How to define cloud computing?

This last decade, who doesn’t already hear or read the word “Cloud“? All operators which are present in IT services area today, near or far, offer this new form of storage. It seems to have no limits.

But what is hidden behind this new technology? One tool or several? Is this without limits as it seems? What are risks and advantages for the client company? The term of “cloud” is replaced by industry professionals by the expression “Unified Communication” or “UC”. This professional word will be used in the article below:

What is the Unified Communication?

It consist in virtual area where we can put any information (numerical, text, photo, sounds….) and recover them from anywhere at any time. It is the ideal picture of flexibility.

In fact, it is the practice of using a network of remote servers hosted on the web to store, manage, and process files, rather than a local server or a personal computer. It allows for deliver resources and services on demand via the internet thanks to some web-based tools and applications. The local storage, expansive and which requires maintenance, is no more useful.

This UC model is attracting many actors for its qualities as availability and flexibility.

Three types of UC services

The Unified Communication has many sides. Apart from knowing that Unified Communication is a new method to store files, we have to know this system decline 3 sorts of UC service : infrastructure as a service (IaaS), software as a service (SaaS) and platform as a service (PaaS). The second is waited to know the fastest growth, followed by the first.

SaaS consists of licensure of software applications to customers. Licenses are provided through a pay on-demand.

An economic survey estimates that this category of services represents 59% of activities about UC market. This fast increase provides great investment opportunities.

IaaS is a method for delivering everything from operating systems to servers and storage through IP-based connectivity as part of an on-demand service. Clients can avoid the need to purchase software or servers, and instead procure these resources in an outsourced, on-demand service.

Platform as a Service (PaaS): Of the three layers of cloud-based computing, PaaS is considered the most complex. PaaS shares some similarities with SaaS, the primary difference being that instead of delivering software on line, it is actually a platform for creating software that is delivered via the internet.

What sort of advantages?

Some savings

For firms, it is no more necessary to invest in hardware technology and to host information on big network. Access and storage files are performed by Internet technology and no more hard disk or computer server. Just an Internet connection is enough and the call to these resources is now a full service.

A great access facility for Internet users

For end users, Unified Communication gives the unlimited access to websites and their information regardless their equipment (tablet, computer or smartphone).

An answer to new lifestyles

With the expansion of distance working and the new consumption patterns, it is now very difficult for a firm to not give distant access to its information in a hyper-connected society.

The right price for a fair service

The second advantage for firms is elasticity which gives ability to adapt its technological resources to the needs. Elasticity prevents unexpected costs after resources overestimation by the UC provider or, on the contrary, the stops in services because resources have been under rated.

Furthermore, the system of payment for use gives opportunities to firms to reduce their charges. It is the right price for a fair service.

Note that the professional UC (business to business) is a real service industry which offers many companies to implement software as a service. These application job become available from internet for employees who work in distant.

VM solutions let the firm to keep its system current operating status, as well as your application stack that it can develop internally or externally via the UC service provider of your choice. The care of your traditional systems continues therefore to be runned but without the usual disadvantages (porting systems, patches security), and with appreciable advantages in performance. Firms decide about perimeters of virtualization, modalities and migration schedule to a virtual-based deployment model Computing. VM wants to guarantee mobility and portability applications between different clouds within a security model and common management too. The purpose is to maintain your investments. Thus, thousands x86 applications and loads – and dozens of systems of operation – can execute on VMware solutions. The most of applications can be portaged on the UC, it is what is called “cloud ready”.

 

What sort of inconveniences?

A potential increase of fares?

A price increase is waited because providers will know to pay more with new measures of their delivered services. For the moment, fare increase increases proportionally to the level of used bandwidth. But tomorrow, other criteria should be added.

Be confident

The Unified Communication providers, as Telecom operators or media firms, control access to the information. The files are not present on hard disks on servers so customers need to be confidents towards them.

Furthermore, the question raise about intellectual property of the files present on the different UC and the lack of central authority for regulate rules.

And what about dysfunctions?

Some potential crashes are possible and this has already happened in the past for big providers. Fortunately, theses breaks last only few hours but cost enormous to the client firms.

The 3 distinct operation ways

Unified Communication services are divided in three categories: Public UC, Private UC and Hybrid UC.

The first one is made of services provided by a third party, via the internet. These services are sold on request usually in the hour following the request. Customers pay only for the CPU cycles, storage or bandwidth they consume. Users of public UC services do not need to invest in hardware, software, or/and environment which are all managed by providers. There are many professional SaaS applications from CRM (Customer Resource Management) to transaction managers and analytics tools. IaaS for storage and computing services also rely on the public CPU.

The second one is infrastructure dedicated to a single company. This model provides flexibility to corporate customers, while maintaining management, control and security. The benefits are self-service access to the control interface, allowing the IT team a fast supply, and the allocation or delivery of IT resources on demand. Similarly, resource management is personalized, as is security and governance designed to meet the unique needs of the business.

The third one is on the cross between private UC and public UC. For example, companies can perform very important tasks or sensitive applications on the private CPU, and use the public one for tasks requiring scalability of resources. The purpose of a hybrid UC using is to create a scalable environment that leverages public UC infrastructure while maintaining full control over the files.

The border between local Computing and Unified Communication is very thin and not always perceivable by final users. Without knowing, our files are stored automatically on UC spaces even if software is still on hard disk.

What’s the future for Unified Communication?

Originally, UC was supposed to simplify IT environments in business. However, according to a recent study, nearly a third of companies work with four or more UC providers. In fact, it seems that the multi-UC is the future of this technology.

This trend is related to several factors. First, some companies just want more options. By using multiple UC providers to support several applications and workloads, firms can find the best solution that fits to their needs.

By relying on a single UC, a business may be limited. It is therefore a necessity for large companies with multiple divisions to use multiple UC. According to a report published, a quarter of European companies are not satisfied by their UC service provider, especially because of poor performance, insufficient security, and lack of personalized support.

In addition, relying on a single UC service increases the vulnerability of the firm to various problems such as data center failures or bandwidth problems. An UC application that is constantly off-line gives a bad image of the business and can lead to the loss of customers. If an application depends on a single UC provider, it is also difficult to negotiate in case of disagreement.

Storing the files locally minimizes these sovereignty issues. On the other hand, directing traffic to data centers as close to the users as possible is essential for latency applications.

Multi-UC has advantages, but can also be a challenge for companies, especially to move from one UC to another. Unfortunately, all IT environments are different, and UC is no exception. UC providers do their best to simplify the transfer of applications to their respective platforms.

Fortunately, all major UC service providers use the same Active Data Replication technology to easily move information between UC. At last, the Unified Communication market will grow and reached more than $ 2O0 billion. In this competitive market, the multi-UC represents a new front in the UC war. This is good news for companies looking for flexibility, cost savings, and possibly better solutions.