Cloud - the future of computing?

Last week our Office Manager, Sue Wressell, and I met with one of our Partners, Microtrading. <...

Last week our Office Manager, Sue Wressell, and I met with one of our Partners, Microtrading. Microtrading, a total IT solutions provider, is a long-term partner of the Sport and Recreation Alliance, supplying our IT, and the company provide a value-for-money, expert service.
The reason for the meeting was to plan the future-proofing of our IT systems and after the initial discussions, the IT whizz-kids from Microtrading brought up clouds, or more correctly, cloud computing. Now I must admit at this point my thoughts turned to white fluffy things in the sky, which have recently had the irritating propensity to turn grey and provide a good soaking.
My head was still in the proverbial clouds as the geeks continued to enthuse about a computing model which they believe will be the way everyone runs and accesses their computer systems in the not-too-distant future. Whilst they were getting excited, the expressions on our faces indicated that we were completely lost. Undeterred they proceeded to break down the key aspects of the cloud and what it would mean for our business in clear(ish), concise chunks.
Insofar as I could ascertain, the cloud:
Is a computing model for enabling convenient, on-demand network access to a shared pool of computing resources (e.g., networks, servers, storage, applications, and services)
Provides users with the ability to access hardware and software resources over the internet or via a private cloud which can be scaled up and down to suit the demands of the organisation, as and when required.
This may still sound like techno-babble to some, but what it means in practice is that the model of IT procurement will change to one of operational expenditure rather than capital expenditure as the resources on the cloud are utilised on an on-demand basis.
It is encouraging to see that our partners at Microtrading are so knowledgeable and up-to-date with their service and advice, and we feel confident that when we take the plunge into cloud technology it will be white rather than grey.

Sallie Barker
Head of Services at the Sport and Recreation Alliance