Cloud Computing

The “cloud” is a specific technology that allows you to access on-demand compute power. You can add servers when you need them, and remove them when you don’t, in minutes. This gives you access to almost unlimited server power.

So, when your site has a sudden surge in visitor traffic, you can easily add more servers to meet that demand, and then scale back when traffic isn’t as high. Since you only pay for what you use, you also avoid the upfront costs of the traditional computing model.

Included here is our brief introduction to Cloud Computing, detailing the economic similarities to utility power, the efficient use of computing hardware, scalability and the ability to focus on what matters within a business using Cloud Computing.

Learn more about Cloud Computing.

Is the cloud for all types of business?

Yes— businesses of all sizes, from small startups to major enterprises, are adopting the cloud. Specifically, they’re finding the cloud to be a great fit for e-commerce front-end webservers, rich media sites, and corporate websites, as well as SaaS apps and test/development environments. The sky’s the limit with cloud.

Learn more about the future of Cloud Computing.

What are the benefits of the cloud?

The top reasons people are turning to the cloud are:

  • Scalability: Get the specific amount of compute power you need, when you need it. Spin servers up or down to meet your needs, in minutes.
  • Cost Savings: Thanks to the utility pricing model of the cloud, you only pay for what you use1. Plus, in the cloud, you avoid upfront hardware costs, as well as the costs of maintenance, software upgrades, power, and the manpower to manage it all.
  • Reliability: Since the cloud can scale to meet sudden demand, cloud helps your site to stay online during even the highest traffic spikes. This helps to protect your brand and keep your business running smoothly.
  • Business Agility: Since the cloud gives you instant resources and utility pricing, you can try different online strategies quickly, with reduced effort and cost.
  • Business Focus: When you rely on the cloud, you can apply your capital and human resources toward your highest-priority business requirements, rather than on maintaining your IT infrastructure.

I’ve heard there are different types of cloud. What are they?

There are two types of cloud: public and private. With a public cloud, you are using servers that are shared with other customers. With private cloud, you are using dedicated servers—servers that are used only by you.

Public cloud provides the most economical solution, whereas private cloud offers the highest levels of security. At Rackspace, we offer both public and private cloud, and even a hybrid combination of both—so you can design a system that maximises both cost savings and security.

Learn more about public cloud, private cloud, and hybrid.

What is CloudU and how can it help me?

CloudU is a curriculum for business owners and technical professionals alike who want to learn more about Cloud Computing. It includes various whitepapers, live and on-demand webinars, lessons, blogs, e-books, videos and events to help strengthen your knowledge of the fundamentals. So if you need to brush up on your public, private and hybrid, click here to learn more about CloudU.

How are other businesses using the cloud?

Check out these whitepapers to hear it directly from our customers:

  • Mazda Cars USA
  • Domino’s Pizza

Will it be difficult to transition my business to the cloud?

It doesn’t have to be. Complexity (or simplicity for that matter) depends on the planning that goes into the project, the cloud provider’s approach to migration and setup, and the types of applications you want to migrate, as well as the technology you already have in place.

Learn more about Cloud Computing myths.

I think my business is ready for cloud. Where do I start?

  • Start by identifying the people within your business who should be involved in the migration—from in-house technical expertise to key stakeholders.
  • Select a cloud hosting provider that meets your needs for reliability, trustworthiness, transparency, and accountability. Also, be sure that they won’t lock you in to proprietary systems that could end up costing you more over time.
  • Analyse your security policies, and those of your customers, to determine what data requires dedicated infrastructure (private cloud), and what can be hosted on a shared infrastructure (public cloud)
  • Identify which apps should be migrated to the cloud, as well as clear and realistic timelines and goals for the project.

Will it be difficult to transition my business to the cloud?

It doesn’t have to be. Complexity (or simplicity for that matter) depends on the planning that goes into the project, the cloud provider’s approach to migration and setup, and the types of applications you want to migrate, as well as the technology you already have in place.

Which apps should I migrate first?

It makes sense to migrate less “risky” applications first (i.e., those that are not customer facing or core to your business). You may want to start testing the cloud with low-risk or legacy applications that need to be refreshed. This will give your team time to learn its way around the cloud technology before moving on to your core applications.

Additionally, some applications are simply more cloud-ready than others, and they also are good candidates for migration.

What questions should I ask, when looking for a cloud hosting company?

  • How long have you been offering cloud services?
    Rackspace has been in the managed hosting business since launching in the US in 1998 and was one of the first companies to adopt and offer cloud technology as far back as 2006, before the term “Cloud Computing” was even coined. Rackspace has been recognised as a leader in Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for Managed Hosting and Cloud Infrastructure as a Service. View the full report here.
  • What types of cloud do you offer?
    Rackspace offers managed private cloud and public cloud, as well as a hybrid of both. We also offer traditional managed, dedicated, single-server hosting, which can also be included in your hybrid solution.
  • Do you offer 24x7x365 support?
    With Rackspace, you get 24x7x365 support from a dedicated team of Rackers who know your business inside and out, and who care as much about your business as you do. We’ve branded it Fanatical Support®—and you won’t find it anywhere else.
  • Describe your service level agreement (SLA).
    The Rackspace SLA is an industry leader. You’ll have the confidence of a Cisco Powered Network and our 100% network uptime guarantee.
  • Describe the key partnerships that identify you as a leader.
    Rackspace is a Microsoft Gold Certified Hosting Partner, and a 3-time recipient of Microsoft’s Hosting Partner of the Year honour. We are a Red Hat Premier Hosting Partner and a MySQL Certified Hosting Partner.
  • Is your cloud technology proprietary?
    In July 2010, Rackspace and NASA launched OpenStack – an open-source cloud operating system based on the technologies behind Rackspace’s Cloud Files, and NASA’s Nebula Cloud Servers product. We migrated our Public Cloud to OpenStack in 2012, and our Rackspace Private Cloud offering was already built on OpenStack™. This gives customers the flexibility to deploy a dedicated cloud at a Rackspace data centre, on-premises at their own data centre, or at an Equinix data centre of their choice.
  • Do you require a long-term contract? Are there any setup costs associated with signing up?
    At Rackspace, there are no long-term contracts and no signup costs.
  • Do you offer a mobile app, for managing my cloud on the go?
    Yes, with the Rackspace Cloud App for iPhone®, iPad®, iPod Touch®, and Android, you can manage your Cloud Servers and Cloud Files wherever you are. Find out more.

More Resources

  • Going Opex to Cut Costs whitepaper.
    A white paper that looks at the benefits of moving from a capital expenditure model to an operational expenditure model.

  • Cloud Innovation video.
    A video that looks at where cloud helps customers innovate and why it's so strong at certain inflexion points.

  • Hybrid Rant slideshare.
    A slideshare that outlines why hybrid cloud (based on open cloud) is the best scenario for most companies with clear focus on benefits.

  • Cloud Survey infographic.
    An infographic that shows the main results from the survey on cloud benefits for organisations.

  • Getting Started in Cloud whitepaper.
    A white paper that explores how an organisation can start with a cloud journey while controlling risk and ensuring ROI.

What do I do next?

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