Cloud computing is here and it is roaring. For many years before cloud computing actually shaped up and got transformed into an industry, there was a lot of hype. It was considered to be the next big thing. Even today, after cloud computing has evolved substantially, people are still pegging it as the thing of the future. It is apparently the way forward. There was a time when businesses were shrugged at when they did not have websites. Today, if you aren’t using cloud computing or cashing in on it in some way, then you are apparently falling behind.
Beyond the hoopla, there are some voices that argue against cloud computing. Many feel that it is all hype and little substance. Some are of the opinion that it is a fad that will eventually fade away or become less hyped. Sane voices are rare in these times of hyped frenzy. Is cloud computing the way forward or is it just a fad that would eventually die out? To find that out, one has to consider the cloud computing pros and cons. There are obviously certain advantages but there are some disadvantages as well. Whether or not you want a part of this growing industry and wonderful service will depend on how you look at the cloud computing pros and cons.
1. Cloud computing is similar to business process outsourcing in many ways. Every business has a core functional area or forte and there are support functions which are necessary. By outsourcing the support functions to a specialist a business can always focus more on the core expertise or forte. Many companies spend a lot of time, money and resources in setting up, managing and running data centers. There is no need to do that anymore now that cloud computing has become sustainable and bankable. Companies that are not in the business of running data centers will certainly have less expertise and their time and focus would be better utilized if their core functional area is worked on.
2. Cloud computing allows companies to avoid the investments needed to set up data centers and also the huge costs of running them. With infrastructure as a service, businesses can use cloud computing on a requirement basis, avoiding the initial investments and recurring hefty costs of running data centers. Companies offering cloud computing services share the entire cost among many clients and that reduces the charges for businesses hiring the services. Companies will not have to invest in any kind of technical infrastructure required in data centers, there wouldn’t be any manpower needed for the management of the same and the recurring costs can also be averted. However, there would be a recurring cost to hire the cloud computing services but that would be much less in comparison with the investments otherwise.
3. Cloud computing comes with platform as a service. Businesses would get access to developers or application developing platforms. This would allow companies to come up with applications much faster and more efficiently than otherwise.
4. You can automate a lot of things using cloud computing. You don’t have to spend much time attending to your cloud computing account or how your space and services are being used. There is an application programming interface offered by most cloud providers and you can decide what you choose to be monitored, managed and even regulated. You can have systems in place that will do everything for you, without anyone having to play a role actively.
5. Cloud computing is fascinatingly scalable. Whenever you need more space or any kind of additional function or service, you can immediately scale up your account. It can happen overnight with many providers. You can also scale down which will save you money if you are not using the whole gamut of services or space in the cloud. Whatever you need within the ambit of cloud computing which includes infrastructure as a service, platform as a service and often software as a service as well, you would be provided that in no time. All you have to do is initiate the request, sign the dotted lines and make payments as agreed upon. You don’t have to invest in any infrastructure and you don’t have to provide any turnaround time.
6. Cloud computing is very helpful for small to medium sized companies. They don’t really have much need of huge technical infrastructure but they do have needs to use such infrastructure. Cloud computing is the perfect, and possibly the only, answer. Startup companies would also find it more rational to use cloud computing. Shelving costs of acquiring technical infrastructure can mean several months of operational costs, business development expenditure or any other kind of expense being taken care of.
7. Cloud computing also empowers a business to expand. Having a luxury to scale up technical infrastructure in no time would certainly allow the company to think big and it can immediately start to reach out to a larger target audience. Setting up shops in new destinations, within the country or around the world, also becomes easier with cloud computing.
1. Cloud computing has a problem with its consistence. You cannot get consistent performance on infrastructure that is shared. You don’t know how many companies are sharing the same infrastructure. Even if cloud providers declare that or mention that, there is no way of ascertaining if that is the truth. What if limited infrastructure is being shared with more clients than what the infrastructure can handle? Imagine having a bandwidth problem with your internet service provider when they cap the space allowed to you to accommodate other users. This would be the same problems. When there are performance issues with cloud computing, things can get really frustrating and a company may even question if the investment is worthwhile and if the service can be banked upon.
2. There is a perception that cloud computing is not entirely secure. That perception is not stemmed from any rumor or preconceived notion. Cloud computing has shown signs of weakness. Over the last few years, there have been numerous cases of hacking and loss of data, information and even crucial details which should have been classified from cloud accounts. Unless there are a few years when there is no incident with cloud computing security, there will be millions of people who would be unable to trust cloud computing entirely. Besides, no one knows what kind of security a cloud provider actually puts in place. It isn’t like an inspection is being made by civic authorities or enforcement agencies to know if a business is adhering to the security practices. There are standards and ratings which usually determine the security provided by cloud providers but with lack of physical access there is no way of knowing if cloud computing with a particular provider is secured enough.
3. Cloud computing may not suit all types of businesses. Some companies have workloads that can spike up every now and then and cloud computing with its inconsistencies may not be ideal. Not only would performance be hampered but security would also be a concern. Every company has to decide for itself if their workloads, security requirements and investment in cloud computing make collective sense.