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April 9, 2012

Learning from the Enterprise

Cloud computing has quickly become a hot topic among business owners and IT professionals. According to a study conducted by IBM, the number of enterprises that utilize cloud computing will more than double by the year 2015. As more enterprise companies move into the cloud, smaller businesses can observe their actions in order to determine the most effective ways to use the cloud in their own organizations.

Benefits of Learning from Enterprises

While enterprise companies have a seemingly endless supply of money for trial and error operations, smaller businesses typically operate on limited funds. They don’t have the necessary resources to jump into the cloud with both feet and see where they land. By observing the results of larger corporations’ efforts, small businesses can engage in trial and error analysis without putting out any of their own money. This allows a small business to compare the results of different enterprises’ cloud computing strategies, determine which is most effective, and focus its efforts and resources on duplicating that strategy.

How Enterprise Companies Use the Cloud

Some of the largest corporations in the world have already moved data and operations into the cloud. Most of these enterprises performed substantial cloud research prior to taking the leap, and the first operations moved into the cloud were not of primary importance to the company. As enterprises became comfortable with cloud computing, they began moving their more important data and operations into the cloud as well.

Some enterprises have also used the cloud in unexpected ways. Amazon, a large Internet retailer, utilized the cloud by creating a crowdsourcing interface known as Mechanical Turk. Mechanical Turk offers data-oriented tasks, such as searching for certain terms on Google and analyzing the results, to an on-demand workforce of Internet users all over the world. By allowing freelance Internet personnel to complete some of the company’s tedious tasks, Amazon saved itself time and money.

Enterprise Clouds

Because many large corporations are concerned with the security of their data and operations, they have opted for the enterprise cloud instead of the public cloud. While public clouds allow multiple organizations to share resources, enterprise clouds do not. Enterprise clouds offer more security and an easier transition period than public clouds. However, enterprise clouds are much more expensive. As companies continue to use them, enterprise clouds become even more expensive. Public clouds, on the other hand, are much more cost-effective.

To deal with these issues, some enterprises first moved operations into an enterprise cloud in order to facilitate a smooth transition. After operations were established and secure, the companies moved them into the public cloud to save money. Other corporations moved their operations into a hybrid cloud, which is a cloud infrastructure that combines elements of both public and enterprise clouds. Because these strategies were successful for most enterprises, smaller businesses can employ similar strategies with confidence.

Small businesses can take away a great deal of information from the cloud strategies of larger companies. Security is important, and companies should not move their most important operations into the cloud without first testing the waters. Finally, the cloud can be utilized for many unique purposes, such as crowdsourcing, that can save small businesses both time and money.

Joseph Baker is a freelance writer living in the Midwest. He enjoys working on his novel and drinking large amounts of Earl Grey tea. He writes this article behalf of American InterContinental University.