I recently attended Internet Evolution’s webinar on cloud computing where the benefits of cloud computing were defined as leveraging economies of scale in computing.  This makes a lot of sense. Rather than build your infrastructure one hardware server at a time, you can leverage a pool of resources to maximize efficiency and lower your overall operating costs.

NIST defines Cloud Computing as:  Cloud computing is a model for enabling convenient, on-demand network access to a shared pool of configurable computing resources (e.g., networks, servers, storage, applications, and services) that can be rapidly provisioned and released with minimal management effort or service provider interaction.  NIST is implying the economy of scale that goes with cloud computing when they talk about a pool of configurable computing resources.

In my opinion, the benefits of cloud computing clearly include the cost savings that come with economy of scale, but also include a number of other benefits.  Here are the Six Benefits of Cloud Computing as I see them:

1)      Lower Costs – Cloud computing pools all of the computing resources that can be distributed to applications as needed – optimizing the use of the sum of the computing resources and delivering better efficiency and utilization of the entire shared infrastructure.

2)      Cap-Ex Free Computing – Whether you go with a public cloud or outsourced private cloud computing option, cloud computing delivers a better cash flow by eliminating the capital expense associated with building the server infrastructure.

3)      Deploy Projects Faster – Because servers can be brought up & destroyed in a matter of minutes, the time to deploy a new application drops dramatically with cloud computing.  Rather than installing and networking a new hardware server, the new server can be dialed up and imaged in through a self-serve control console.  Or better yet, with a private cloud, your service provider can dial up a new server with a single call or support ticket.

4)      Scale as Needed – As your applications grow, you can add storage, RAM and CPU capacity as needed.  This means you can buy “just enough” and scale as the application demands grow.

5)      Lower Maintenance Costs driven by 2 factors:  Less hardware and outsourced, shared IT staff.  Because cloud computing uses less physical resources, there is less hardware to power and maintain.  With an outsourced cloud, you don’t need to keep server, storage, network, and virtualization experts on staff full time.  You get economy of scale of those expert resources through your cloud provider.

6)      Resiliency and Redundancy – One of the benefits of a private cloud deployment is that you can get automatic failover between hardware platforms and disaster recovery services to bring up your server set in a separate data center should your primary data center experience an outage.

Cloud computing provides some strong benefits.  Selecting a public or private cloud implementation will depend on your application, performance, security and compliance requirements, but with the proper deployment cloud computing can provide significant savings, better IT services, and a higher level of reliability.

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