Cloud Computing Overview

Cloud Computing

Cloud computing explained in simple terms with benfits, myths, and common questions.

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Critical business operations function regardless of disruptive events.

Cloud Computing Benefits

Common Fallacies

Cloud computing widely held but false misconceptions or ideas.

Cloud Computing Myths

Cloud Computing Definition

Cloud computing is the use of the Internet to access applications on a monthly pay-as-you-go plan. The "Cloud" is the typical depiction for the Internet in technical diagrams. The "Computing" is on-demand access to application escaping the cost and burden of implementing and maintaining on-premise hardware and software.

When an organization subscribes to cloud computing, a Managed Service Provider (MSP) provides services to move data and applications to a software manufacturer online service and supports both cloud service and customer on-premise network. Cloud computing subscriptions are provided according to the terms of a Service-Level Agreement (SLA), along with direct monthly billing. This approach is often referenced as a "public cloud".

A common myth is that some organizations enjoy the same benefits with a "private cloud", using the Internet in conjunction with physical or virtual servers and purchased rack space in a data center. A private cloud:

  • Is not provided by the manufacturer, but rather third-parties.
  • Does not escpate the cost of hardware and software maintenance or upgrades.
  • Cannot match the infrastructure, security, or competency of major manufacturers.
  • Lacks the ability to offer the latest technology at the speed and lowered cost of major manufactures.

Software manufacturers offer cloud computing with multiple geo-dispersed data centers, better security and reliability, and less cost than on-premise or hosted rack solutions. Cloud computing is a strategic business solution to lower cost and improve business. Organizations using cloud computing have clear competitive advantage by escaping planned obsolescence, disruptive upgrades, and large capital expenses.

Common Features

  • E-mail
  • SPAM filtering
  • Instant messaging
  • Data Storage
  • Online applications
  • Virtual servers
  • Workflow
  • Support portal
  • Health dashboard
  • Compliance
  • 99.9% uptime
  • Service Level Agreemnt (SLA)
  • Competitive Advantage
  • Geo-Dispersed
  • Better Security
  • Obsolescence Escaped

Cloud Computing Benefits

Cloud computing has vast benefits for organizations of all sizes: lower cost, better reliability and security, and more time to focus on strategic business - all without the pain of upgrading to the latest applications or worry of growing storage and backup concerns.

Benefit Reason
Reduced costs Cloud computing allows an organization to escape maintenance and upgrades of key infrastructure hardware and software for less on-going cost to support.
Quality of Service Major manufacturers offer 99.9% uptime service level agreements with billions of dollars of resources serving millions of subscribers.
Greater security Cloud computing provides much more storage capacity for a fraction of the cost of on-premise solutions.
Increased storage Costs always remain at the level specified in the contract, so that the IT budget becomes stable and predictable.
Flexibility Access anywhere there is Internet availability, nominal and predictable cost for growth, and subscribers always have access to the latest technology.
Better Business Continuity Organizations no longer need a secondary site for failover with the dual maintenance, cost, and risk. Backup and replication for key infrastructure is provided by the manufacturer.
Strategic focus Quickly react to changing business conditions and avoid high capital and operating expenses by having the managed service provider expand or reduce services.
Focus on core business Without the burden of errors, updates, and backup of key infrastructure, IT staff can concentrate on customer service and strategic core business.
Capital expenditure reduction Cloud computing reduces servers, storage, and related software licensing, like backup and anti-virus for key infrastructure such as e-mail and document storage.

Cloud Computing Comparison

With on-premise solutions, hardware warranties are generally 3 years with an associated waterfall effect of software upgrades. Cloud computing offers a one time migration and lower on-going cost from less backup, security, and maintenance. The following five year calculation represents the estimated value received from implementing Matrixforce Orbit compared to your current approach.

