The Cloud is cool. It’s the latest thing! Everyone wants to touch it and have access to it. All the big vendors make stuff that supposedly delivers the Cloud to you. But…what’s the Cloud? I have probably met more entrepreneurs over the past 5 years that were doing Cloud Computing, or Cloud Storage, or building a Cloud Provider, or providing Cloud Services or Apps running in the Cloud, or building infrastructure for the Cloud than in any other technology area.
Two things are usually missing when you ask about them: who is the actual customer and does he need your cool, new Cloudy-thing? And, how will YOU make money so you can sustain your business?
What most people talk about when they talk about “The Cloud” is the availability of raw compute resources, storage capacity, or applications that are available away from an end user’s physical location and are owned or managed by a third-party that makes those resources available to anyone who wants to use them and is willing to pay the fee. These are “Public Clouds.” Amazon is probably the most well-known public cloud provider for compute (application virtual machines spun up on their infrastructure) or storage. Rackspace and Savvis are other public cloud providers for both compute as well as storage, as is Microsoft Azure. There are quite a few providers that offer storage-only or backup to the Cloud including Dropbox, Axcient, Accelion and others.
(Although it’s not technically “Cloud,” Software-as-a-Service providers sometimes are called Cloud Application Providers because their apps are accessed and instances are managed by the customer even though the actual infrastructure is in someone else’s datacenter and managed remotely by the provider. The best example of this is Salesforce.com, but there are others like SuccessFactors as well.)
Why would anyone think the Cloud is cool? For one, it’s fully virtualized, meaning you can start up servers or applications as you want them and discard them when you are done. Secondly, it “bursts” or is able to add resources to what you are using when you are using it, as needed.
But these public Cloud providers have an issue – all your stuff is there: critical data, applications, information about the company, files, etc. Enough stuff to bury you. And, these services are not secure and are not always-on. Dropbox was down for FIFTEEN HOURS earlier this year and Microsoft’s Azure was down for 12 hours. Google had 3 outages in one week in March alone. A number of these services and others have been taken down and hacked for users’ personal information, passwords, and other data supposedly secure.
So how do midmarket customers (i.e. SMEs) feel about the Cloud? Research shows 90 percent of them feel they need to keep their critical applications and data within their own control on their own site. The top applications they want to keep onsite are Finance, Manufacturing, Document Management, Content Management and Email.
But the Cloud is cool because of virtualization and bursting, right? How do you get that?
From the Coolest Cloud of All – the Small Private Cloud, Scale Computing’s hyperconverged HC3. HC3 is all the servers, shared storage and virtualization a midsize company needs to run their datacenter and critical apps, fully integrated into an appliance cluster and manageable from a single browser window. This is why HC3 is the best-selling hyperconverged product on the market after just 6 months since its introduction. It was built for midsize companies, and includes all the licenses and even premium support. HC3 has an operating system that looks like Cloud – it takes a few mouse clicks to create or move VMs. And, it bursts capacity simply by adding HC3 nodes to an existing cluster. The cluster does the configuration.
That is the Cloud made easy. And, the Coolest Cloud of All.
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