I so need the cloud … or do I?


Everyone nowadays talks about “the Cloud” as being the next big thing that ALL companies should be looking at as a part of their IT infrastructure planning. The problem is that the term “Cloud”, has become so ambiguous and attached to so many things that it is hard for most companies to get a handle on what it actually is.

In the most simplistic terms, the Cloud is simply the idea that a computing service, whatever that service may be, is provided by an infrastructure that you, as a user, can’t generally put your hands on. OK, I know, that is very vague and that is precisely the point! The Cloud is fuzzy and blurry. The Cloud provides services as you need them and you, as the user, don’t really care where the service actually “lives”.

The interesting thing about the Cloud is that you may have used Cloud services for years and don’t realize it. If you have used Gmail, Hotmail, or other online email program then you have used a Cloud service. Do you know where Hotmail or Gmail files actually “live”? Not likely and it’s a good bet that you don’t care, either. You simply consume the service.

[Uh Oh – Techie Jargon] Many people will even argue that a virtualized infrastructure such as those provided by VMware vSphere or Microsoft Hyper-V are also “cloudy” because you can turn up or turn down (scale up/down) services or capacity at any time, another hallmark of the Cloud. So, if you have a virtualized environment you should congratulate yourself for having an “internal Cloud”. [End Techie Jargon]

I would argue that the way forward for many is going to be something of a hybrid between on-premise servers (and these can include the virtualized servers/services) and services that actually do live somewhere “out there” on the Internet. In fact, many in the industry are already talking about a “hybrid cloud” and that is pretty much what we see happening over the next few years for many of our customers.

So, what does this hybrid look like?

In simple terms it really means that the services you currently consume within your IT infrastructure will expand so that some services – most likely Line-of-Business app’s (LOB) like accounting programs – will live on with on-premise servers just like they do now (or at least until those applications get written into the cloud too). And other services – email (such as Exchange) and SharePoint being the most obvious ones – move out to a Cloud-hosted service through something like Microsoft Office 365.

The point is that services and programs are evolving and you as the consumer of these services will have choices available to you that you have not had in the past. Do you HAVE to go to the Cloud? No. Is it a good idea to move some services to the Cloud? Probably, it all depends on your particular needs and circumstances. Can itgroove help you with migrating to Cloud services? Absolutely! We are Cloud-friendly, helping customers every step of the way.