Once upon a time there was a business model called ‘bureaux computing’. Customers would buy slices of processing time, rent disc and tape space, and subscribe to complex and difficult to maintain software applications. They needed a small computer system to input data and receive their results, and an IT team just to manage the slow, complex and ferociously expensive hardware required to simply ‘talk’ to the mighty mainframe computer in some distant place that did all the hard work. Then, along came mini and then micro computers which changed everything.
Mini computers made it possible to ‘own’ the power and storage being rented from a bureau and to put the IT department’s staff to more productive use. And for less processor-intensive applications, micro computers (such as the IBM-PC) and small networks meant users could actually do this for themselves. However, these departmental and user-managed systems created problems for bigger organisations.
As departments bought solutions that suited their own particular requirements, ideas and budgets, so computing became ‘non-standard’. The very IT costs that these systems had aimed to eradicate began to sky rocket, particularly when company-wide ERP and similar systems were introduced. However, at the same time the micro computers were falling in price while a revolution in the speed, reliability and cost (reduction) of telecommunications changed the financial arguments again.
People were able to start again using applications that were hosted on someone else’s computer, and the Software as a Service (SAAS) model was quickly adopted so that today it’s an every day feature of most computer user’s lives. The software runs on someone else’s computer, is owned by them, maintained by them, and rented to users to process their data. All that’s needed is a small computer to enter data and receive results, and an internet connection to transmit and receive data.
However, the financial balance has now tipped even further. People are starting to realise that you can transfer responsibility for even the last bit of complexity to someone else. Now, even the desktop, the software that manages how users perceive their computer, can be outsourced for someone else to manage, maintain and run. Users need only the hardware and to pay a rent, while a simple systems administration function allows their organisation to control who sees what, when and where, how much the organisation pays each month, and how users will see their system.
Most of the complexity, risk and costs are reduced to a simple price per user per month while a specialist takes care of providing the service, keeping it safe and available, and ensuring it is maintained to the highest standards. Such a solution is known as an ‘Infrastructure Cloud’, and Insight Cloud is one of the leading services in the provision of such a solution.
Infrastructure clouds make managing your system simple. One supplier creating one way of managing the running, use and security of all your applications and data through a single portal. You get the control and standardisation of old-fashioned main-frame and bureaux computing coupled with the flexibility of departmental computing at a scalable (up and down), easily budgeted and reliable IT service, usually at a significant cost saving.
Any business looking to take control over it’s IT spend and ROI would be well advised to review the opportunities and capabilities offered by the latest generation of cloud computing solutions, because while the ideas behind them may not be new, the latest generation of server hardware, telecoms and techniques for applying them mean that they most definitely make economic sense once again.