This article was written by Jelle Frank van der Zwet, who manages the go-to-market of Interxion’s Cloud Hubs, a pan-European marketing and product development program. Interxion is a leading provider of co-location and associated managed services, delivering a full set of services that allow more than 1,200 companies to securely house, connect, monitor and maintain essential IT equipment.
What exactly is cloud computing?
This is surprisingly tricky to answer. There are nearly as many definitions of cloud computing as there are companies involved in the cloud.
Cloud computing is the availability of services and storage which are available on demand. The hardware management is looked after remotely and generally by a service provider.
Put more simply, cloud computing allows for quick and easy access to shared resources such as software, documents and workspaces – the idea being that all information and software is not stored on an individual’s local hard-drive. Instead, they are stored within large, secure data centres which can be accessed from anywhere.
Data centre cooling solutions - these are heat exchange units with associated lightning protection rods on top of them. Image CONTRIBUTED.
Why is cloud computing becoming popular?
Cloud computing definitely seems to have become a buzzword over the last few years, with lots of companies pushing the boundaries of what is possible. A decade of network computing established increasing levels of transparency of information across multiple groups inside a company. At the same time there was an amazing rate of data exchange between enterprises.
This obviously takes up time, and this is where cloud computing comes in. Cloud technology allows IT resources to be pooled and many of the maintenance tasks to be automated.
Shared customer area with cabinets in hot aisle / cold aisle configuration (allowing cool air to keep equipment at optimum temperature). Image CONTRIBUTED.
Is cloud computing good for SMEs?
Yes, it certainly can be. It is something that SMEs seem to be becoming much more aware of. In fact, a recent survey showed that 62 percent of female business owners in the SME space plan to make better use of online software and services over the next 12 months.
While cost savings are not the only reason to embrace cloud computing, these savings can be felt more by SMEs in the current climate where money is tight and resources are limited. It also provides greater opportunity for SMEs to scale their products and infrastructure quicker than ever before.
What advantages does cloud computing deliver?
There are several benefits, which include:
Secure man traps inside a data centre, which help prevent unauthorised access to key information and files. Image CONTRIBUTED.
- Reduction of the time to market
- Cost savings in terms of maintenance costs from having business-owned servers to maintain Also, cloud services usually have a higher guarantee for uptime, which a small company running its own servers is unlikely to match
- SMEs can also cut costs on software licensing and administrative costs because they can utilize online services in the cloud, such as SharePoint and Exchange Server.
How much does cloud computing cost?
This can obviously vary massively depending on the resources required. To give some context, here are the three types of cloud deployment typically available:
- Private Cloud: This is a cloud infrastructure operated solely for one organisation. It could be managed by the organisation themselves or by a third-party company, and it could exist onsite or offsite.
- Public Cloud: Here we are talking about a cloud infrastructure which is made available to the public or to a large industry group. It will be owned by an organisation that sells cloud services.
- Hybrid Cloud: This is cloud infrastructure which is made up of two or more clouds, such as a private cloud and a community cloud. They will remain unique entities but are tied together by standardized or proprietary technology that enables data and applications to be shared between them.
Jelle Frank van der Zwet manages the go-to-market of Interxion’s Cloud Hubs - the pan-European marketing and product development program for Interxion’s sizeable and fast-growing cloud community. He has over 12 years of experience working in the frontline of ICT product and business development. Prior to joining Interxion, Jelle Frank was responsible for product management and marketing of managed services at Imtech ICT. He was as senior product marketing manager at UPC responsible for data services in the Netherlands. Jelle Frank began his career working in various marketing management positions for KPN and Amsterdam Schiphol Airport.