Monday, 28 September 2009

Cloud Starting to Catch On

This month we had our first customer in Hong Kong go 100% Cloud. Yep, no Windows servers, no database applications, no backup tapes or backup devices, and also he has "no worries". So you are asking "have they got anything?".
  • Email, including 10 Years of archive and message discovery
  • Intranet Site
  • VoIP & Chat
  • Word processing, spreadsheets and presentation tools
  • HR management including workflow for forms such as "Apply Leave", "Travel Expense"etc
  • CRM in both English and Simplified Chinese
  • Project Management
My client wants to expand in China and the Cloud offered him the best way to do this. His cost savings at start up were over 65% when compared to the traditional file server etc offered by others. This was a new business so conserving cash was a big issue for them. Out of the various consultants they worked with I offered the most flexible and forward thinking approach. The cost of IT is now a set fixed cost per employee, per year. If they expand they just add a user. If they wish to downsize they simply do not renew some licenses.

The model works and it was up and running in record time.

Single Sign On (SSO)

As you look closer into Cloud Computing you will also the appreciate the need to have a Single Sign On for users of various Cloud services. To do this you can adopt OpenID's or can use an OpenID provider such as Google so only one provider manages your ID information and none of the other providers have this in their system, they simply make a call to Google who confirm's the information. Other hosted web providers can then leverage that single sign in across a range of applications on the web.

If you wish to integrate to legacy Windows Active Directory services then this can be done in two ways. One is during the initial phase of populating Google's directory via API's provided by Google. For ongoing management of this environment there are providers than now provide this service. We are working with one now.

On Demand Storage

I was also interested to see in a recent report that 46% of CIO's questioned would seriously consider using the Cloud for storage in the near future rather than purchasing an endless cycle of storage. In Hong Kong it is common for many companies to rent storage space for their documents (even when the laws in Hong Kong support keeping an electronic or digital copy and destroying the paper documents), so why would they not rent space to store their digital files?

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