The cloud is a very topical issue in many organizations and with good reason. There are many benefits in moving applications to the cloud and as with all technology infrastructure changes, there is a level of risk that needs to be weighed up against the obvious benefits.
A recent survey shows that close to 80% of companies see significant benefits in moving to the cloud. Host access in particular, is one area that benefits greatly once it is on the cloud. Typically, larger organisations see the greatest benefit and they tend to have large host systems such as IBM mainframes requiring IBM3270 connectivity or even smaller systems where terminals such as VT220, IBM3151, IBM5250, Wyse60 or HP70092 are required for access.
The survey revealed that the respondents said that a number of factors were among those that they valued most highly when considering moving to the cloud.
Cost savings through increased efficiency was one that came up time and again. Operating on a cloud server reduces application installation time dramatically and the associated cost with it. Additionally, updates to software are now only installed in one place and once applied are available to the users immediately so that the benefits of these updates are available quickly.
Infrastructure and storage costs are another area where costs can be reduced. By removing the need for highly capable hardware at the desktop the cost of desktop devices is reduced to a minimum with no loss of productivity, in fact the opposite. The need for local storage is largely eliminated further enhancing security and the cost of compliance.
While these reasons were compelling in the decision to move to the cloud, other factors increase the benefit even more and reduce the payback period. Central management and server based statistic collection for the first time offers administrators a tool to accurately view the usage patterns of their users. This allows optimization of licencing for both hardware and software as well as identifying hot spots that cause delays.
Another factor that caught the attention of those considering a move to the cloud is the increased security this brings with it. Security is enhanced in several ways, firstly by removing the ability for software to be installed locally the likelihood of these systems being compromised is removed. This is of particular interest to companies who rely on systems for payment process applications such as HP non-stop systems which require T6530 terminals and Stratus VOS systems which require V103 terminals.
Damage done directly to a company as a result of these incursions can be very significant, but the damage done to the reputation can be immeasurable. In addition to that it may result in a subset of customers refusing to deal with the organisation on security grounds and who can blame them.
In summary, the adoption of host access via cloud based servers has many benefits and few downsides, security productivity and user satisfaction all improve while security is greatly enhanced and infrastructure costs are significantly reduced. All in all there are compelling reasons to look at this technology as a way of improving the bottom line.
 - Accenture - Enterprise Cloud Computing Unlocks Deep Strategic Value (PDF)