Shall we put our heads in the cloud?
A report into the plausibility of investing in cloud computing
December 1st 2014
Anonymous student number: Z0942701
* Objectives of the report
* Overview of subject matter
* ...view middle of the document...
Starting by introducing the topic with a definition of cloud computing and then running through a brief history. Moving on to describe and explain the different cloud computing services, together with how their advantages and disadvantages. Using real life examples to help develop understanding. Then an explanation of how these services can be deployed to businesses. Finally summarising general advantages and disadvantages and concluding with a summary of the main points, my findings and recommendations.
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” (Mell and Grance, 2011).
There are three main types of cloud computing service. Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) and Infrastructure-as-a-Service. These services can be deployed in four different ways. Private clouds, Public clouds, Hybrid clouds and Community clouds.
The key motivating factors for an investment in cloud computing are cost reductions through on-demand scalability, reduction in capital investment and the pay-per-use/ subscription pricing models. Flexibility through scalability of hardware, software and platforms and device and location independent systems. Access to resources such as expert IT personnel and advanced technologies at the fraction of the cost of internal or organics growth.
The main drawbacks and challenges are pollution and energy consumption concerns of data centres. Security risks that come from multi-tenancy and exposing data to a third party. Uncertain, unstable pricing models and potential for high switching costs between providers. Problems implementing change and staffing issues. Service availability and business longevity.
My recommendations are that businesses adopt a fast follower approach. Watch their market closely to see how businesses plan, develop and implement cloud computing strategies and see and whether they succeed or fail. This way there will be a low risk of any hidden surprises and when he time is right take the inevitable plunge, executing a fast, focused low risk cloud computing strategy.
National Institute of Standards and Technology or NIST definitions are used throughout to promote consistency in my explanation of different concepts.
I have focused on the distinct benefits and drawbacks of each ‘as-a-service’, but the reader should be aware that there is significant overlap and that all services within each definition are fully integrated up to and including there respective levels, thus incorporating any sub levels. Starting with IaaS then onto PaaS and finally SaaS. Naturally I have spent more time analysing IaaS as this can be a service...