Do you use webmail? Or Gmail / Yahoo! Mail / Hotmail, etc? Do you communicate by messenger, whether it’s GTalk, Live Messenger, Yahoo, Skype or others? Then it means that you are in „cloud”. Messenger is the simplest example of cloud: an application that uses an instant communication service hosted on a server about which you know nothing.
This is the main cloud's philosophy: services pending on servers in different datacenters, which can be used with or without charge. To access and use a cloud computing based service you don't have to install anything and don't need extra storage space. All you need is just a web browser and an Internet connection.
Briefly, this means cloud computing. And, according to several studies conducted by IT services or IT research & consulting leading companies (Google, Deloitte, Gartner, Forrester Research, etc), more and more companies started to search for cloud solutions, trying to extra streamline operational processes and reduce costs.
It is true: cloud computing get rid of hardware investment, licenses payments and significantly increase your uptime. But every time, the managers ask the same question: „How do we measure the cloud's benefits?”.
The first quantifiable benefit is related to savings on infrastructure and operational costs. When you purchase a cloud service based on monthly or annual fee, you actually don't buy the software, you rent it. Speaking in economic terms, you will move costs from CAPEX to OPEX. You no longer have costs and depreciation assessments on those services, because you lease the service. You use and pay such as water, gas, electricity, heat.
The second benefit is that you pay strictly as you use. For example, you own a company working on projects. Sometimes you are simultaneously involved in 3-4 projects, other times just in one. Therefore, If you want the service on 25 computers, then on 50 and sometimes on 10, you can do it by paying strictly what you use. In this way optimizing costs and aligning them to the company`s activity.
In the third place, you have a much higher uptime than you could provide yourself. For example, Google has an uptime of 99.99% to those who have an active SLA.
The fourth benefit is an increased mobility. In Cloud, data is accessible anytime, anywhere, from any device connected to the Internet. This means that users can access data from office, home or travel, on laptop, PC tablet or smartphone, by using a web browser.
Last but not least, several studies demonstrated that by giving up to your company server-room, you will achieve a substantial shrinkage to electricity bills. Utilities (like cooling or power) are better used in cloud, making your company more profitable and "environmentally friendly".
Source: Forbes, Small Business Blog, Go Cloud, Agora, PC World