Is pay-as-you-go computing for real? Can companies actually treat computing resources as if they were a public utility?
In a word, yes. Cloud computing allows you to do just that.
To tap into a public cloud â a pool of resources that is hosted and made available over the internet by a third party â your company simply pays a subscription fee. You can scale up your access as your business needs intensify. And if you decide to go a different direction, you can simply cancel your contract.
It’s like switching long-distance providers.
Pay-as-you-go computing is simple enough in theory. But due to the dizzying array of resources that are now available in the cloud, it can be difficult to determine where and how to get started.
So, let’s take a closer look at the types of resources that are commonly offered as a serviceâ in a pay-as-you-go model: software, platform, and infrastructure.
Software as a Service (SaaS)
Have you ever used Google Docs to enhance collaboration? That’s SaaS. So are Salesforce.com, Taleo, Zendesk, and many other popular business applications.
The benefits to SaaS are obvious: by accessing applications over the internet rather than installing their equivalents locally, you eliminate the need to maintain apps and their servers. You can get started without buying additional hardware.
Since you’ll typically pay a monthly or yearly subscription fee based on your number of users or licenses, you avoid a major outlay up-front. And if you decide to switch applications, there’s no sunk costâ because you never bought the software â you only rentedâ it.
Platform as a Service (PaaS)
If you like the idea of SaaS, but still want to be able to build your own functionality into your pay-as-you-go applications, consider PaaS. With PaaS, you get access not only to a powerful business application, but also to development tools that let you customize the app to fit your business needs.
The best example of PaaS is the Force.com platform offered by Salesforce.com. Sure, you can use Salesforce right out of the box. But many customers use Force.com to build custom business apps that work with Salesforce and run on Salesforce’s servers.
In addition to delivering many of the same benefits as SaaS, PaaS enables you to save on development tools. Some PaaS offerings actually make development easy enough for business users, which can further reduce your development costs.
Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)
You might be tempted to think computing infrastructure is the one thing that can’t be offered as a service. But don’t forget that online storage such as Amazon Simple Storage Service and online computing capacity such as Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud both qualify as IaaS.
With IaaS, you pay only for the processor cycles, megabytes, storage read/writes, or number of virtual machines your users actually consume. It’s a handy option for companies that want to expand their operations without making major technology purchases.
Your IaaS contract will hold your provider to a certain service level in terms of uptime and scalability. As your needs increase, most IaaS providers will typically scale up your resources automatically â and then reflect this change in your monthly bill.
Getting Started with Pay-As-You-Go Computing
With potential benefits like these, should you simply tap into the cloud whenever you can? There’s more to it than that. For example, depending on your number of users, it may actually be more cost-effective to install certain business applications, rather than subscribing to SaaS. And if you’ve already invested heavily in development tools â and developers â you may want to continue to leverage that investment, rather than jumping into a PaaS offering.
At any rate, you’ll also need to ensure the utmost security and availability for your cloud solutions. One way to do so is to work with an established vendor such as IBM. Not only does IBM have deep industry and strategy expertise, but the company walks its talk â they’ve adopted cloud computing for significant parts of their own business.
Think about the impressive track record IBM can bring to your next cloud project:
- More than 100 petabytes under management.
- Currently protecting critical data for more than 3,000 clients.
- Consistently support over 850 terabytes per systems administrator â one of the highest ratios in the industry. This helps reduce labor costs, and ultimately, your service delivery cost.
- Monthly management of more than 12 million backup events, with planned expansion capacity for 50 million over the next 12 months.
- Twelve patents pending worldwide.Choosing your cloud vendor is an important decision.
ConRes has been helping companies like yours make the right technology
decisions for 45 years. We’d love to discuss your cloud strategy and
help you get the greatest possible benefits out of pay-as-you-go
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