What is a Cloud Data Center?

Instructor: Louay Chebib
What is the 'cloud?' Ever wonder how your computer and data can live in the cloud? Is it better for you to own and manage your own computer resources, or should you let a professional do that for you? Follow along and find out.

What is a Cloud Data Center?

The idea of data and computers in the cloud is recent. It acknowledges that most people and organizations do not really care where their data and processing resources reside; for most users, what is important is that they can access the applications and data that they need, when they need them.

Cloud Computing as Outsourcing

Even though the idea of outsourcing sometimes has a negative connotation, it is essentially based on the idea that you let someone else provide an essential service. People and organizations do this so they can concentrate on what they do best. You expect that the person or organization, that you hire to provide the service, and do a better job since that's what they do. They are the experts; they are experienced and it is what they do best. For example, you see (hire) a doctor to treat a medical condition, you hire an electrician or a plumber to do complicated work that you do not know how to do. Each of these providers is an expert in their field. You may do it yourself, if you have the time and skill, but this takes you away from what you need to do. When you hire someone else, you have time to concentrate on your business. Outsourcing your data center lets you focus on the your core business activities (what you do best), without needing to hire a staff of people to manage and support the technology you need to run your business.

A Data Center

Since technology resources are essential, having a data center, that is a secure physical space to house technology resources, is essential. The job of a properly run data center is to ensure access to information and technology resources where needed, and when needed. Until recently, organizations needed to do everything. They built a secure location inside their organization's headquarters, and hired a dedicated staff of computer professionals to ensure that everything functioned, as it should. Everything was done in-house by the organization that owned, and managed it all. Running a data center is expensive and complicated. It requires an initial capital investment to set up, and time and money to keep it maintained and current. For many organizations, this expensive and complicated burden takes away from what they do best. For non-computer and information technology centered businesses, this is like asking an accountant to perform brain surgery!

A Data Center in the Cloud

A Cloud Data Center is just like a traditional data center except that the cloud services provider is an expert vendor who is providing all the needed services and support. The client organization outsources the functions that would have been done in-house to the service provider. The cloud service providers set up shared data centers for their clients. These service providers manage shared, secure, data centers for many users and clients. Clients can lease what they need. Many providers set up multiple data centers in different geographical locations to offer redundancy in case of outages. These professional service providers keep up with industry standards. They protect clients' privacy and security. The cloud services model is described as an on-demand utility or service. Just like you only buy the electricity you need from your local power company, under this utility model, customers purchase only what they need. The utility model allows customers to scale up or down their services as needed. During a busy season, the customer can add processing capacity and release it when it is no longer needed. You can compare this to hiring a temporary employment service to find you the staff you need to handle the busy season. Using the utility model you can 'hire' extra data center resources.

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