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Cloud Continues Its Move into the Mainstream

Weekly Cloud Wrap Up

Big businesses are finding out they have something in common with their smaller counterparts. Both like to save cash, and both like to be prepared in the event of a disaster. And they have an affinity for the cloud.

A recent article in the Wall Street Journal found large organizations are adopting cloud technology for many of the same reasons held by smaller organizations: greater flexibility and cost savings, resiliency in the face of natural disasters and the ability to implement new technologies without long-term commitment. While they acknowledge concerns about cyber-security, they believe they can safely pursue their cloud strategies while taking appropriate precautions.

"For every application, we look at whether the cloud can be used, and at that moment we look at all aspects, including security. When all criteria are met we will launch on the cloud and therefore we believe that the cloud is secure enough for a number of scenarios," said Johan Krebber, Shell group IT architect and lead architect for the Projects and Technology Business, according to the Journal.

While Shell maintains the majority of its IT on its own data centers, "we already have quite a lot of computer resources that we use in the cloud," Krebber said.

Rackspace Reduces Prices for Network Bandwidth, Storage
Looking to shave off some of the costs associated with content delivery and cloud storage? Rackspace recently announced price cuts that can help you do just that.

Rackspace lowered its cloud storage prices for volume customers, and it will lower prices on its network bandwidth and content delivery services, the company recently announced.

Rackspace reduced pricing 33 percent, from $0.18 to $0.12 per GB, for moving data and content over its Rackspace Cloud network and the Rackspace content delivery network (CDN), according to an article on Informationweek.com.

Enterprises and online information services use CDNs to pre-distribute key content to Internet servers around the world, owned by CDNs such as Akamai or Edgecast, so that response times to users seeking that content will come from a server close to them. When content is downloaded from a server in the same region as the user, response times can be cut by a third or half.

Rackspace CTO John Engates said Rackspace uses a simpler pricing model than some of its competitors and contains no "hidden" charges, such as a fee for hard-to-predict calls to the storage API or I/O charges.

"We've taken everything out that customers won't recognize up front. We don't want customer surprises. We don't want to get into the game of nickel and diming customers," he said.

Survey: Cloud Boosts Next Generation of Startups
If you have a business or product you're looking to bring to the masses without breaking the bank, the cloud may be the vehicle in which to take it to them.

According to a new survey, cloud computing isn't just potentially driving savings and flexibility for existing organizations; it's also laying the groundwork for a new generation of business startups.

A study of 1,300 U.S. and executives in the U.K., conducted by Rackspace Hosting with support from Manchester Business School in the U.K., finds cloud engagements are delivering positive impacts, from cost savings to more innovation, according to an article on Forbes.com. The survey also reveals that most of these executives see cloud as laying the groundwork for the next entrepreneurial boom.

Sixty-two percent of respondents either agreed totally or somewhat with the statement that "cloud computing is a key factor in the recent boom of entrepreneurs and start-ups," the survey found. Twenty-five percent agreed strongly with this idea.

Many respondents are speaking from experience - 43 percent of the group say their businesses were launched just within the past three years. A majority of respondents with startups in the survey, 52 percent, said they would have not have been able to afford on-premises IT resources, or would have had difficulty acquiring computer systems, if it weren't for cloud computing. In fact, 43 percent say the availability of cloud-based resources has made it "a lot easier" to set up their businesses.

More Stories By Patrick Burke

Patrick Burke is a writer and editor based in the greater New York area and occasionally blogs for Rackspace Hosting.

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