What Is Cloud Computing?

What is cloud computing? Everyone in the technology world is talking about it… and a lot of people in the business world are asking the same question, “What is cloud computing, and what does it mean for my business?”

Cloud computing platforms are growing in popularity, but why? What unique advantages does a cloud computing architecture offer to companies in today’s economic climate? And what just what is cloud computing, anyway?” Let’s explore the cloud computing infrastructure and its impact on critically important areas to IT, like security, infrastructure investments, business application development, and more.

Most IT departments are forced to spend a significant portion of their time on frustrating implementation, maintenance, and upgrade projects that too often don’t add significant value to the company’s bottom line. Increasingly, IT teams are turning to cloud computing technology to minimize the time spent on lower-value activities and allow IT to focus on strategic activities with greater impact on the business.

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The fundamental cloud computing infrastructure has won over the CIOs of some of the world’s largest organizations—these once-skeptical executives never looked back after experiencing first-hand the host of benefits delivered by cloud computing technology.

  • Proven Web-services integration. By their very nature, cloud computing technology is much easier and quicker to integrate with your other enterprise applications (both traditional software and cloud computing infrastructure-based), whether third-party or homegrown.
  • World-class service delivery. Cloud computing infrastructures offer much greater scalability, complete disaster recovery, and impressive uptime numbers.
  • No hardware or software to install: a 100% cloud computing infrastructure. The beauty of cloud computing technology is its simplicity… and in the fact that it requires significantly fewer capital expenditures to get up and running.
  • Faster and lower-risk deployment. You can get up and running in a fraction of the time with a cloud computing infrastructure. No more waiting months or years and spending millions of dollars before anyone gets to log into your new solution. Your cloud computing technology applications are live in a matter of weeks or months, even with extensive customization or integration.
  • Support for deep customizations. Some IT professionals mistakenly think that cloud computing technology is difficult or impossible to customize extensively, and therefore is not a good choice for complex enterprises. The cloud computing infrastructure not only allows deep customization and application configuration, it preserves all those customizations even during upgrades. And even better, cloud computing technology is ideal for application development to support your organization’s evolving needs.
  • Empowered business users. Cloud computing technology allows on-the-fly, point-and-click customization and report generation for business users, so IT doesn’t spend half its time making minor changes and running reports.
  • Automatic upgrades that don’t impact IT resources. Cloud computing infrastructures put an end to a huge IT dilemma: If we upgrade to the latest-and-greatest version of the application, we’ll be forced to spend time and resources (that we don’t have) to rebuild our customizations and integrations. Cloud computing technology doesn’t force you to decide between upgrading and preserving all your hard work, because those customizations and integrations are automatically preserved during an upgrade.
  • Pre-built, pre-integrated apps for cloud computing technology. The Force.com AppExchange features hundreds of applications built for cloud computing infrastructure, pre-integrated with your Salesforce CRM application or your other application development work on Force.com.

A Cloud Computing Infrastructure: What’s the Value?

Cloud computing infrastructures and salesforce.com’s Force.com platform have won over the CIOs of some of the world’s largest organizations. These forward-thinking (yet extremely security-conscious) tech executives fully vetted Force.com and realized the value cloud computing technology offers.

Salesforce.com frees companies from traditional software and its hidden costs, high failure rates, unacceptable risks, and protracted implementations. All while providing a comprehensive, flexible platform that meets the needs of businesses of every size, from the world's largest enterprises to small and mid-sized companies everywhere.

Salesforce.com minimizes the risk involved in application development and implementation. After all, technology should solve your business problems, not create more headaches. With salesforce.com and the Force.com cloud computing technology, you'll be free to focus on solving strategic problems instead of worrying about infrastructure requirements, maintenance, and upgrades.

