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When starting a business, servers and networking equipment can be a significant expense. To reduce this burden, many businesses are turning to cloud computing. Cloud computing provides a number of benefits including improved scalability, cheaper support, and automated backups. As a result, you have more time and energy to spend on other business needs. Here is an overview of what cloud computing has to offer.

What Is Cloud Computing?

In cloud computing, a program or application runs on a network of remote servers hosted on the Internet. Unlike applications on personal computers, these programs and applications can run from anywhere in the world. Cloud computing relies on dynamically scaled resources which makes it both efficient and affordable for smaller businesses.

The Advantages Of Cloud Computing

One of the biggest advantages of cloud computing is the flexibility it offers in terms of scaling server resources. A major concern when purchasing computing equipment is whether or not the purchase will scale as your business grows. If you buy equipment that only covers current needs, you'll likely need to buy additional equipment in the future. Most network engineers tell you to buy extra equipment up front so you can be sure to avoid any scaling issues. However this extra equipment can cost thousands, so most business owners are averse to making such investments if they can avoid it.

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Sensible Cloud - Our own private and secure cloud based service that lets you run all your business apps, anywhere, on any device.

With cloud computing, you pay only for the resources you use, and as you grow you can scale up the available resources as you need them. Cloud computing lets you scale resources up or down, so costs can scale with your business revenue. Many businesses have seasonal spikes, so you pay more only when necessary and reduce costs during slow months.

A good cloud computing hosting service also offers full support, regardless of the time of day. This support is paid for out of your monthly bill. Hiring personnel to handle problems with in-house equipment would be much more expensive. For instance, if you have an e-commerce store, you'll be out thousands of dollars if your hardware fails in the middle of the night. With cloud computing, the hosting service automatically monitors and restarts your servers at all hours, for no additional fee.

Another benefit of cloud computing is that you  get immediate access to all the premium services and features that  used to be affordable only by larger enterprises. You can now compete on an even playing field - the internet has no idea how big or small you really are.

Cloud computing can offer automated backups. Backups are a saving grace in the event of a server crash or catastrophic incident, but managing them is difficult. You not only need to remember to make backups regularly, but you must store them in a safe place. Most cloud computing hosting services avoid these types of issues entirely. First, almost all cloud computing platforms offer some type of built in backup automation solution. Second, the host has plenty of space where you can store your backups. Finally, cloud computing hosts make it easy to rely on these backups when disaster strikes. The better ones even offer automatic failover and business continuity options if you want.

Finally, the better cloud computing hosting services also offer the ability to run all of your business applications, on any device from any location. They can also offer full integration with all of your web apps and even subscription services like Google Docs, Office 365 and Amazon Web Services.

Many small businesses have a volatile first few years, especially on the technology front. Fortunately, cloud computing can reduce costs and keep your startup running smoothly around-the-clock. There are several cloud computing hosts to choose from, so do your homework.

The cloud has already entered the mainstream, but that doesn't mean that there is just one type of cloud. In fact, there are 3 of them: public, private, and hybrid.

The public cloud lets different companies share access to applications and storage space. These assets are stored in a service provider's data centre, and are accessible via the Internet.

Typically, the service provider will use virtualisation, technology that creates multiple instances of applications or operating systems on a single physical device, to store multiple clients' data on the same server. This allows the service provider to over-sell resources as most customer's don't use all the resources they are allocated.

An example is Office365 where each user is allocated 1TB of OneDrive Storage space as Microsoft believes not everyone will use it.

The private cloud, as the name suggests, isolates a company's assets to a single computing environment, so that it doesn't have to share its resources with anyone else.

Lastly, there is the hybrid cloud, which takes aspects from both the public and private cloud computing models.

Public clouds are fairly popular because they offer a greater degree of scalability when compared to in-house solutions. They are also more affordable, since you don't have to invest in on-premise setups that require costly hardware. Instead of maintaining in-house infrastructure, you outsource this work to a service provider.

It's easy to know if you are in the public cloud as it is easy to setup yourself in minutes with just a credit card as all the resources are waiting to be over-allocated.

However, public clouds can sometimes suffer from a noisy neighbour issue in which one customer monopolises the shared computing assets. Other customers' systems will perform poorly because of the reduced resources. This is the reason why a company's website or system is fast one minute and slow the next. A particular customer application may require extra cpu power, high disk activity or internet bandwidth without your knowledge.

How to Avoid the Noisy Neighbour Issue

You can sidestep this problem by using a provider that offers defined quality-of-service controls. These details, documented in a clear-cut service level agreement, serve as the provider's guarantee that you'll never be left without the computing resources you need.

Another solution involves using a cloud-based service that doesn't use virtualisation. Since multiple instances of an application are not running on the same server, these services avoid the noisy neighbour issue altogether- although are more expensive.

As a final option, consider using a hybrid cloud like our SensibleCloud.

This would give you the ability to select to run critical aspects of your business on a private or dedicated server environment and less important ones on a public server. Since the ones on the public server are not particularly vital, your business would not suffer from the occasionally slower speeds. For more advice about selecting a cloud computing model for your business, speak with an experienced IT professional.

When starting a business, servers and networking equipment can be a significant expense. To reduce this burden, many businesses are turning to cloud computing. Cloud computing provides a number of benefits including improved scalability, cheaper support, and automated backups. As a result, you have more time and energy to spend on other business needs. Here is an overview of what cloud computing has to offer.

What Is Cloud Computing?

In cloud computing, a program or application runs on a network of remote servers hosted on the Internet. Unlike applications on personal computers, these programs and applications can run from anywhere in the world. Cloud computing relies on dynamically scaled resources which makes it both efficient and affordable for smaller businesses.

The Advantages Of Cloud Computing

One of the biggest advantages of cloud computing is the flexibility it offers in terms of scaling server resources. A major concern when purchasing computing equipment is whether or not the purchase will scale as your business grows. If you buy equipment that only covers current needs, you'll likely need to buy additional equipment in the future. Most network engineers tell you to buy extra equipment up front so you can be sure to avoid any scaling issues. However this extra equipment can cost thousands, so most business owners are averse to making such investments if they can avoid it.

With cloud computing, you pay only for the resources you use, and as you grow you can scale up the available resources as you need them. Cloud computing lets you scale resources up or down, so costs can scale with your business revenue. Most businesses have seasonal spikes, so you pay more only when necessary and reduce costs during slow months.

A good cloud computing hosting service also offers full support, regardless of the time of day. This support is paid for out of your monthly bill. Hiring personnel to handle problems with in-house equipment would be much more expensive. For instance, if you have an e-commerce store, you'll be out thousands of dollars if your hardware fails in the middle of the night. With cloud computing, the hosting service automatically monitors and restarts your servers at all hours, for no additional fee.

Finally, cloud computing offers automated backups. Backups are a saving grace in the event of a server crash or catastrophic incident, but managing them is difficult. You not only need to remember to make backups regularly, but you must store them in a safe place. Most cloud computing hosting services avoid these types of issues entirely. First, almost all cloud computing platforms offer some type of built in backup automation solution. Second, the host has plenty of space where you can store your backups. Finally, cloud computing hosts make it easy to rely on these backups when disaster strikes.

Many small businesses have a volatile first few years, especially on the technology front. Fortunately, cloud computing can reduce costs and keep your startup running smoothly around-the-clock. There are several cloud computing hosts to choose from, so do your homework before signing any long-term contract.

If you are interested in moving to the cloud it is a good idea to investigate to see if it fits your business or not.

Sensible Business Solutions offers a free Cloud Readiness Questionnaire to help you plan any move to the Cloud.

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