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Cloud Computing: Benefits and Definition

Posted on 12.17.2008

A day does not pass here at Website Magazine where we don't get a question on cloud computing. As such, we thought we'd do our best to explain the concept (and technology) in its absolute simplest form and let you know what we think its benefits are to Web professionals.

Cloud computing relies on shared computing resources rather than having local, dedicated services to handle applications. The objective is to apply high-performance computing power to consumer-oriented applications. Cloud computing networks are essentially large groups of servers, usually those with low-cost consumer PC technology, with specialized connections to spread data-processing chores across them. This shared IT infrastructure contains large pools of systems that are linked together. 

The benefits of cloud computing to Web professionals are many (which is why you hear so much about it):

  • Lower up-front costs – Instead of buying hardware, software and consultants to set up and run applications, businesses can pay a cloud-based provider “by-the-drink.”
  • Faster time to market – The ability to deploy and scale your app in hours without changing code ultimately enables companies to begin making a profit sooner.
  • Reduced financial risk – Instead of the entire financial risk taken upfront, with uncertain return, financial risk is taken monthly and matched to return.
  • Lower CapEx - Cloud computing model leverages commodity hardware and eliminates unnecessary over-provisioning, allowing a utility pricing mode.
  • Lower OpEx - Administrators are freed from tedious manual provisioning and management of servers, so application operations are streamlined.
  • Decreased downtime & costly delays - Businesses can add capabilities quickly without investing in new hardware or having uncertainty of data loss and downtime - and scale from a fraction of a server to hundreds of CPUs in days.
  • Additional services - Services include more security, redundancy, bandwidth, and dedicated expert staff than most small and mid-size businesses can afford on their own.
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