Cloud hosted software explained
Do you wonder what all the noise around cloud computing is about? There are very good reasons to get a handle on cloud computing, because it can deliver cost, reliability, performance and accessibility benefits to your business. In fact, the advantages of cloud computing are so compelling that along with offering a desktop solution, we’re creating a cloud version of V6 to put those benefits in your hands, if you so choose.
So, just what is cloud computing, then?
The really simple explanation is that you are using someone else’s computers to run your software. With cloud hosted software, you connect to those computers over the internet or a private connection.
But, what this means for your business requires a more detailed examination, including where those computers are and who is running them.
In Soft Tech’s case, the ‘other computers’ where your cloud hosted V6 will reside is Microsoft Azure.
This is an important distinction for multiple reasons:
It is super-secure. Microsoft invests hundreds of millions of dollars to ensure the integrity of its Azure platform.
It scales. ‘Scales’ is just a fancy word for ‘grows’, but when your cloud hosted V6 is in Azure, it will grow seamlessly with your business, no matter how big you might get.
It’s always on. Azure guarantees 99.9 percent ‘uptime’ as a minimum on most services; this equates to just 8 hours and 42 minutes of downtime per year. Other services are guaranteed to 99.95 percent.
Your application can be accessed from anywhere, on any device, if you so choose. So long as you have a connection, you can work.
Your data is protected with built-in backups and replication across multiple data centers.
Demonstrating cloud benefits with a real-life example
These days, a great many ‘standard’ software programs are cloud hosted already. Microsoft’s Office 365 is a good example which does well to show the benefits of cloud ‘software as a service’. With this model of software delivery (a model we are introducing with software as a service in V6), you don’t need to buy DVDs to install it.
Your documents, whether Word, PowerPoint or Excel, go straight into OneDrive, a service packaged with Office 365. If your computer dies for any reason, it is no longer the catastrophe it once was. Get a new one, re-download Office 365 and ALL your documents and data are right there.
You also don’t pay for the software up front, like we used to do in the past (CapEx). Instead, you take out a subscription (OpEx) and pay-as-you-go, on a monthly or quarterly basis. With the time-value of money, this makes your software more affordable.
There are other changes: updates, whether for security reasons or the introduction of new features happen constantly and more-or-less seamlessly, often overnight.
What cloud hosted means for Soft Tech V6
The advantages of cloud hosted software are clear, and they are precisely the sort of advantages we are working on delivering in V6.
In fact, all the benefits will be available: subscription payments, automated updates, built-in backups, anywhere/any device accessibility, far better security and reliability than you can expect from a computer on your desk.
There’s more, too. We’re building a suite of web-based applications which will enhance the functionality and performance of V6. With these applications also available on a cloud hosted basis, it will be easy for you to try them out.
Right now, we’re piloting cloud hosted V6 with a number of our customers. It is set up, tested, installed and working. If you’d like to participate in the pilot, we’d love to hear from you. Also, if you have any questions around cloud hosting, we’re here to help, so please give us a call.