Cloud Advantages and Disadvantages

A particular piece of software can appear to be a cheaper option on the cloud, compared to the same software run in-house. But is it the same? It might be a stripped down version, missing some features. Do you need all the features; maybe the stripped down version is better for you, or maybe something is missing. Is it an updated an improved version, but incompatible with the other software that you have on your own system. If you buy into somebody else’s cloud there tends to be compatibility between the different systems there (tends to be, not always though); but it may not be compatible with some package you have in house. Even moving text from a movie-script to a word package can result in pages of unformatted sentences – no paragraph breaks, no spaces, just one long lump of words. And that is a minor example.
Inflexibility. This need not be too much of an issue if you understand your own requirements in advance. There are so many cloud possibilities that you should be able to find one that suits your business needs. Else, you can have a private cloud that is set up the way you want. Transferring all your old files will be an issue, but remember that you are making a major upgrade, and that major upgrades are a step ahead and essential lest you be left behind. Your previous system is soon to be an obsolete system. Being locked into a system is an issue, however. The solution is a combination of flexibility and being locked into a system that works well.
Security issues. These receive a huge amount of publicity. Probably less common that the media might have us believe, but truly disastrous when they do occur. There is an advantage here that smaller businesses have with the cloud; the cloud provider can provide more security for a group of small companies than a single company could afford on their own. And if your company has a system on the net at all (even pre-cloud) is has some security concerns. Watch for situations where information is moved automatically. The celebrity cloud photo hacks seemed to be of photos that were automatically backed up to the cloud. If it was never on the cloud in the first place it is far less likely to be leaked. Also remember, you may have to convince your clients that the cloud is secure and not just yourself.
Possible downtime. Not a regular occurrence, but it is a fact of life. Can you afford to be offline for long? Can at least some downtime be scheduled in advance? There should be regular maintenance. Look for systems with redundancy that let you access data all the time; they run at least two systems concurrently and let one update the other. Also look for a minimal downtime guarantee.

PRIVATE OR PUBLIC CLOUD?

With the cloud we can connect large pools of resources via a network, significantly reducing costs if we plan things well, and scaling use to suit our needs. But there differences in public, private or hybrid clouds.

Public clouds are owned by a third party. There is the advantage of sharing in something that has been bought in bulk, reducing costs. There is also the advantage that you only pay for what you use, and you can expand and pay for more use quite quickly. Your customers can also have this advantage, expanding rapidly if needed but only paying for what is actually used. This system is vastly different to the previous non-cloud model where companies had to estimate in advance what storage space was needed; overestimation meant paying for too much, underestimation meant missed opportunities and a mad rush to upscale the operation.
This disadvantage of this public facility was that users had that public’s infrastructure to work within, which may or may not have been what they wanted. However, with multiple third parties offering public clouds companies can usually find one that fits their needs.

Private cloud is built exclusively for an individual enterprise. The company can completely control the infrastructure and resources, and do whatever they wish to handle security. An on-premise private cloud allows complete control of the system, but the physical hardware and its storage capacity have to be estimated and purchased in advance, limiting the fast scalability that was one of the attractions of the cloud in the first place. Still, company employees can share resources and files efficiently.
Externally hosted Private Clouds are hosted by an external cloud provider. Unlike the public cloud there is a fair guarantee of privacy and the infrastructure can be set up to the individual business’s needs.
Hybrid clouds combine the advantages of private and public. Scalability can be external and provided as needed, but the system can use an infrastructure that the business find appropriate. There is more than one type of hybrid, so options vary considerably. It is possible for companies to use a public cloud to spill over any needs not met on their private cloud, and update the private facilities latter on.

CLOUD WINDOWS ON GOOGLE

Google’s cloud platform will be modified to make it more compatible with windows licenses and applications. As well as the obvious convenience of moving windows apps to the new cloud platforms, and the advantage of using familiar programmes, the compatibility of cloud means there will be no additional licencing fees for those already using windows licences.

A large portion of today’s business needs run on windows, and Google wants to cater to this cloud. Other cloud platforms have already had windows compatibility, but there is a desire with some companies to be present on more than one platform. One reason for this is that the companies want to avoid being locked into one service provider, where fees can be considerable. Using one vendor makes any future changes difficult, as everything has to be moved. Multiple platforms means that only the contents of one platform needs to be moved during a change. The other reason for multiple platforms is to take advantage of the different services each platform offers.

It has already been announced that Windows server 2008 R2 Datacentre Edition is running on the Google cloud platform, with the latter Windows server 2012 and 2012 R2 coming in the near future. SQL server and sharepoint and exchange server are already transferable to cloud to those who have already paid their Microsoft fees, without additional cost. And customers are also being offered free use of the popular chrome RDP app, which has been optimized for cloud.

Google has come a little later to the cloud hosting game, but if the customer’s companies do want to spread themselves across platforms then they may not be too disadvantaged. Google is a large group in its own right. Customers wanting several cloud platforms will certainly consider including Google along with the other bigger names.

References
http://www.businesscloudnews.com/2014/12/09/google-cloud-now-accepting-windows-apps/\

https://gigaom.com/2014/12/08/google-wants-your-windows-apps-on-its-cloud/