Feeds

Trevor Pott's guide to pricing up the cloud

Does scale equal less cost?

Application security programs and practises

IaaS

It is increasingly easy to realising value from hosted cloud services. Not having your own IT plant removes direct costs; equipment, licensing, power, cooling, rent and other overheads.

IaaS, or infrastructure-as-a-service, enables sysadmins to refocus efforts away from keeping the lights on; allowing them instead to focus on R&D that moves the business forward by using technology to streamline other business elements.

IaaS is the ability to take your existing infrastructure – typically, virtual machines – and host it in someone else’s data centre. The reason to do this is simple; large IaaS providers have redundant bandwidth, power, cooling and global distribution unavailable to smaller organisations.

IaaS providers can also give their customers the ability to rapidly provision servers and bandwidth to deal with spikes in demand, say, or to roll-out services much more quickly. (The Open Group explores the ROI of Cloud and elastic services more fully, here.)

Depending on circumstances IaaS may very well allow organisations to get by with fewer sysadmins. This is an important consideration, as payroll is part of the burden companies are looking to the cloud to help them avoid.

But users of IaaS will still typically require at least one sysadmin. Hosted infrastructure is still infrastructure; management of applications is not normally part of the deal.

Software as a Service

SaaS is the easiest category of cloudy offering to understand.

A developer writes an application, hosts it somewhere on the internet and you pay for it. A subscription model is typical, but by no means a requirement. SaaS applications are typically delivered through a browser, but not always. Hosted Exchange is one example offering full functionality via both traditional and browser-based email clients.

For SMEs, cloud-based software gives them access to software that they could neither afford to build themselves or buy in, or it could free up resources for business-critical work.

For instance, The Register, home to about 50 staff, has three software developers, who concentrate on the home-grown content management system, improving the websites and reader accounts systems (and a bit of sysadmin work.) CRM, accountancy software, office apps and email are all contracted out to SaaS providers.

Do companies really need to run their own email systems? Hasn’t this technology been around for long enough that we can trust someone else to take care of it without problems? What about the corporate instant messenger, spam filtering, malware protection, web hosting, CRM or dozens of other “basic services"?

These are mundane items; no individual service consumes an inordinate amount of time. Yet in my environment, these “minor” services occupy dozens of virtual machines on several servers. Maintenance overhead alone is at least a month’s worth of my time every year. This is before taking into consideration of testing and replacing the relevant hardware each refresh cycle.

Integration of these services is where the real time is consumed. Cloud providers with multi-application “stacks” can deal with some of this as well.

For those applications sourced outside of a stack, integrating them into existing – or planned – infrastructure is rarely more difficult than integrating those applications would be were they run locally. In the same vein, if you have a stack of applications running locally that are all tightly integrated, breaking this up to host elements elsewhere makes little sense.

Bridging the IT gap between rising business demands and ageing tools

Next page: Vendor scale

More from The Register

next story
Auntie remains MYSTIFIED by that weekend BBC iPlayer and website outage
Still doing 'forensics' on the caching layer – Beeb digi wonk
Attack of the clones: Oracle's latest Red Hat Linux lookalike arrives
Oracle's Linux boss says Larry's Linux isn't just for Oracle apps anymore
THUD! WD plonks down SIX TERABYTE 'consumer NAS' fatboy
Now that's a LOT of porn or pirated movies. Or, you know, other consumer stuff
Apple fanbois SCREAM as update BRICKS their Macbook Airs
Ragegasm spills over as firmware upgrade kills machines
EU's top data cops to meet Google, Microsoft et al over 'right to be forgotten'
Plan to hammer out 'coherent' guidelines. Good luck chaps!
US judge: YES, cops or feds so can slurp an ENTIRE Gmail account
Crooks don't have folders labelled 'drug records', opines NY beak
Manic malware Mayhem spreads through Linux, FreeBSD web servers
And how Google could cripple infection rate in a second
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Prevent sensitive data leakage over insecure channels or stolen mobile devices.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.