“Infrastructure maintenance for most IT-oriented companies consumes 70% of their budget, cloud computing can address this issue,” Zafarul Islam, lead technology strategist at MS said, while briefing the media about cloud technology. Cloud computing is a revolutionary advancement in the field of IT, which only few Pakistani businesses and individuals are aware of, according to Islam. The purpose of the event, therefore, is to create awareness about this innovative platform among the business community of the country.
“Cloud computing is all about building a shared pool of configurable computing resources – network, servers, storage, applications and services – and letting the end user consume these resources, whenever he wants,” Islam said.
Cloud provides better return on investment. For example, one of Microsoft’s clients that deployed the technology reduced its number of servers from 75 to only 12 – cutting maintenance cost significantly.
Cloud computing, according to MS, is a major paradigm shift in how IT resources are designed, managed and delivered – it is distance computing enabling automation of work by minimising human interaction.
Organisations looking to reduce cost and grow at the same time, according to MS press release, can increase productivity, reduce unnecessary spending on software licensing. Cloud technology enables globalisation of the workforce as people worldwide can access the cloud database.
Some five years ago, if one lost his phone he would lose the contacts or data, said Islam. It is no more the case now, and that is the concept of cloud computing, he said. One does not need to install hardware; all he needs is just pay for subscription to a cloud provider – such as Microsoft – and consume the services.
Explaining the types of cloud, Islam said, one can avail a private cloud, a public cloud and a combination of both – hybrid cloud.
In a private cloud the infrastructure is solely operated for an organisation. This is more suitable for enterprises, banks for example, that do not want their data to be accessible to general public. However, in a public cloud, the infrastructure is made available to general public.
In hybrid cloud, some applications are run on customers’ data centre while others run on the cloud provider’s data centre.
For its cloud services solutions, MS has partnered with Fujitsu, the Japanese hardware provider for cloud computing. MS claims to be different from competitors for its core strength is in cloud that is offered on customers’ terms – that is hybrid cloud. “It helps customers build a cloud on their own terms,” Islam said.
Some top-tier organisations – telecommunication companies for example – are already implementing this technology, according to MS officials. However, the market is still not fully mature for this product. There are 20,000 small organisations in Pakistan that will need these services to enhance their productivity as they grow further.
MS claimed to have strong belief in and commitment to the cloud. Much of MS annual $9.5-billion research and development (R&D) budget – more than any other company in the world – is devoted to cloud technologies.