Written by Melissa Rudd
Check this article out as it appears in our March Issue of Business Review Canada. Trust us, it's way cooler to read this article when you can flip through our user-friendly e-reader.
How do I increase productivity and innovation? How will I provide access to real-time data and analytics? How can I profitably tackle the volume of web-based data, yet streamline my complex network of internal data center systems? How can my technical staff focus on innovation instead of system maintenance? How can I provide the most efficient infrastructure and services model so my customers can be even more successful?
Cloud computing is the answer. Organizations are turning to large-scale computing clouds and associated services; a market that IDC has pegged to grow by more than 40% over the next three years in Canada.
IBM recently invested $42-million to create the IBM Computer Cloud Centre in Canada. The new Centre will help Canadian organizations reduce costs, increase efficiencies and access new technologies such as analytics and mobile computing. In addition, the Centre will be able to keep data secure and resident within Canadian borders in accordance with Canadian privacy law.
Cloud computing is set to transform how IT is purchased, sourced and delivered over the next decade. It has ushered in a new era of responsive and efficient IT service delivery, effectively addressing the challenges Canadian organizations face in a Web 3.0, real-time information, globally competitive world.
The IBM Compute Cloud Centre will offer a pay-as-you-go service, allowing Canadian government organizations and businesses to develop, host and test applications while paying only for the computational power they use. Customers will have access to virtual servers, selected software and storage capacity on a per-hour basis.
Cloud computing is both a business model and a user experience. It is a service delivery model in which large pools of computer systems are linked together to deliver services over a network. Employees see only the application interface without being concerned about the implementation or infrastructure behind it. Think of buying an item on eBay or sending Internet mail. The cloud computing model is the “big box services store” that provides the secure backbone for both.
Cloud services include not only simple programs and services such as email or instant messaging; they also include complex applications such as customer-relation management, databases and application servers. The cloud computing model allows large corporations to focus on their strategic applications or on only those aspects of IT they wish to operate themselves.
Cloud computing saves energy and operating costs by pooling IT resources, scaling up or down as needed, and putting computer power to use, rather than drawing energy while remaining idle. With a click of a mouse, services can be either expanded or contracted. For example, Info-Tech Research Group has observed that most computer servers run full-time, but are used at only 10 to 20 per cent of capacity.
Companies can use the advanced technologies that cloud computing offers to exchange digital information around the world and across a variety of devices. Consumers are able to quickly tap the strength of the cloud computing model for mobile banking and shopping as the cloud meets the high-performance demands of the dynamic Web, processing massive amounts of information in split seconds.
Organizations concerned about driving higher profitability see cloud computing as a way to do more with fewer resources, while rolling out new applications, meeting peak workloads and saving on real-estate, power and cooling costs associated with traditional technology infrastructure.
Various cloud computing models exist to securely meet the specific needs. Some data may not be permitted to leave an enterprise, or a specific geographic location because of corporate or government regulations. It is essential to evaluate which workloads can be sourced through public clouds and which kept in-house and delivered through private clouds, which remain behind your enterprise firewall. Many companies adopt hybrid approaches which integrate both private and public platforms to meet their specific requirements.
No matter which type of cloud computing platform your organization adopts, it will help drive new ideas, products and services to market faster, while freeing internal resources to continue to innovate to compete in a global, ever-connected world.
There’s no better time to start moving your business to the clouds for a competitive advantage.