underlying cloud infrastructure but has control over operating systems, storage, and deployed applications; and possibly limited control of select networking components (e.g., host firewalls).
- Platform as a Service (PaaS) – The capability provided to the consumer is to deploy onto the cloud infrastructure consumer-created or acquired applications created using programming languages, libraries, services, and tools supported by the provider. The consumer does not manage or control the underlying cloud infrastructure including network, servers, operating systems, or storage, but has control over the deployed applications and possibly configuration settings for the application-hosting environment.
The four deployment models are:
- Public Cloud – The cloud infrastructure is provisioned for open use by the general public. It may be owned, managed, and operated by a business, academic, or government organization, or some combination of them. It exists on the premises of the cloud provider.
- Private Cloud – The cloud infrastructure is provisioned for exclusive use by a single organization comprising multiple consumers (e.g., business units). It may be owned, managed, and operated by the organization, a third party, or some combination of them, and it may exist on or off premises.
- Community Cloud – The cloud infrastructure is provisioned for exclusive use by a specific community of consumers from organizations that have shared concerns (e.g., mission, security requirements, policy, and compliance considerations). It may be owned, managed, and operated by one or more of the organizations in the community, a third party, or some combination of them, and it may exist on or off premises.
- Hybrid Cloud – The cloud infrastructure is provisioned for exclusive use by a single organization comprising multiple consumers (e.g., business units). It may be owned, managed, and operated by the organization, a third party, or some combination of them, and it may exist on or off premises.
The Design of the Modern Office
The makeup of today’s office is driven by innovation.
There are countless ways the modern office transcends the office of yesteryear, but the most obvious is probably the layout. Where not long ago cubicles were all the rage, now the open office setup is most popular, as business owners and executives look to cost effective strategies to stretch their budgets and stay flexible. The open office doesn’t offer much in the way of extra productivity, but because it is more affordable, many businesses will pack employees into 40-60 square feet and typically the more workers you have, the more productive your business will be.
When you look past the design and really look at the technology, the robust CRT monitors and large, noisy computer towers are gone. In their place are smaller flat screen monitors and small thin client boxes that run virtualized software off of a partitioned server. This shift in computing technology gets more in depth if you factor in cloud hosted solutions, where another business offers you some sort of computing solution. Whether it be software deployment, backup and recovery, network monitoring, or completely hosted computing infrastructure, computing services the cloud offers the scalability and value most organizations require.
Some of the other technologies that are changing the face of the modern office include:
Voice over Internet Protocol – More functionality at a fraction of the cost of a traditional phone system.
Conferencing Solutions – Interactive touch screen technology specifically designed for long-distance meeting and collaboration.
Virtualization and Document Management – Get rid of your bulky file cabinets and store your company’s important client and vendor information in servers that can set up to be accessible anywhere.
Business Continuity Technology – There was a time where a disaster like a fire or a flood would put a company’s future in peril. With complete offsite backups, the risk is gone.
Wireless Systems – Fueling the paperless office, wireless technologies provide employees, vendors, and guests to securely use mobile and wireless technology to improve cooperation and collaboration.
End-to-end Security – Enormous strides have been made in physical and network security. With office automated security controls, as well as automated monitoring solutions, your business can be more secure and efficient.
NAXYM technology professionals can help you transform your business.
Many of the solutions you’ll find in the modern office aren’t the kind of off-the-shelf solutions that are effective out of the box. These solutions need to be configured and managed properly, and if they aren’t, you could just be adding another expensive technology problem. As a result, it becomes crucial for the health of your business to integrate your technology solutions properly.
At NAXYM, our technicians are proficient in the clean and efficient installation of the latest IT solutions. Introducing new technology can often have negative effects that can really put a dent in the bottom line, but when our technicians implement a solution, we take your company’s workflow into account. By providing the technical expertise and a thorough understanding of the way the solutions are utilized, we can implement state-of-the-art technology solutions with limited downtime.
Technology Training and Support
With comprehensive support and training, you can get up to speed fast.
One of the key aspects of the modern office is the availability to support when you need it. Cooperation and collaboration don’t just happen, they are only possible through properly functioning technology that is being used by people who know how to use it. That’s why NAXYM provides end-to-end support and training for every solution we install.
Your company of tomorrow can be much more efficient than your company today. If you would like more information about new technology solutions for the modern office, or simply would like to speak to one of our technology consultants about upgrading your existing technology, call us today at (310) 579-0003.