Cloud computing is one of those fascinating terms that can be used to describe all types of IT processes and delivery platforms. It can be used to illustrate access to applications through a browser-based experience. Alternatively, cloud computing is about having your entire infrastructure hosted by a third-party provider, or utilising someone else’s IT. On the flip side, it can even be running a private computing pool to allocate resources within your own organisation.
Cloud is also being touted as a new costing model for procuring IT systems and services, much like managed services. And many think virtualisation has been a catalyst for on-demand computing offerings because it gives organisations the ability to better utilise server infrastructure and host multiple environments on the one box.
While such a broad-sweeping concept opens all manner of opportunities, it is also inevitable it will lead to market confusion and contradiction. This Below the Line Supplement looks to provide some clarity around cloud computing, as well as what prospects it presents to the IT channel. ARN recently held a roundtable with a range of industry representatives to knuckle out what cloud computing is all about, and how they see the channel playing in this sky-high opportunity. At a broad level, attendees agreed cloud computing was a new service delivery model giving customers scalable access to IT products and services.
But what was also immediately apparent – besides varying nuances in the way everyone described cloud – was some challenges hindering adoption. The first, was a need for standards and interoperability around the cloud computing concept. The second, was developing applications specifically for an on-demand world.
During the event, participants also touched on what customer segments would be most receptive to a cloud computing approach. While many new IT products and solutions initially gain traction in the enterprise market, where budgets are bigger and technology understanding is higher, cloud computing is expected to make ground in the SMB and mid-market space first precisely because these organisations don’t have to have IT skills or dedicated infrastructure in-house. Similarly to outsourcing, cloud computing gives smaller organisations the ability to access low-risk, cost-effective IT from someone else and let them focus on doing what they do best: Running their business.
Alongside a transcript of our Cloud Computing roundtable, we’ve included a case study looking at how Melbourne IT’s hosted infrastructure offering allowed one organisation to lessen its capital expenditure on IT while accessing superior, scalable technology and skills to run its online presence.
Our more ‘uniquely’ positioned feature and statistics also investigate how several industry experts define the cloud computing phenomenon.