Create Your Cloud

Are you a little unsure as to what we mean exactly when we say: Create Your Cloud?

It is our mantra, it is what we do, so I guess we should explain...

To understand what your cloud could be and how you can benefit from it, first you should understand the answer to these questions...

What is "the cloud" and what is cloud computing?

There are many definitions of this floating around but essentially cloud computing takes the concept of computing and turns it into a utility.  Much like the water, gas or electricity.  It is there when you need it, and not when you don't.  You buy as much or as little of it as you require using a consumption based charging model.

The term "cloud" was adopted as a way of symbolising the the internet.  Engineers often drew a picture of a cloud to depict the greater internet when explaining related concepts.  This way they did not need to explain what actually went on inside the cloud, it was just there.

Since many cloud computing services are offered through the internet, the term has now stuck as a standard.  You may also hear the term "utility computing" mentioned from time to time, and while that may actually better describe the concepts of cloud computing, it just never really caught on.  

What types of cloud computing are around?

Cloud computing can be broken down into a number of key types:

IaaS - Infrastructure as a Services

An option to organisations who understand the low level design aspects of computing environment they wish to use.  IaaS offers a very basic computing resources like a certain amount of processing power, memory and hard disk space.  It is up to the customer to then install Windows or other operating systems, and to build their environment in a more traditional manner, except that it is located within the IaaS provider's data center.  

PaaS - Platform as a Service

If you don't want to be concerned with the level of detail IaaS requires you understand but still want to manage the actual programs that you are going to use then a managed platform service may be appropriate.  A PaaS provider may, for example, provide an "empty" Windows server that you can then load your programs on to. 

The job of managing the server, including the operating system are the concern of the provider, but management of any software loaded will still be up to you.

SaaS - Software as a Service

If designing networks and managing software is not for you then SaaS may be a good option.  The provider allows you to access a suite of available software packages that have been already installed and are available to use remotely.  The details of the operating system and underlying servers are not your concern.  The provider takes care of tasks such as data backups and ensuring that the servers have sufficient resources to complete the tasks.

SaaS offerings are often delivered as web-based applications.  This means that access to the program's functions  is performed through a web browser such as Internet Explorer, Safari, Chrome or Firefox.  While they look like a normal pages, you are actually manipulating information and performing actions instead of just browsing information. 

One common such system is Microsoft Hotmail.  You use a web browser to read and compose emails instead of a program loaded on your computer like Outlook.

This is where WebVantage sits within the cloud computing spectrum.   Our products are delivered as web-based SaaS solutions with all the associated benefits such as:

  • Accessibility - access your systems from basically any internet connected device with a web browser, including mobile devices such as iPhones, iPads and other smartphones and tablets.
  • Cost effective - no need to invest in servers, networking and the management thereof.
  • Secure - WebVantage manages all aspects of the systems' operation including ensuring that any security vulnerabilities are corrected promptly and responding appropriately should an incident occur.

Is cloud computing really a new concept?

Certainly not, and in fact it is one of the oldest ways of buying / selling computing resources.  In the mainframe days (70s and 80s) it was common place to "rent" computing time from a mainframe owner to perform a certain task.  You would be billed for the amount of computing power you used and you did not need to make large upfront capital investments for an asset you would not be fully utilising.

As internet connections have become much faster in recent time, a resurgence of this model has come about.  The variety of services available today make the cloud quite attractive by businesses and individuals alike for their computing needs.

Within WebVantage we often joke about the fact that we have been delivering software like this for 7 years and it has only in recent times that the term "Cloud" has become mainstream.

Well... what about my cloud, and why would I want to create it?

The problem

These days almost every orginisation provides computing resources in some form to staff.  Sometimes computing resources are also offered to business partners and customers in order to streamline engagements.  Traditionally, software is loaded into computers and servers located inside one of your offices. 

Access by staff on site is simple with the traditional model but complications start arise when staff are on the road and when you want to open the door to partners and customers.  You  often need to provide complicated and costly networking infrastructure and develop customised software to allow access from outside.  Issues also arise where specialised software and strict adherence to hardware requirements mean those who wish to access your systems need to also to invest thus serves as a disincentive.

The solution

Now... what if a solution was designed to run your critical business functions that could be rapidly provisioned to staff without the need for any IT investment apart from an internet connection?  With the power of cloud computing and SaaS, this is now possible.  Next consider if functionality designed for customers and partners to use was built right into the same solution and could be easily embedded into your website.  You would all of a sudden have your own cloud solution that not only ran your operation, but streamlined your business relationships.

If you think about it, it really is the logical choice for extending your business to customers and partners.  This is truly the WebVantage difference, a range of full functional web-based SaaS products designed to drive your core operations with extensions to allow secure access by partners and customers.  Since all parties use the same system coupled to the same database, all information from all sources is available in real time.

Your staff, your partners, your customers... all collaborating at convenient times and places... using Your Cloud!

To better understand how creating your cloud can benefit your orginisation, talk to WebVantage today.

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