Wednesday, 10 March 2010

Technology by demand

Thanks to the solutions of computation in the cloud, the companies of any size can count on software and enterprise infrastructure of last generation and only pay by the use that they give them. When operating through Internet, these initiatives they avoid the investments in equipment and licenses of software.

The computation in the cloud (or cloud computing) has been constituted in the great tendency for the enterprise systems anywhere in the world. In agreement with IDC, the global cost in these services it will reach US$44.200 million in 2013, near 10% of the total cost in information technology (YOU). The analyst calculates that the cost in applications, platforms and infrastructure as services the past year reached the US$17.400 million.

Similar to the services public of energy or water, this technology allows to give enterprise services of software through Internet in a demand scheme. Of this form, the companies use the applications or the infrastructure that needs for their activities and, in order month, only pays by the number of users or the time in they used which them.

Thanks to that characteristic, the companies use Internet - or “the cloud” - like means to accede to technology of last generation with an efficient and competitive cost, without concerning their antiquity or size. “The users no longer worry about the infrastructure behind the operation of their systems. He does not matter where they are the servants, how to administer them or each how much they are due to renew, the important thing is the solution”, says to Juan Carlos Rodriguez here, manager of services of IBM Colombia.

The equipment necessary to operate software or to store the data belongs to the supplier, that takes advantage of the economies scale to give a same service to many clients. Thus, it takes advantage of better his systems, it reduces the operation cost and it can offer services with a competitive price.

In fact, the model of businesses behind the computation has elements similar to those of timesharings in the real estate sector. “Perhaps it does not have US$1 million to buy an apartment in Cartagena, but it could have US$20.000 to use it by ten days. In other words, the companies pay by which need during a certain time and for they need what it”, comments Jorge Arduh, regional director of Indra.

Services in the cloud

So far, the computation in the cloud includes/understands three different types of service, conformed by specific tools and that can be contracted of independent form: applications package, platforms and infrastructure.

First, also Software call like Services (Saas, by its abbreviation in English), consists of the hiring of essential applications of software for the enterprise activity. In this group they are from basic programs, like text processors, spreadsheets or electronic mail, to tools for the management of inventories, relations with the clients or integral administration, like the ERP.

“These tools have interfaces similar to those of recognized products, reason why its use is very intuitive for the consumers. The information of the company centralizes in the data bases of the supplier, consequently is available when it requires it to the person and in any place of the planet”, says to Diego Maldonado, president of Avanxo.

The second class on watch “in the cloud” is made up of Platforms like Services (Paas, by its abbreviation in English). In these, the companies can in line use architecture models, in which they can design, develop and acquire specific tools for his operation.

For example, if a company needs a software to measure very precise variables, it could enter to Paas like or Azure (of Microsoft) to review if some developer has created independent it or, on the contrary, to create it quickly. “The idea is that the clients and the partners of businesses benefit mutually. We already counted with more than 300 developers than they offer tools for very specific businesses”, says to Abraham Martinez, manager of Cloud Computing in Microsoft Colombia.

Finally it is the Infrastructure like Services (Iaas, by its abbreviation in English), in which the suppliers offer maintenance, support and resources of calculation by Internet. According to Ricardo Celis, manager of project of Synapsis, the clients can use space in hard disk, data bases or time of data processing, for example, and only they pay by the consumption that realises of these resources.

Advantages in the cloud

To use the Internet properties to give services of subscription in line is not something new. Some years ago, companies specialized in the tercerización of services of applications existed (ASP) that acquired a monthly tariff to give specialized software.

In agreement with Rodriguez, of IBM, the great difference that offers the cloud computation in relation to those models is in the possibility that the clients pay exactly by what they received, without becoming jumbled in adjustment of infrastructure or equipment. “The company pays by the exact minutes in which the tool was used or by the number of people whom access to the application has”.

To this the flexibility is united that offers these services so that the organization can elevate or reduce her access to the systems, in agreement with their needs. Thus, for example, if the company must increase its group of employees, it only must ask for the number of new positions through the network to qualify them immediately.

“The philosophy is “service by demand”; that is to say, that the services are going away to determine the proportions in accordance with the company and not based on standards of the manufacturers of solutions”, Diego Navarrete says, manager regional presale of Digiware.

This modality on watch represents a significant reduction in the costs by licensing of software and acquisition of hardware necessary to manage the tasks in network (like servants for the mail or warehouses of data to store information). The reduction of equipment finishes being reflected in the costs of refrigeration, electrical energy, technological renovation and rent of physical space.

According to Olavo War, senior director of indirect sales of SAP Latin America, the models of cloud computing also hit in the tax burden of the organizations, when transforming the acquisition of software of a fixed cost (subject to depreciations and payment of taxes) into an operative cost, like any other service.

Like the maintenance, the update of the tools and the technical service are the responsibility of the supplier, the companies can relocate to their collaborators specialized in more strategic workings. “This Web is a concept totally, where the users always have the most recent versions of the software of transparent form in their operation”, Jorge Arduh comments.

The models of cloud computing imply a return of the much more fast investment, because the set-up times are reduced dramatically in relation to the traditional technologies. “A project that before took months or years, with cloud computing can be realised in days or weeks. Now it is not justified to have projects that have implementations of more than eight months”, says Maldonado.

In agreement with the experts, next to the reduction of costs, the cloud computation has helped “to democratise” enterprise software when allowing that companies small medians and accede to the same tools that economic conglomerates use or great companies.

“Multiple clients even share a same technological platform and a same instance of application. That yes, from the point of view of the user, is elastic; that is to say, limits for their growth do not exist”, says Marcela Cueli, product marketing to manager of datacenter and security of Global Crossing.

In this it agrees a DMS representative, that emphasizes that these tools can adopt the graphical presence or all the characteristics that love their users. “The infrastructure of cloud computing not only provides useful functions of personalisation and configuration of applications, conserves but also them after the updates”.

When working through atmospheres Web, the users can accede to the different software tools through any device that counts on access to Internet, like netbooks, intelligent telephones or computers without many technical requirements.

The small letter

In spite of their great advantages, these initiatives are not perfect nor applicable in all the surroundings. According to Marcela Cueli, of Global Crossing, these projects require of a process of evaluation of benefits and risks, a plan by phases for the implementation and the definition of a process of continuous improvement for the production stage.

To this the existence of suppliers is added that do not contemplate clear norms for the use of the information nor count on policies clear to respond before faults in their products. “The clients must make sure to count on agreements of levels on watch (SLA, abbreviation in English), that must appear in contracts and impose penalties if there are falls or faults in the applications. The supplier must respond with monetary clauses”, says to Abraham Martinez, of Microsoft.

Sometimes it will be necessary that the company counts on superfluous connections of high speed, to avoid disadvantages in the transmission of archives or when entering the programs. “The companies must begin with a return analysis on the investment, to know how much it costs to him to move to the cloud and if they justify it to the savings”, Martinez says.

The computation in the cloud is more and more popular, thanks to its combination of saving in the acquisition of equipment and software, flexibility for the use of the programs and facility to grow next to the requirements of the company. Nevertheless, for its definitive consolidation, still lacking that the suppliers communicate better the advantages and help to change the mentality of the users.

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