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Cloud Computing - What is its Potential Value for Your Company?
In essence, cloud computing means running software and accessing data that reside somewhere else. ZDNet explains (Hinchcliffe, 2008) cloud computing in business-trend terms: "Software platforms are moving from their traditional centricity around individually owned and managed computing resources and up into the 'cloud' of the Internet."
Google explores the cloud computing trend at length in another whitepaper, "Cloud Computing - Latest Buzzword, or a Glimpse of the Future?"
This paper picks up where the other paper ended: Examining whether cloud computing makes good business sense for your company.
Let's start with some predictions:
- In the next 12 months, someone in your company will push for at least one on-demand application.
- Your company's first encounter with cloud computing will be driven by needs to save money - but within a few months of the first deployment, your horizons will expand. You'll see opportunities where you once saw problems. You'll see corporate silos tumble as people from different departments and locations collaborate on projects.
- Ultimately, you may find that moving your data to the cloud actually improves security, scalability, access, and disaster recovery.
Overly optimistic? Perhaps. But as many companies are discovering, cloud computing offers rapid and significant results.
Unquestionably, the primary reason why most companies are giving cloud computing a trial run are to save money by avoiding inherent IT and support costs, and to address the business demand for speed. A recent article (The Economist, 2008) in The Economist contends that Amazon and Google are proving that cloud computing "is a far more efficient way of running IT systems. ... The current economic malaise will increase the pressure on companies to become more efficient. More has to be done with less, which is cloud computing's main promise."