Cloud computing is a new technology that is based on Internet and remote servers. Many companies have introduced cloud computing to their organization because of numerous benefits that are associated with the technology. Cloud computing shares some details with Web 2.0 that may include features such as sharing of information but cloud computing approaches it specially rather than Web 2.0 that approaches it conclusively. Some benefits of this technology are that it is cost efficient, numerous resources can be accessed easily, and there are minimal consequences in terms of entering or leaving the technology while the shortcoming of the process are that is security porous, dependency and bottlenecks because of networking. Introduction of this technology to an organization will require changing most technology within the organisation. These changes may affect operating system, hardware, middleware, application software, infrastructure, and communication facilities. Moreover, introduction of cloud computing introduces numerous management issues. Realignment or organisation and changes within the organisation will have to be encouraged. Some management issues that will be brought into consideration are maintenance, reliability, managing legacy system, risk management, organisational issues, managing assets and outsourcing.
Technology is developing at a faster rate resulting in numerous consequences to an organisation. An example of such technology is cloud computing. Cloud computing is continuously developed to suite the requirements of an organisation. Thus, the aim of this report is to analyse cloud computing bringing into considerations its definition, current position of the technology, relationship with Web 2.0, and its pros and cons. Moreover, the report analysis the impact of cloud computing in changing technology and management issues relative to an organisation.
History and Current State
Cloud computing is an important development in information technology sector, and it has continuously played a major role since its inception. Cloud computing as a long history and influence in information technology sector bringing into consideration factors such as:
Cloud computing is a computer technology that is emerging and it utilises Internet and central remote servers to maintain both the applications and data (Miller 56). To achieve its goal, cloud computing is segmented into three parts, which are platforms, applications and infrastructure. Each segment is developed in such a way that it serves a specific function that ensures business operations and human requirements are met (Manken 78).
Current State of Cloud Computing
Cloud computing like other utility services takes some time before they are completely embraced. Many organisations are developing cloud computing technology and they incorporate this technology in their daily activities. Organisations are continuously appreciating the importance of cloud computing through understanding its numerous benefits including its flexibility. More applications and services are included into cloud computing ensuring that it can accomplish numerous requirements and fundamental of different organisation entities. However, its development is inhibited by luck of appropriate knowledge concerning cloud computing, capabilities of cloud computing and numerous benefits associated with cloud computing.
Cloud Computing and Web 2.0
Web 2.0 is an information technology that provides web applications with facilities that are interactive, interoperability, information sharing, collaboration on the World Wide Web, and user centred design. Web 2.0 ensures that software is continually updated that gets better as the number of people who uses it increases, it also allows consuming and remixing data that is obtained from multiple sources while at the same time provides their own data and services. The difference between cloud computing and Web 2.0 is that cloud computing refers to utilising the Internet as a computing platform while Web 2.0 can be defined as an attempt to explain and explore the business rules of that platform. Web 2.0 is a network-based platform and is based on data-oriented platform, and the more people access the databases the more richly the databases will be. Even though cloud computing and Web 2.0 share the same platform there applications and approaches towards accomplishment of requirements is different (Shuen 67).
Original Companies that utilised this technology
Cloud computing has along history but the major player is Amazon that was founded in 1994. However, in 1999, Loudcloud was the first company that attempted to commercialise cloud computing that based its infrastructure on Service Model (Shuen 90). In 2000, Microsoft Corporation improved on SaaS while in 2001 IBM detailed cloud computing concepts in Autonomic Computing Manifesto. However, Amazon modernised its computing requirements through modernising their data centres that were inefficient at that time (Plunkett 108). Amazon in 2005, started providing Amazon Web Services based on utility computing. Other utility services that Amazon has introduced include on-demand storage capacity – Simple Storage Service and computing capacity based on Elastic Compute Cloud. Google through its Google Apps provides a number of services that includes calendaring, email, word processing and a simple Web site creation tool, and the famous Google App Engine. Another competitor in this sector that opened its doors in 2008 is GoGrid that offers development of Linux-based, Windows based virtual servers onto the cloud, and it also offers web-based storage capabilities. Some common software and programs that are included in GoGrid are PHP, Apache, MySQL and Microsoft SQL (Plunkett 89). Thus, the development and incorporation of cloud computing has been improvement by many organisations with the aim of decreasing costs and at the same time ensuring that the services and products that it offers is sufficient for the current requirements.
Pros and Cos of Cloud Computing
In any development, there are pros and cons of every technology that may either be maximised or strategies been developed that will mitigate the shortcomings of the technology. Cloud computing is an example of technological development that presents cons and pros that shapes development of technology. Thus, some of the pros that are associated with cloud computing include (Mather 33):
- The data and information is not dependent on a single machine – this is because files and programs can be accessed through any computer or device that has Internet connection.
