When it comes to the new cloud market, many businesses find themselves unsure of what direction to go, and if the cloud is right for them. Many have heard about virtual private servers and seen some mention of the cloud in advertisements, but are unsure about what all of the terms mean and how exactly a cloud environment can benefit their business. This is in some part due to confusion on the part of large providers like Amazon, Microsoft and VMware, each of which is trying to carve out a niche for themselves in the industry.
The idea behind the cloud is that it provides the ability to access systems, data, infrastructure and applications from anywhere that a company has Internet access, and by anyone who has the right permissions. Storage on the cloud is flexible, meaning that data can be moved and aligned as a company needs it to be. In many cases, the initial cost of cloud services is less than that of physical servers, and the uptime provided by many cloud offerings rivals or exceeds that of in-house server technology. The scalability of cloud servers can also be of benefit for companies that have websites with peaks and valleys in traffic and that need varying levels of support.
Clouds are divided into two main types – public and private, with public being those that are used by multiple companies and private those for a specific business. Both are still in development in many respects, but new options like open-source cloud computing and developer-focused platforms are coming to light, making the cloud a solid place for even a small or medium-sized business to plant its feet and start benefiting from a number of new cloud benefits.