In our first two series of this topic we discussed what the cloud is and security. You can find those stories here:
In this installment let’s look at the differences between cloud and local computing. In its simplest form cloud computing refers to using the Internet, storing your data and even your applications in the Internet. It also means you are using someone else’s hardware to run applications or view your stored data.
First, let define a few terms:
Client: Your computer – it consist of your computer, which must connect to a server that runs software for application or data delivery. A client is useless without its counterpart – the server.
Server: A Remote computer – this is the platform consisting of the computer hardware and software that feeds the client computer information. This, in the cloud is normally a remote computer. This computer can be as simplistic as a single low-end computer to a more sophisticated cluster of many computers working as one with lots of memory and hard drive storage.
Platform: also known as Platform As A service (PaaS), – delivers a computing platform and solution, often consuming cloud infrastructure that sustain cloud applications. It enables deployment of applications without the cost and complexity of buying and managing hardware and software.
Infrastructure: Cloud infrastructure services, also known as “infrastructure as a service” (IaaS), – deliver computer infrastructure – typically the platform environment – as a service, is hardware, software, storage and networking. Rather than purchasing servers, software, routers, switches, firewalls and data-center space or network equipment, clients instead buy those resources as a fully outsourced service.
Application: Cloud application services or “Software as a Service (SaaS)” – deliver software as a service over the Internet, eliminating the need to install and run the application on the customer’s own computers and simplifying maintenance and support.
Now that we have some of the terminology out-of-the-way let’s look at the differences of cloud computing vs. local computing.
OK – let’s discuss local computing first. Of course as you already know, you do this every day. This is, in fact your normal computer use – your computer, your software, and your headaches when something goes wrong. You are responsible for everything. You must purchase all hardware and software. You must also install and configure these yourself. At the end of the day – you pay for and own everything. This can get very expensive depending on your taste and configurations. Let’s look at a computer configuration that has Microsoft Windows 7, Microsoft Office 2010 Professional and Quickbooks. Let’s say this computer has 8GB of RAM and a 500GB Hard drive. If you were to purchase this yourself, you would spend the following:
Notebook : $800 (configured as described above)
Microsoft Office 2010 Professional: $499
Quickbooks Pro: $299
First, this price you must pay upfront, unless you make this purchase on a credit card, then you can also add an additional 5 – 20% annually for the use of that credit card. Secondly, you are left on your own, meaning it is on you to configure, fix, and repair any issues that occur. You are also responsible for conducting your own hardware and software updates.
So now let’s look at cloud computing based on the same model above. At Raven Cloud Computing we sell the following
Cloud/Virtual Desktop (Windows 7): $90/month
Microsoft Office 2010 Professional: Included
Quickbooks Pro: $10/month
Total: $100 per month
NOTE: Cloud Desktop is just one of the many cloud services Raven Cloud Computing offers. Please see our website at : www.ravenit.com for a complete list of our cloud offerings.
Now here you do not need to come up with the total cost, instead you pay a low monthly fee to use/lease the hardware and software. Also – you can update this at any time, meaning when a new operating system or software version comes out, you can update to that version, most times at no additional cost or at least a minimal cost. Secondly – maintenance and support in normally on the cloud provider, if something is not working properly or has crashed, the provider is responsible for resolving it at no cost. Try to get Microsoft, Intuit, Adobe and others to provide free tech support. Tech support can become a huge expense sometimes costing more than your original expenditure.
In Summary – the bottom line about cloud computing, it is like leasing a car, you pay a monthly fee and get the use of your selected product. Most times – the maintenance is covered by the dealer. Where things differ are in the fact that there is no lease end. You can use your cloud service as little or as long as you like. With Raven Cloud Computing – we don’t make our user base conform to long-term contracts, instead we offer month-to-mouth leasing. Therefore you can use a cloud service for one or two months, or one to five years. You decide when you are ready to upgrade to a different product, or completely move to a different platform. Many other providers use the same concept.
In closing – would you rather spend $1600 upfront with no support, or world you rather spend a nominal fee like $100 per month with a support staff to help you through most of your computing issues? By the way – I am writing this blog right now on my cloud/virtual desktop, all I needed was an Internet connection. I started it on my desktop in my office, then continued working on it with my notebook while watching a TV show with the family and finally using my mother-in-laws desktop 120 miles from where I originally started writing it. But my desktop never changed because I was using my cloud desktop. I just logged into it from all three locations and picked up where I left off.
If you would like, we provide a free technical assessment. This can be beneficial to new and startup companies that are not sure where to start. Raven Cloud computing provides all of the above mentioned services; you can find these at our website here. For the above mentioned sample of cloud servers or online storage, you can find them here.