What Cloud?

You may have heard the term cloud computing or 'the Cloud,' but do you know what this is?

Cloud Computing is simply a set of pooled computing resources and services delivered over the web. It is a way of computing via the Internet that broadly shares computer resources instead of using software or storage on a local computer. The Cloud refers to the Internet and is based on the cloud image which is used to depict the Internet in technical network diagrams as an abstraction of the underlying infrastructure it represent


Cloud computing is often provided ‘as a service’ over the Internet, typically in the form of infrastructure as a service (IaaS), platform as a service (PaaS), or software as a service (SaaS).

Cloud Computing is nothing new really, it’s just that it is now being used to deliver more services to clients. Webmail, Facebook, Flickr, LinkedIn are all examples of Cloud computing and have been around for a few years now.

Typical cloud computing providers deliver common business applications online which are accessed from a web browser, while the software and data are stored on servers at a remote location. Full Business solutions are now available through the Cloud, providing Hosted Email solutions and document storage and sharing. This negates the need for hardware such as Email and File Servers at the client’s offices. The only requirement becomes a sufficient Internet connection and a licence to use the software.

Cloud computing customers don't have to purchase, manage, maintain, and scale the physical infrastructure required to handle their systems. Instead of having to invest time and money to keep their systems afloat, cloud computing customers simply pay for the resources they use, as they use them. This particular characteristic of cloud computing is one of its best assets—its elasticity.

The majority of cloud computing infrastructure, as of 2010, consists of reliable services delivered through data centres and built on physical or virtual servers. Clouds often appear as single points of access for all consumers' computing needs. Commercial offerings are generally expected to meet QoS (quality of service) requirements of customers and typically offer SLAs (service level agreements).


Windows 7

With Windows XP soon to be no longer available and Windows Vista continuing to cause problems, we present some of the reasons why you should choose Windows 7 as your Operating System of choice in the workplace.

7 Reasons to choose Windows 7:


1. You can still use XP applications: If you need Windows 7 speeds but have applications that only run on eight-year-old Windows XP, XP Mode can save you. This free, downloadable add-on for the Pro, Enterprise, and Ultimate versions of Windows 7 lets your old programs run as if native to Windows 7.XP Mode does not require a separate, licensed copy of XP.

2. More work time: Windows 7 boots up several seconds faster than Vista on identical hardware. That's precious time during which your employees can be productive.

3. Better enterprise features: There's a lot of good stuff in Windows 7 Enterprise, specifically for security and management. BitLocker encrypts entire hard drives, and BitLocker to Go does the same on removable USB flash drives. AppLocker lets IT pros specify exactly what programs are run on Windows 7 systems, so users can't bring in games from home.

4. Better search: Search is the killer app on the Web, and Windows 7 might finally have made it so in the Operating System. Vista integrated a search box throughout the interface; you'll find one in the Start menu, the control panel, and Windows Explorer. In Windows 7, it's the results that count. You can narrow the returns on the fly when you get too many. The search bar retains a history of what you've looked for, so you can quickly find things again. There's a better preview available for search results, as well.

5. Your driver is here: Older systems had a hard time with Vista upgrades due to lack of driver support for the hardware. That's unlikely to be the with Windows 7. Windows 7 has more in common with Vista than not, and Vista's had lots of time to get all the hardware support it needs. Better yet, Windows 7 is designed to go directly to the driver download pages of major vendors if a compatible driver isn't found.

6. DirectAccesss: DirectAccess provides direct access to your business network from anywhere, via secured tunnelling using IPsec and IPv6—without the need for a trusted VPN connection. The catch: Your network has to run Windows Server 2008 R2. If you do have Windows 2008 Server, it'll only take you a few clicks to connect clients via the Web and is significantly easier than setting up a VPN server. Users can be authenticated with Active Directory, so the W7 solution not only provides network permissions, but can push software updates to users as if they're connected to the business intranet.

7. 64 whole bits: Not that you couldn't get a 64-bit version of Vista, but every box with W7 comes with both the 32- and the 64-bit version inside. You'll want the latter if your hardware can support it. 64-bit will work, for example, with more than 4GB of RAM; if you've got an older CPU and less RAM than that, don't bother.

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