Saving capital costs, energy and time spent on information technology are all advantages of doing business in the clouds.
Cloud computing that is.
About 90 people learned more Tuesday about virtualization and cloud computing -- technologies that are transforming the way companies do business -- at the Tri-City Development Council's luncheon at the Pasco Red Lion.
Virtualization takes multiple servers and consolidates them into one, making the servers into digital goods in the same way music from CDs can be played on iPods and books can be accessed on digital readers, said Tod Nielsen, president of VMware of California, the fifth largest infrastructure software company in the world.
That saves on capital costs, energy and time, he said.
With cloud computing, the company's server is virtually placed in a data center, and the company connects to it remotely, said Paul Carlisle, technical adviser of elevate, a Richland business that sponsored the Tuesday lunch.
Elevate, which began in 2005, provides technology consulting and technical support services for businesses with 10 to 250 computers.
Virtualizing multiple servers into one is one step in the process to cloud computing, Carlisle said.
Some software, like Adobe Acrobat and Microsoft Office, is available through cloud computing. Instead of downloading the software to a computer, users access it using a password and then pay for their own use, he said.
A company may build its own cloud, which could involve having its own data center that they still connect to remotely. Privacy concerns may be one reason to operate a private cloud, Carlisle said.
Cloud computing went from No. 14 on chief information officers' technology priorities list in 2009, to No. 2 in 2010 to the top priority this year, according to a survey by Gartner Executive Programs, Nielsen said.
Some of the benefits include being able to pay by use, having a system that always is on and fast, being able to access an application store and being able to access it from any device, Nielsen said.
"Software is really changing and transforming the world," Nielsen said.