- No need for physical storage centres such as servers – most of the files and applications are stored remotely, which means that the computer or Internet access device is not supposed to have large storage spaces such as hard disks or RAM.
- Provides scalability – companies can enlist into cloud providing companies and can move out of the technology at the anytime that they want. Thus, it allows organisation to position technological infrastructure resources ineffectively.
- It allows reliability through provision of multiple redundant sites and thus allows easiness of disaster recovery and business continuity.
- Multi-tenancy – cloud computing allows sharing of costs and resources across numerous users thus allowing for peak load capacity increase, centralisation of infrastructure and utilisation and efficiency improvements.
However, numerous shortcomings are associated with the use of cloud computing technology in organisation or business settings (Shelly 123).
- Most of cloud computing is based on network connections. Thus, if the network breaks all computational activities will be affected and when the network is bogged down, the computing system will be slower.
- Lack of storage medium – some hardware and applications require the use of hardware that is attached to the computer. Thus, utilising a remote server may results in inefficiency in some requirements of computing.
- Dependency on vendor – all the organisation data and information will be controlled by a single entity. Thus, the process of the organisation will be controlled remotely and this usually poses numerous risks.
- Security and privacy issues – all data will be controlled and likely accessed by an entity or competitors and may infringe development of organisation requirements. Hence, cloud clouding poses risks in terms of letting an organisation to manage data requirements of a single organisation.
Introduction of cloud computing to an organisation requires analysis of traditional computing components. Traditional computing is based on requiring all computational equipments to be centralised ( Schrum 105).
Hardware is an important aspect of any network. Even cloud computing utilise some hardware to some extent. Cloud computing is based on the idea of most hardware is located in remote areas. Thus, storage media and other hardware are not required within the organisation. However, peripherals are supposed to be within the building. It is important for the organisation to acquire those peripherals that are required for day-to-day activities. Other hardware that are important includes routers that links the internal network with the Internet, cabling and other important components that ensure networking is successful.
All information technology requires an operating system since it is a crucial program that runs on any given computer. Operating system provides an opportunity for other programs to work together. This means that operating system performs basic tasks that are crucial for accomplishment of computer required tasks. It enables the computer to recognise input from a mouse or keyboard, keep track of files, and send information to display screen and control peripheral devices. Thus, it is important to have the most basic operating system so that the computing system can operate efficiently.
Application software is those programs that support a user to accomplish a given task. One of the benefits that is associated with cloud computing is the ability of possessing numerous software applications. Thus, introducing cloud computing will not require change of technology, which means that the benefits of cloud computing can be maximised.
Databases are important for any organisation to ensure that the operations of that organisation are successful. Luckily, cloud computing incorporates database management systems that can be used by the organisation. This means that new database applications will not be required since it has been cared by cloud computing.
Middleware can be defined as software that connects all software components. It allows multiple processes to operate concurrently on one or more machines. This technology allows interoperability in support of distributed architectures, and it is commonly used to support distributed applications (Miller 67). The number of software applications determines the approach towards appreciating the importance of middleware. This means that the local computing system does not require middleware because the cloud computing company provides it. Thus, even though the application or software is important, the internal computer system can operate without it but it is only applicable for those situations that require distributed simulations such as high-level architecture (Manken 90).
Infrastructure is the total components and requirements that ensure all applications and hardware can operate effectively. This infrastructure also brings into consideration Internet facilities and internal operating system. Technology development is based on the standing and components that are supported by connection of different factors forming infrastructure. Therefore, introducing cloud computing will not require introduction of new infrastructure but utilises infrastructure that has already been developed. It reduces costs that are associated with introduction of new infrastructure resulting in economical efficiency (Miller 107).
Communication is the underlying component of any business required and any information technology that is incorporated should factor this into consideration. Infrastructural provisions of cloud computing, hardware and appropriate applications ensure that communication is championed doubled up with qualification of employees when it comes to communication. Numerous communication facilities are offered by cloud computing resulting in efficiency in accomplishment of processes (Mather 34).
Introduction of any technology requires adjustment and reorganisation of the enterprise. Information technology and computing technology is usually a driving force behind organisational change. Organisations requires responses to changing consumer preferences, new innovation, and competitive pressures and thus organisations have to embrace information technology to cut costs, streamline operations, improve business processes and increase profitability (Eason 56). Changes in information technology affect all entities within the organisation. Employee skill base, product delivery, organisational structure, marketing technology and product delivery will be affected by change in information technology. Therefore, introduction of technological changes will affect the requirements and services of an organisation (Mather 70).
