What is the cloud?

While “the cloud” can mean a variety of different things, in strict IT terms it refers to resources such as networks, services, storage, applications, and services that are delivered over the Internet and are:

  • On-demand – Always available and delivered whenever and wherever they are needed.
  • Metered – Service providers can bill customers based on actual usage, instead of the flat-rate approach of licensed on-premise software.
  • Elastic – Rapid, seamless, and cost-efficient scalability is available to support large numbers of users as the customer’s needs grow.

Cloud deployments come in several varieties. These include:

  • Public cloud – Cloud services are delivered to the consumer on shared IT infrastructure by a third-party service provider. To ensure security, most public cloud solutions offer secure multitenancy to isolate access to client data and configurations from each other.
  • Private cloud – Cloud services are delivered to a single organization on dedicated IT infrastructure. Private cloud deployments can have many of the same elastic and service capabilities as a public cloud.
  • Hybrid cloud – Both corporate and third-party infrastructure work in tandem to deliver services. Organizations can move specific types of workloads from an internal data center to a public cloud provider, as needed, to meet various needs such as making internal documents more easily available to users beyond the firewall, adding burst capacity on-demand for short-term storage or processing needs, or increasing fault tolerance. IT can typically manage access and security across both public and private elements of the hybrid cloud from a single console.

For all the hype around the cloud, it is not a single remedy for all that ails modern IT. Rather, it is an approach to delivering software that can solve a specific type of problem. Organizations should evaluate the cloud in the context of the real problems they need to address and decide for themselves whether a cloud solution is right for them.

Source: HP Business Whitepaper

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