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Discovering the Cloud's Silver Lining

Cloud deployment options.
All of this is not to deter organizations from utilizing cloud computing, but rather to seriously consider exactly how they want to adopt in order to meet their specific technical and business aims. Just as there are many forms and derivatives of cloud computing—as we introduced earlier in this article—there are several options available for incorporating cloud-hosted assets into their existing infrastructure or replace it entirely. We'll introduce it in terms of two important questions that you should answer before any type of cloud deployment:

1. Where does my data live?
2. How much control do I have over my cloud assets?

Where does my data live?

  • Public: In these deployments, data resides in data centers that are owned and operated outside your organization, and they subsequently subscribe to the software, applications or virtual machines that host and manage their data;
  • Private: Data sits behind a firewall and organizations maintain the same level of control over their data as they have in an on-premises solution. Organizations utilize virtualization and automated data center provisioning to establish metered services available to internal customers;
  • Hybrid: Data is stored across two or more locations-whether on premises, in a public cloud, or a private cloud. Possibilities include extending storage to the cloud or hosting specified workloads in various locations; and
  • On-premises: Data and applications are installed and managed on computers and servers in the physical location of an organizations' workforce, offering maximum control over data sovereignty.

How much control do I have over my cloud assets?

  • Software-as-a-service: Software and its data are hosted on the cloud, and the hosting provider is responsible for software application and maintenance. Organizations will often pay per user, as well as for storage use. Data is accessed by end users through a thin client such as a web browser;
  • Platform-as-a-service: Networks, servers, storage, operating systems, programming language and databases are maintained by the hosting provider. Organizations and their users can build their own solutions, delivered either as an application or service;
  • Infrastructure-as-a-service: Hosting pro-viders buy and maintain hardware, servers and network components used to support various applications and operations. Organizations are responsible for patching and maintaining the operating systems and application software. Users have access to virtual machines, storage, firewalls, load balancers and networks, which results in a much greater control over installed software and applications; and
  • On-premises: Organizations have complete control over all aspects, including applications and networking. Organizations are responsible for purchasing and maintaining all hardware and software, and users often have local access to all applications and data over an internal network.

SharePoint in the cloud.
So how does this all correlate to SharePoint? For organizations deciding how to incorporate cloud computing into their SharePoint repertoire, whether it be in utilizing Office 365 SharePoint Online or cloud storage with on-premises SharePoint deployments—or both—there are several important considerations for which to account:

  • Governance: Enable security and compliance for business content by standardizing and enforcing corporate IT policies;
  • Migration: Decrease time-to-deployment of cloud or hybrid environments with simplified migration;
  • Hybrid administration: Facilitate co-existence, integration, replication and management of on-premise and online SharePoint environments;
  • Change management: Simplify content and customizations publication to the cloud for global consumption by automating change through the content, application and software development lifecycles; and
  • Storage optimization: Utilize cloud storage locations for SharePoint content, backup files, archive files and audit logs.

These items are vital to a successful SharePoint and cloud foray—look to members of the Microsoft partner ecosystem that can help in these areas, in order to realize the full potential cloud computing has for enterprises worldwide. 

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