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What is 'The Cloud'?

It is simply using the same tools and applications you use every day, but doing that via the internet (or 'in the cloud'), rather than via the networked hardware sitting in your office.

 When talking about operating in the cloud, most companies are concerned with security and the service levels.  Microsoft has invested heavily to ensure that their datacenters and communications are secure.  Microsoft also have a financially backed Service Level Agreement, with a guaranteed availability of 99.9%.

There are different types of cloud deployment, public, community and private.

  • The public cloud is using third party datacenters to hold your data and software off-site.  This has the maximum operational expenditure savings.
  • A community cloud is where a number of companies with similar requirements share their resources, including infrastructure.  The operational expenditure of all the companies in the community cloud are reduced.
  • A private cloud is delivering cloud computing on a private network.  This will have very little impact on operational expenditure, as the hardware development and maintenance costs are retained by the company.




The IDC questioned their enterprise panel on the challenges of cloud computing in August 2008.  The graph below represents their answers.

Cloud Challenges

Obviously, since then there have been significant improvements to the cloud infrastructure, not least the introduction of worldwide datacenters by Microsoft, and a genuine commitment to provide software for the cloud.  To see more detail on the Microsoft software available in the cloud, go to our page 'Microsoft In the Cloud'.


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