By 2016, it is estimated that IT cloud spending will approach £100 billion.
This indicates a trend moving away from hardware that stores our data locally. There is even a shift away from the actual processing taking place on your machine. Instead, remote servers are doing the actual "computing", and feeding the data back to your device to display it for you.
Take a service like Google Apps, or the online version of Microsoft Office. When you create and update a spreadsheet, the data is held remotely by Google or Microsoft and automatically updated and saved when you make changes. The convenience of this is that you are not restricted to a single device to access the data. You can sign in from any device with an internet connection.
In addition, when you add a formula to your spreadsheet by inputting commands with your keyboard and mouse, the actual processing required to carry out the calculations is not done by your machine, but by remote hardware owned by the service provider. The experience to you is still the same, but the hardware on your device only displays the result - it doesn't actually work it out for you.
This is a simple example of cloud computing. It is more than just the remote storage of data.
Businesses are taking advantage of Cloud Computing
Businesses are heavily contributing to the looming £100 billion milestone that Cloud Computing is approaching. This is because Cloud Computing has major benefits for businesses.
- Cloud Computing can reduce costs for businesses. The need for up front investment in hardware such as servers is greatly reduced. Instead of paying out thousands for hardware and then paying to maintain and upgrade it periodically, businesses rent hardware in a data centre that performs the same function for a smaller, predictable monthly cost.
- Cloud Computing is more secure. Many business owners are reluctant to trust their data and infrastructure in the hands of a third party, but in reality it is unlikely that businesses will be able to protect their data and infrastructure to anywhere near the same degree as data centres without a considerable cost. Data centres are highly secure against cyber attacks, intrusion, fire, flooding, power cuts and any other threats.
- You never under-utilise technology. You wouldn't buy a server with the same amount of storage capacity as you have data. You have to buy with expansion in mind. How would you know how much extra storage to go for? What would happen if you filled up that server within a year, when you had budgeted it to last for three? With Cloud Computing you only pay for what you use, and you don't have to foot the bill for the additional power and cooling costs that come with a bigger server that gives you room to grow.
- Cloud Computing means your data is always available. Your users can work wherever they are with cloud computing. You can even run your business specific software in the data centre and experience it on whatever device you're using - regardless of whether or not it is installed locally. This has huge productivity benefits for staff.
Read how St. Brides Media and Finance benefited from moving to a cloud computing environment.
Cloud Computing Infographic