With all the main vendors pushing Cloud Computing as the next big thing, it’s now being looked at by many small businesses as a viable alternative to the traditional on premise server.
Before we look at the implications of cloud computing for the typical small business let’s get the buzzwords out of the way.
To put cloud computing into context there are essentially three main approaches to where your IT can be located:
- These applications are hosted, managed and supported by the Service Provider (such as Microsoft) who takes over full responsibility for uptime and upgrades.
- In this model you pay a monthly fee per user to access applications such as email via the web
- In theory this removes the need for a local server
- Microsoft is launching Office 365 as their main offering in this space and we will cover this in the near future
This is where all your key applications and hardware are hosted somewhere ‘in the cloud’ – usually dedicated Data Centre(s).
This is the traditional way of working where a local server or servers runs all of your key applications on a local network.
- A typical SBS server running Exchange is an example of this approach.
- You pay upfront and own all of the hardware and software or use leasing to spread the cost
An approach that combines the best of both worlds.
- A stripped down local server handles the fundamentals (ie storing and allowing access to files locally, sending documents to the printer so you don’t have to go over the internet each time a basic task is carried out)
- Key applications such as email, Sharepoint etc are sourced from a Service Provider and then paid for on a monthly basis per user as and when needed and ‘plugged’ into the local server
In the next blog we discuss how SBS 2011 allows you to move into the cloud.