What is Cloud


In the simplest terms, cloud computing means storing and accessing data and programs over the Internet instead of your computer's hard drive. The cloud is just a metaphor for the Internet.

For it to be considered 'cloud computing', you need to access your data or your programs over the Internet, or at the very least, have that data synchronised with other information over the Web.

Cloud computing and storage solutions provide users and enterprises with various capabilities to store and process their data in third-party data centres. It relies on sharing of resources to achieve coherence and economies of scale, similar to a utility (like the electricity grid) over a network. At the foundation of cloud computing is the broader concept of converged infrastructure and shared services.

Some businesses choose to implement Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), where the business subscribes to an application it accesses over the Internet. (Think Salesforce.com.) There's also Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS), where a business can create its own custom applications for use by all in the company. And don't forget the mighty Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS), where players like Amazon, Microsoft, Google, and Rackspace provide a backbone that can be 'rented out' by other companies.

Proponents claim that cloud computing allows companies to avoid upfront infrastructure costs, and focus on projects that differentiate their businesses instead of on infrastructure. Proponents also claim that cloud computing allows enterprises to get their applications up and running faster, with improved manageability and less maintenance, and enables IT to more rapidly adjust resources to meet fluctuating and unpredictable business demand. Cloud providers typically use a "pay as you go" model. This can lead to unexpectedly high charges if administrators do not adapt to the cloud pricing model.

Cloud computing has now become a highly demanded service or utility due to the advantages of high computing power, cheap cost of services, high performance, scalability, accessibility as well as availability. Cloud vendors are experiencing growth rates of 50% per annum. But due to being in a stage of infancy, it still has some pitfalls which need to be given proper attention to make cloud computing services more reliable and user friendly.

The Cloud Market

Cloud’s growth over the last few years has been phenomenal, and there has been a massive shift towards cloud technologies within the IT industry. The value of the cloud services market in South Africa has grown to $229.69 million in 2014 , and over the next three years cloud’s strategic importance to business users is expected to double from 34% to 72%.

Business leaders are currently working through this transition with cloud. For some time, many have benefited from early applications of cloud computing and the basic efficiency gained from IT delivered as a service.

But now cloud is sparking imaginations.

Cloud adopters are outperforming the competition, delivering on average, higher revenue and gross profit growth than their peers. To outperform the competition, cloud adopters are building competitive advantage in three primary ways:

  • Strategic Reinvention
  • Better Decisions
  • Deeper Collaboration

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