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newsletter-cloud-Fotolia_7902069_SThe “Cloud” is getting lots of press these days, but what does it all mean for you and your business? Does the Cloud really offer a paradigm shift in the way of businesses operate? “cloud” and what you—and your business—stand to gain from it.

Cloud Computing versus Cloud-Based Infrastructure

Fundamentally, the Cloud refers to the use of software, tools, infrastructure or information that is remote-based, rather than locally. As opposed to desktop-server-based computing, Cloud computing means you don’t have to download, install or store any software on your computer, not even a JAVA Script. Everything is accessed through a browser over the Internet. Cloud-based infrastructure takes this a step further by using the Internet to control and communicate with virtual and literal machines located remotely.

Ubiquity of Cloud Computing and Cloud-Based Services

Whether you know it or not, you’re already deep in the Clouds! Your website, email, blog and shopping cart hosted with Applied Innovations are all on the Cloud. So essentially, the Cloud is just a new spin on the whole concept of the “World Wide Web.”

Some of the most ubiquitous Cloud-based services include:

  • Social and business networking sites such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Plaxo, MySpace and Meetup
  • Video and photo sharing services like YouTube, Vimeo, Snapfish and Flickr
  • Ecommerce sites such as eBay, Craigslist, Etsy
  • Social bookmarking sites like Delicious, Digg and Stumbled Upon
  • Ranking and directory sites such as Yelp, CitySearch and Trip Advisor
  • Blogging and micro-blogging services like WordPress, BlogSpot and the media darling Twitter
  • Wiki sites like Wikipedia
  • Webmail services like Gmail, Hotmail, Yahoo Mail and all the rest
  • Google Docs and other “SaaS” applications
  • Online banking and ecommerce
  • Plus a variety of e-services such as eVite, eGreetings, eBates, eTrade, Pandora and iTunes, to name just a few.
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While most of these Cloud-based services are free or at least have a free basic offering, many provide a paid subscription level for additional functionality. And in fact, the advantage of this subscription-based model is one of the reasons many Cloud applications are so appealing to businesses. Instead of making a major initial out-of-pocket investment in hardware or software, a business is able to license or subscribe for only what they need, when they need it.

Advantages of Cloud-Based Infrastructure

Similar to Cloud-based services, where you “pay as you go,” Cloud-based infrastructure offers the same advantage. As such, economy is a major factor in driving the adoption of Cloud-based infrastructure, but other advantages also weigh in. Some of these advantages are why you chose Applied Innovations as your hosting provider, but you may not realize the comparative advantages of the different hosting solutions you can choose from. For example, consider these hosting scenarios:

  • With a Shared hosting plan, you don’t have to know anything about System Administration, server operations or domain management. All you have to do is load your site and go! Many people get a Shared plan and never feel the need to look at other solutions. Others start with Shared and eventually graduate to a more robust platform that serves their growing needs.
  • A VPS hosting plan allows you to quickly and easily scale resources up and down to accommodate business fluctuations, such as seasonal variations. Again, this means you only pay for what you need. If you purchase an in-house box or commit to a Dedicated server hosting plan with the capacity to support your highest traffic demands, you’ll be overpaying during your slow season.
  • If you need the resources and flexibility of a VPS or Dedicated plan, Applied Innovations also offers a fully-managed “Server Concierge” program so you can leave all the System Administration and monitoring to us. Think of it as Shared hosting on steroids (only legal!)
  • Dedicated hosting plans give you complete control over your hosting environment without any of the added overhead of maintaining a datacenter, security, networks and the like. But while you have complete control, you have less scalability and flexibility than you’d get with a VPS.
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At the end of the day, the Cloud is just a metaphor for all the technology that is out there and accessible over the Internet that can offer you greater capabilities, flexibility, power, performance, and competitive advantage. And Applied Innovations is here to bring it all right to your desktop. Look for more Cloud-based opportunities, products and services from soon.

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