What is Cloud and How Will it Help My Business?

The question is not whether you should be moving to Cloud based technologies, but when.

However, the word “Cloud” has become a marketing term and lost it’s meaning.

This has made it difficult for business buyers and consumers to differentiate, evaluate and harness the right blend of this era of profound and necessary transition of information technology.  Below is a simple image representing the principles outlined by the NIST Cloud definition, our related philosophy, and a text summary and related links.



How Cloud is Transforming Business:

The Premise of Technology, IT and Cloud

IT is central to enabling good business decisions. The premise of IT should be to deliver the same or higher quality(SOHQ) at the same or lower cost (SOLC). The Cloud provides an efficient, flexible, cost effective way for Businesses to benefit on that premise.

TCG’s Approach:

We manage and provide Cloud Services. Our methodology is comprehensive, working from practical definitions which enable us to align our services with your overall business and technology needs. That could mean a cloud solution that’s Public, Private, or a Hybrid which leverages both. Whichever suits your needs, we are unique in offering this forward looking perspective to the AEC Industry.

Defining the Cloud:

Unsatisfied with accepting vague marketing terms, we seek to learn from & educate our customers. We are confident in doing this that we will have reason to do business together for years to come.

The following outline is drawn from numerous successes, conversations, standards communities, and vendors including Apple, Citrix, e-Builder, ITIL, Meridian, Microsoft, NIST, Oracle, Primavera, Vela Systems, VMWare, and more. The outline is based on theory, intended results, and examples. It is the foundation for our work and our discussions with everyone we meet.

The following outline of Characteristics, Service Delivery Methods and Deployment Models is a guide to realizing the benefits of Pure Cloud.

5 Essential Characteristics:

On-Demand Self Service:
Capabilities can be provisioned, configured and monitored without requiring human interaction with the provider. This results in more control over the services. (Citrix Cloud Portal, VMWare Horizon Manager and our TCG Portal are end user examples). Additionally, applications which allow programatic interaction fit here. (Meridian Systems Prolog Converge, Viewpoint Construction Imaging Web Service API’s are example products).

Broad Access:
Capabilities are available any where, any time, on any device. This results in maximum usage when desired. (For example you can access on a PC, Laptop, Tablet or Smart Phone).

Resource Pooling:
Computing resources such as processing, memory & bandwidth are dynamically assigned, generally across multiple tenants. This results in efficient leveling of resources. (Virtualization & Load balancing are examples of enabling technologies).

Rapid Elasticity:
Capabilities can be scaled up or down. This results in transparent, often rapid, increase or decrease in seemingly endless usage quantity. (Virtualization & SANs are examples of enabling technologies).

Measured Service:
Automatic control and optimization of resource use by leveraging a metering capability at some level appropriate to the type of service (e.g., storage, processing, bandwidth, and active user accounts). Resource usage can be monitored, controlled, and reported, providing transparency for both the provider and consumer of the utilized service.

3 Services Delivery Methods:

Infrastructure as a Service.  The layer of traditional back end systems components like servers, storage, bandwidth, and deployed applications.  This results in “No Hardware”.

Platform as a Service. The layer for writing applications.  This results in the ability to create machines, applications or components without any other development environment.

Software as a Service. The layer for end user applications.  This results in software being deliverd on a subscription model.

3 Deployment Models:

Public Cloud:
Utilized and paid for by unlimited number of tenants.  Operated by a third party.  This results in maximum delivery on the premise of Cloud.

Private Cloud:
Utilized and paid for by one tenant or an exclusive group of contractually bound tenants.  Operated by one or more of the tenants.  This results in less economy of scale.

Hybrid Cloud:
Utilized by a combination of the above.  This should not be confused with a Cloud plus a traditional environment without any cloud capabilities.  This results in a middle of the road approach to scale.

The layer of human resources that make all of the above work.  Although the idea would be to eliminate human resources this does not seem likely any time soon.  Microsoft’s “Software + Services” concept is what drives this mindset.  If the provider has people operating the Cloud Service  then it fits here.