Cloud computing is still a new technology and most people or employees have no idea what cloud computing or what cloud computing entails. This means that all employees and organisational structure will be educated and made to understand the benefits that are associated with cloud computing (Schrum 100). The alignment of business process will depend on the competency of employees concerning information technology and the impact of information technology to their daily activities. Introduction of information technology may result in some employees loosing their positions and most employees usually perceive introduction of information technology is disastrous to their activities. However, in terms of business process, introduction of cloud computing would allow for increase in profitability and flexibility of finishing effectively processes.
Reliability is an important concept of any information technology and thus utilising cloud computing ensures that all operations are effectively completed. However, cloud computing has numerous bottlenecks especially in its connectivity. Cloud computing is prone to outages resulting in affecting the operations of organisations.
Cloud computing is based on the understanding that most infrastructure is located in remote areas. This means few equipments are within the organisation except for the personal computers, peripherals and other equipments that supports the use of cloud computing. Service providers meet maintenance costs and thus costs associated with the organisation are greatly minimised.
Generally, cloud computing improves on security to some extent because of centralisation of data. However, cloud computing poses numerous risks and threats ton an organisation because the entire system can be compromised. This means that security should be integral for every service, application and network infrastructure that is deployed. Service providers should ensure that they provide appropriate security to the data within the data centre. Moreover, the organisation should place measures such as passwords and log names to ensure that specific persons within the organisation can access information from data centres. Other security measures such as physical measures should be incorporated during the development of systems and locality of important equipment within the organisation.
Risk assessment plan should be developed that will analyse the influence of each component and factors that are associated with cloud computing. Risks and threats are inherent in any organisation, but those organisations that embrace strategic security and risk management measures decreases chances of risks and threats to their organisations. Moreover, risk management should be integral to operations of the organisation and new strategies should be developed that will encourage alleviation of risks.
Managing Service provider Relationships
It is challenging to manage service provider’s relationship but it is important to incorporate some strategies that can be beneficial. Managing service [providers usually can be accomplished through three approaches, which are organisational structure, management strategy and IT infrastructure. Management strategy brings into consideration and approach that will be used to determine the most useful combination of contractual terms and relationship management strategies/techniques (Vermaat 34). This will ensure that there is no misunderstanding on parts and duties of each of the parties. Organisational structure is formulating and implementing the right strategy that will help in building the appropriate in-house oversight structure and mechanisms that will ensure the duties of service providers are managed effectively. The third convenient approach is development of supporting infrastructure that will enable monitoring and management of internal and external network relative to service provider’s views.
Managing Legacy systems
Sometimes it is important to retire a legacy system, but it is crucial that some data and information is stored for sometime. Management of legacy system is important because it may be required during accomplishment of other duties of an organisation (Johnson 203). Compliance, cost and practicability should be placed into consideration to determine the approach that legacy systems will be managed. It is important to analyses whether the new technology will be appropriate and the impact of new technology relative to legacy system. The cost of the entire project and benefit of legacy system should be analysed before determining the appropriate approach that will ensure maximisation of the new technology will be achieved. Additionally, the cost of moving to the new system should be analysed. Practicability of the entire process ensures that the new system will not negate the principles of legacy system and ensure the fundamentals and vision of the organisation is maintained (Miller 45).
Information technology is an important asset for any organisation. Managing effectively assets will likely increase productivity of an organisation. Moreover, the aim of managing assets is to ensure that the most benefit is obtained from the assets. The organisation should formulate strategy and policy that will ensure assets are managed effectively and maintenance measures are in place (Langer 56).
Introduction of new technology or change usually causes friction to the organisation especially in the view of employees. Change is perceived by employees has a new threat that may cost them their jobs or may cause additional pressures. This means that it is important to educate employees on the importance of the new system and develops measures that will address organisational entities that will be affected. In fact, before introduction of new technology, it is important to study the position of the organisation and try to determine the impact of new technology so that it allows responding appropriately in advance (Manken 67).
Outsourcing is an important component in current organisational development. Most organisations outsource some parts of their duties. In fact, cloud computing is to some extent an example of ways in which organisation outsources their responsibilities. Giving the responsibility to another company to store data and provide processing speed is itself outsourcing. However, there should be appropriate framework that outsourcing agents will balance their requirements with the organisational settings (Vermaat 99).
Technologies develop fast bringing new equipments and strategies to accomplish duties. One such technology is cloud computing that utilises remote servers to store information, application and other important requirements of an organisation. Cloud computing has been developing bringing into consideration new approaches and technologies. Cloud computing to some extent is related with Web 2.0 in the way that it accomplishes its duties but cloud computing is specific in the way that it accomplishes the laid down duties. This technology is associated with reliability, cost effectively while risks such as security and dependency usually inhibits the development and embracement of cloud computing. Introduction of cloud computing requires changes in organisational operations bring into consideration numerous factors such as infrastructure, applications while requiring new approaches of managing the organisation are developed. It is important to ensure that there are well laid down approaches that the new technology will be incorporated into the organisation.
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