  • Reduced Cost
  • Service Level
  • Increased Storage
  • Strategic Focus

Cloud Computing Myths

Cloud computing is characterized either by hype and exaggeration or fear and skepticism. Let's take a look at the realities around these myths:

  1. Cloud computing is unreliable. Manufacturers like Microsoft and Google offer a 99.9% Service Level Agreement (SLA) using billions of dollars of capital in multiple geo-dispersed data centers that generally far exceeds what most customers can achieve at their own facilities.
  2. Cloud computing is unsecure. Again, few if any customers have best practices in place like major manufacturers for SAS 70 Type II, CyberTrust, SOX, and Federal Security approval.
  3. Cloud computing is not private. All Microsoft Online Services allow you, in most all cases, to comply with privacy requirements, depending on jurisdiction and industry requirements. Each of the Microsoft Online Services was built to adhere to the Microsoft Privacy Guidelines for Developing Software Products and Services.
  4. Cloud computing transfers ownership of data. Read all agreements carefully, but data ownership for Microsoft and Google remains with the organization or individual user.
  5. Cloud computing offers no cost savings. While offerings vary, the main tenant of cloud computing is escaping the significant cost of most computing infrastructure, upgrades, and maintenance for a fractional monthly subscription.
  6. Cloud computing is the same stuff we have with a new name. Cloud computing doesn't mean virtualization of servers in a data center or moving servers to be hosted offsite. Cloud computing is shared technology infrastructure services, offering on-demand and pay-as-you-go access.
  7. Cloud computing means using a browser only. Virtually all Cloud Computing is a hybrid offering both the standard use of Outlook or web mail as an example with Microsoft Online Services.
  8. Cloud computing means no more servers. The reality is at least one or more servers will remain for centralized security and policy, as well as for data or applications that cannot be moved to the cloud.
  9. Cloud computing is only for small business. Medium-sized organizations and large enterprises tend to benefit more from increased security and reliability and reduced cost.
  10. Cloud computing offers no role for IT. Like most changes in business process and technology, job duties tend to shift as a win-win for both customers and IT personnel by allowing more focus on helping the organization and customer service and less on maintenance, updates, and backup.

Cloud Computing FAQ

How would my business benefit from Orbit® Cloud Computing?

Some of the proven benefits associated with Orbit® Cloud Computing include:

  • Reduced operating costs
  • Better security
  • Increased availability
  • Less capital expenditure
  • Up-to-date technology
  • More focus on business

What is the process to move to the Cloud?

Matrixforce provides a migration plan for servers, e-mail, document storage, and presence or selected subset of available services. Typically, a free 30-day trial is started. Then users are enabled, separate Outlook profiles configured, presence client deployed, and document portals configured. Mailboxes and documents are uploaded and synchronized with production to avoid business disruption. Finally, mail delivery is directed to the Cloud and existing related on-premise servers or applications are decommissioned.

What is the standard pricing for Orbit® Cloud Computing?

Matrixforce does not use a one-size-fits-all pricing model. Rather, we customize our offerings and develop a service model that best matches the unique operating environment of each client. Following a review of business needs, Matrixforce provides flat cost pricing that helps you realize a significant savings in monthly operating costs.

What things don't get migrated when moving to the Cloud?

For e-mail, all messages and folders are simply copied to another location and fully accessible in Outlook. However, the following user customization or profile specific items are not retained: signatures, delegates, categorization, rules, and auto-complete (nicknames). For standard files, documents are copied to secure portals. However, depending upon the migration choices the last access date and time may not be retained.

What are the risks with moving to the Cloud?

There are 3 main risks with moving to the Cloud:

  1. Inadequate planning
  2. Limited bandwidth
  3. Service Provider selection

Just like on-premise projects, proper planning must be done to set expectations and understand options while insuring quick and smooth implementation. Cloud computing is not feasible for customers with limited bandwidth such as fractional T-1. When selecting Cloud Computing, the infrastructure should be direct with the software manufacturer and the service provider should have 20 years of on-premise experience along with national cloud implementation.

Does Matrixforce use Cloud Computing?

Yes. Matrixforce eliminated on-premise Exchange, Lync, and SharePoint along with related anti-virus, filtering, storage, and backup/failover. In the event of a disaster or for normal daily operations, our team focuses on supporting customers, rather than maintenance of on-premise servers or failover to remote sites.

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