What is “Cloud Computing”?

Jan 29, 2013 | Blog, Web Hosting

In this post, we try to briefly introduce “Cloud Computing,” and what it means to nonprofit organizations.

untitled-design-3Cloud Computing (or “The Cloud”) is a term that is constantly used by individuals and organizations about technology products and services. But what does it really mean? The answer: it depends!

At its core, cloud computing is a shared use of individual computing resources for a particular product or service. The hallmark of cloud computing is physical redundancy. Multiple physical computers (or servers) make up one cloud. If one computer or server on a cloud crashes, then the product or service that cloud provides remains available.

The following is a simplified example of how the cloud can work:
Traditionally, companies and nonprofit organizations would purchase individual servers for individual tasks. For example, an organization might spend $1,000 to buy a physical Microsoft Exchange email server. If anything happened to that particular server (such as a failed hard drive or bad power supply), then that organization’s email would be unavailable until the physical problem could be addressed.

With cloud computing, an organization might purchase five physical servers, turn them into one cloud, and run the applications (such as Microsoft Exchange) inside this cloud. So we see that not only is there physical redundancy (if one of the five servers crashes, all ten applications could theoretically remain available), but we also see higher levels of efficiency, because each application shares computing resources with the other applications, and more applications can be installed. There is no longer a 1:1 ratio as there sometimes was with running an application on a physical server.

This particular example leaves many details out on how this cloud is built or what physical servers were purchased. But the point remains the same, and the message is clear: Cloud computing brings redundancy and efficiency.

The imaginary cloud explained earlier is actually less common. This cloud is a private cloud – a single organization owns and manages all of the underlying physical servers, as well as the applications running on the cloud. The more common approach is to rent cloud “resources” from a third party provider in the form of infrastructure or service. For example, Sales Force is a Cloud Service. Another provider that is more common for nonprofit organizations is several of Blackbaud’s services, such as eTapestry.

People and businesses are adopting cloud computing at higher rates each year. There are several types of cloud services (Infrastructure as a Service – IaaS, Software as a Service – SaaS, etc…), and the possibilities of what a nonprofit organization can do with the cloud are huge.

To learn more about our services, visit our home page, or read about our services.

Why Choose Barred Owl Web?

We have worked with David at Barred Owl for several years. The experience has been great. He is very knowledgeable and serves us well with prompt help and utmost professionalism. The price we pay is very competitive and a great value for the products we receive. I would recommend without reservation that you explore Barred Owl as a solution for your server and managed web-hosting needs.
Mark Morgenstern, Senior Director, Grow2Serve

Barred Owl has hosted our websites for many years with consistently great uptime. David & his team have always been responsive when the sites experience high traffic issues. They have been creative in thinking about ways to improve server performance and proactive about security updates. They have always been a great value, and we will continue to use them for all our hosting needs.
Evan Donovan, City Vision University

Top-notch service from start to finish! Friendly, responsive, and completed my website migration and hosting project with little to no input on my part - which was exactly what I was looking for. I imagined a months-long headache of problems and they nailed it in just one business day. Very reasonable priced as well so my small budget could afford them. My professional advice: Do Not Hesitate to hire Barred Owl Web!
Fern Bertch, Great Favors

A Few of Our Clients:

Bakke Graduate University (BGU)
Bethel Bible Village
Chattanooga Room in the Inn
Great Favors
International Peace Initiatives
Law Office of Daniel J. White
Metropolitan Ministries (MetMin)

Midwest Tread
Mission Data International
NET Institute
Rogue River Counseling
City Vision University
Tranco Logistics
Yoko Consulting

Contact Us

P.O. Box 21514
Chattanooga, TN 37424