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- Software as a Service (SaaS)
- Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)
- Platform as a Service (PaaS)
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To compete in today's marketplace you need a cost-effective IT infrastructure that can scale rapidly to meet business demands. Nexus has developed a growing portfolio of cloud computing solutions to help you achieve these goals. We work closely with industry partners to offer you advice and supply turnkey solutions based on pretested, preassembled, fully-supported hardware, software and services.
What is Cloud Computing?
Cloud computing is a term to describe the delivery of IT as a service. There are many different cloud computing solutions to consider when planning your organisation's IT strategy and they are grouped into three service models:
Software as a Service (SaaS)
SaaS is essentially "software applications on demand" that are accessed over the internet or deployed to run behind a firewall on a local area network. Business software applications delivered using SaaS are often purchased as a "per user" subscription, in a "pay-as-you-go" model. A wide range of software applications can be delivered through the SaaS model to save you the cost of deploying and managing the software, such as email, customer relationship management, collaboration and enterprise resource management.
Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)
IaaS enables you to avoid purchasing servers, software and network equipment, and deploying them in your own building. Instead you buy or rent these resources from an ISP or hosting provider as a fully outsourced service, typically paid for on a utility computing basis for the amount of resources consumed. You can access your IaaS over the internet and self-provision the computing, storage and network resources you need to deploy and run your computer network and software applications.
Platform as a Service (PaaS)
PaaS is a mixture of IaaS and SaaS to create a software development and hosting environment made up of development tools, databases, middleware and infrastructure software.
There are three common deployment models for cloud computing services:
Operated and hosted by your own IT department or by an external provider for exclusive use by your organisation.
Open to any number of organisations and individual users on a shared basis. Using a public cloud minimizes your initial capital investment and combines agility and efficiency with massive scalability.
Linking private and public clouds provides access to extra resources when the private cloud hits maximum utilisation. Alternatively, a hybrid cloud might split computing by tier between private and public clouds so that a database may reside in the private cloud while the application server is located in the public cloud.
What Are the Benefits?
After years of rapid IT evolution many businesses are left with complex, overgrown computing platforms that are often underutilised. These systems take up valuable office space, depreciate quickly, consume large amounts of power and cooling resources, and often cause an excessive management, support and maintenance burden. This rigid architecture makes it hard for an IT department to quickly adapt to changing business demands, increase utilisation and improve efficiency.
In most cases cloud computing solutions address these challenges by:
- Reducing capital expenditure and operational overhead
- Increasing business responsiveness and efficiency
- Offering greater flexibility through an on-demand, pay-as-you-go model that scales with your business
- Allowing you more choice in providers — use in-house or third-party vendors
- Freeing up IT resources for innovation
What Are the Risks?
The risks associated with deploying a cloud computing strategy are likely to be linked to a number of important factors that include the size and growth of your workforce, location(s), IT budgets, industry sector and operational constraints. The following risks need to be assessed before you can move some, or all, of your IT infrastructure and software applications into the cloud.
Reliance on bandwidth
If your cloud solution is accessed across the internet you need fast, resilient internet access that doesn't cost the earth. What are the implications if you lose internet access and what do you need to spend to ensure that it can't happen?
Bandwidth cost versus performance
If all of your users now rely on fast, resilient internet access to be productive, how will the systems and applications perform under heavy load? Will I be able to afford the increased bandwidth costs as more users demand greater performance? In a private cloud this might not matter, but with a public cloud the cost to increase bandwidth performance for all users must be identified.
Resilience and redundancy
If you outsource the delivery of your infrastructure or software application you need to know about your cloud provider's hosting data centre. Do they offer resilience and redundancy with multiple data centres worldwide? What does the service level agreement guarantee for performance, scalability and availability?
Security and data protection
If you use a public cloud then you need to know the type of data and its classification (who can see it) before you move it to the cloud. This means taking the time through internal governance to make sure that the data is appropriate. Should your organisation put an application that provides competitive advantage or contains customer-sensitive information in the public cloud? If you’re looking to achieve and maintain data privacy requirements for PCI compliance, HIPAA compliance, SOX, and E-commerce for example, then public cloud computing might not be the solution for you.
In-house versus outsourced
If you are a large enterprise organisation with an existing infrastructure and IT team you are less likely to see an enormous financial advantage in outsourcing to an external cloud provider. Cloud computing improves resource utilisation, but the gains are greatest when moving from relatively small consumption of resources upwards. If you're a very large enterprise, you might find you can achieve better economy by creating your own cloud. If you are a small organisation you may still need the same number of IT support personnel who will perform a slightly different role, but still have to manage the same systems remotely.
Managing the migration to the cloud
If you implement a next-generation IT model it often puts a training demand on the IT team and general workforce. Organisations often have to re-engineer some of their processes or operational procedures to accommodate a cloud computing solution and be willing to drive the changes forward to achieve a return on investment (ROI).
How Can Nexus Help?
At Nexus we have gained a wealth of experience over the years by helping customers of all sizes to incorporate cloud computing into their IT strategies. Our systems engineers work closely with you and our industry partners to evaluate, select, deploy and support a solution that mitigates the associated risks, while leveraging the flexibility and benefits that can be found when you outsource all or part of your IT environment.
The next step in assessing your specific requirements is to arrange a free evaluation to collate the key information we need to recommend a provider or technology partner. Contact our sales team if you would like to find out how your organisation can take advantage of cloud computing.