The cloud computing infrastructure also promises significant savings in administrative costs—more than 50 percent in comparison to client/server software. The areas in which cloud computing saves administrative costs include:

  • Basic customization. The Force.com cloud computing technology’s point-and-click tools empower administrators and business users to perform basic customizations themselves.
  • Real-time reporting. Easy wizards step users through report and dashboard creation, so IT’s queue is free of report requests.
  • Security and sharing models. The sharing model built into the Force.com cloud computing infrastructure protects sensitive data while making the management of security profiles much less time-consuming.
  • Multiple languages and currencies. Included support for 13 languages and all currencies make managing a global application easier.

No wonder so many CIOs are restructuring their companies around a cloud computing infrastructure.

Cloud Computing Technology & Application Development

Cloud computing technology is sparking a huge change in application development circles. Just like the changes that moved publishing technology from paper to bits, making it possible for us to have information about anything in the world right at our fingertips in a flash, the move to a cloud computing infrastructure for application development is making it possible to build robust, enterprise-class applications in a fraction of the time and at a much lower cost.

The Force.com platform ushers in a new era of applications in the cloud that bring the power and success of Salesforce CRM to your whole company—not just sales, service, and marketing. New types of application innovation are now possible through a combination of “no programming” point-and-click wizards, toolkits for the most popular development languages for creating client-side applications, and Apex Code, salesforce.com’s programming language for our Force.com platform. Because the resulting applications will run natively on Force.com, developers gain many advantages.

  • Cloud computing technology boasts all the benefits of multitenancy, including built-in security, reliability, upgradeability, and ease of use.
  • Out-of-the-box features such as analytics, offline access, and mobile deployment speed application development.
  • There’s no need to worry about managing and maintaining any server infrastructure, even as applications scale to thousands of users.
  • You can join a community of thousands of developers also focused on business application development for cloud computing infrastructures.
  • The Force.com AppExchange marketplace provides an outlet for all your business application development and access to tens of thousands of salesforce.com customers.

By eliminating the problems of traditional application development, cloud computing technology frees you to focus on developing business applications that deliver true value to your business (or your customers). The Force.com platform lets IT innovate while avoiding the costs and headaches associated with servers, individual software solutions, middleware or point-to-point connections, upgrades—and the staff needed to manage it all.

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What is cloud computing?


Everyone is talking about “the cloud.” But what does it mean?

Business applications are moving to the cloud. It’s not just a fad—the shift from traditional software models to the Internet has steadily gained momentum over the last 10 years. Looking ahead, the next decade of cloud computing promises new ways to collaborate everywhere, through mobile devices.

Life before cloud computing

Traditional business applications have always been very complicated and expensive. The amount and variety of hardware and software required to run them are daunting. You need a whole team of experts to install, configure, test, run, secure, and update them.

When you multiply this effort across dozens or hundreds of apps, it’s easy to see why the biggest companies with the best IT departments aren’t getting the apps they need. Small and mid-sized businesses don’t stand a chance.

Cloud computing: a better way

With cloud computing, you eliminate those headaches because you’re not managing hardware and software—that’s the responsibility of an experienced vendor like salesforce.com. The shared infrastructure means it works like a utility: You only pay for what you need, upgrades are automatic, and scaling up or down is easy.

Cloud-based apps can be up and running in days or weeks, and they cost less. With a cloud app, you just open a browser, log in, customize the app, and start using it.

Businesses are running all kinds of apps in the cloud, like customer relationship management (CRM), HR, accounting, and much more. Some of the world’s largest companies moved their applications to the cloud with salesforce.com after rigorously testing the security and reliability of our infrastructure.

As cloud computing grows in popularity, thousands of companies are simply rebranding their non-cloud products and services as “cloud computing.” Always dig deeper when evaluating cloud offerings and keep in mind that if you have to buy and manage hardware and software, what you’re looking at isn’t really cloud computing but a false cloud.

Cloud 2: Mobility and collaboration

The latest innovations in cloud computing are making our business applications even more mobile and collaborative, similar to popular consumer apps like Facebook and Twitter. As consumers, we now expect that the information we care about will be pushed to us in real time, and business applications in the cloud are heading in that direction as well. With Cloud 2, keeping up with your work is as easy as keeping up with your personal life on Facebook.