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Data Center vs Cloud

Instructor: Louay Chebib
Ever wonder what a data center is, or how a data center can live in the cloud? Is it better for companies to own and manage their own computer hardware or should they let someone else do that for them? By then end of this lesson, you should have a better understanding of these questions.

Fitting Outsourcing into the Picture

Before we get into the differences between data centers and cloud computing, we need to look at something you've maybe heard of: outsourcing. Outsourcing is the practice of hiring someone else to provide an essential service. Organizations do this so they can focus on what they do best. The organization providing the service can usually do a better job since they are experts in that business. For example, a small businessperson may hire an accountant to do the company's accounts since accounting is outside the businesspersons area of expertise. In doing so, the businessperson has time to focus what they do best. In the case of information technology and computer-related businesses, outsourcing has been used to allow the client organization to focus on their core business activities (what they do best) without having to hire people to manage a data center (not a core business activity).

Data Center vs Cloud

A data center is a secure physical space that houses Mainframes, Servers, Disks, Routers/Switches and other computer related hardware. Since information technology is at the heart of every business, a properly run data center assures that a company, its employees, and customers have access to the information and technology resources they need when they need it. Until recently, the traditional data center model was of a secure location inside an organization's headquarters run by a dedicated staff of computer professionals who assure that everything is functioning, as it should. The organization owned, and managed the entire data center operation. For many organizations, the job of running a data center is an expensive and complicated burden. This is especially the case for non-computer and information technology businesses.

A traditional data center
A traditional data center

'Cloud' computing is the latest form of data center and computer services outsourcing. Cloud services providers setup data centers for use by their clients. Companies can lease the computer resources they need from a provider who will manage a shared, secure, data center for other companies. Most providers offer redundancy by creating multiple data centers. Cloud service providers keep current with industry standards and understand the need for privacy and security. Cloud services providers market cloud computing as a utility or a service. This utility model allows customers to purchase only what they need and to scale up or down their services as needed. They have created on-demand distributed computing options that can support their clients' needs and keep pace with changing needs. Under the best conditions, a client can rapidly ramp up when the business is very active, or down when it is not, by adding or removing systems capacity. This is just like hiring extra people to help with the holiday rush. In this case, the business is 'hiring' extra computer resources.

A cloud computer data center
A cloud computer data center

Although they look the same and provide similar services, traditional and cloud based data centers are different. In a traditional organization, the data center is a tool that supports the origination's needs; in a cloud services provider, the data center is the product and the operational focus of the organization.

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