Cloud computing is a term you have no doubt heard of. It’s getting thrown around a fair bit these days. Today, Babeltech wants to take you through what exactly cloud computing is and how it can help you run your technology more efficiently, more reliably, and generally making your life easier.
Cloud computing has been around since the advent of the internet. Basically, what it means is taking what would traditionally be processed on your computer, and getting it to be done by someone elses computer. In simplist terms, websites were the first form of cloud computing. By storing information on a ‘server’ that many people can access, the same information doesn’t need to be stored by the thousands or millions of people accessing it, it can just be stored on the server. That saves space, and power resources. Not only that, but that server can be specifically designed to display that information only, so can become more and more efficient at it.
Your email is another simple form of cloud computing. When email first started, it was handled by a mail server, usually operated by your internet provider. By having a specific mail server, it could do just that, only that, but very well.
These days, we’re seeing a move from that traditional style of cloud computing to a situation where we offload more of our daily tasks to these specialised systems.
The most advanced form of cloud computing is what’s called Software as a Service (SaaS). This basically means that instead of running software on our own computer, it will be run on a special server, that we might access over the internet.
Babeltech runs all of its email systems through Google Apps. Google Apps is a ultramodern email platform, that basically takes the web application “gmail” and runs it for your domain (Babeltech.com.au). As well as getting gmail for Babeltech.com.au, we get google docs – a word/excel alternative; and Google Calender – a powerful interactive calender tool.
Where Google apps really benefits Babeltech is in its ease of access. Google apps easily synchronises with my phone, so that when I change a contact, or calender appointment, it will ‘push’ to the google cloud, and be viewable on any other program I have synced with Google apps (such as Outlook on my desktop or iCal on my laptop, and our CRM solution). By having this synchronisation across our systems, we don’t get lost in the swathe of data – it’s all centralised.
Google Apps Standard edition is free. Yes, you read correctly – Its completely free! It comes with 7Gb of data per user, and up to 50 users per domain. There are ads within google apps mail, but they are restricted to the right hand side of the page, and are fairly unnoticeable. However, there is a premier edition, which is $50/user/year, which gets rid of the ads, bumps it up to 25Gb data per user, and provides outlook exchange connectivity and blackberry support.
If you’re interested to change to the latest email technology out there, don’t hesitate to contact James Buzzard, our head Babeltech, on 0412254108 or at email@example.com
Another system which Babeltech uses day to day is Dropbox – a free (up to 2Gb) backup and synchronisation utility. By monitoring a given folder on your computer (your dropbox), Dropbox will upload all files and folders within ‘your dropbox’ to the internet for backup. And, if you have dropbox installed on several computers, then it will push those files and folders down to the other computers as well. Essentially, it synchronises your dropbox over several computers, as well as backing up to the internet.
As you can imagine, this is great for general backup of files, but also as a substitute to a usb stick. For example, if you work at the office and often take work home with you, you normally would have to remember to put the work on your stick before heading home, and vice versa when you’re at home. However, if you just store all your files within dropbox, you’d be able to just save your work, and walk out the door, knowing that dropbox is syncing your files to your home office before you’ve even got there. There are other features of dropbox, which we don’t have time to go into, but email us if you’re interested, and we’ll go through the lot.
Dropbox is free up to 2Gb, but is available at a monthly cost for both 50Gb and 100Gb sizes. If you’re interested in banishing your USB stick, contact James Buzzard on 0412254108 or at firstname.lastname@example.org
There are lots of other cloud computing systems out there, but we didn’t have enough room to write about them all here. If you’re interested in Client Relationship Management software, or remote backup systems like Mozy@Home, or online accounting systems such as Xero, don’t hesitate to contact us and we can explain further.