The Empirical Analysis of Cloud Computing Services among the Hungarian Enterprises

The Empirical Analysis of Cloud Computing Services among the Hungarian Enterprises

Peter Sasvari (University of Miskolc, Hungary) and Zoltán Nagymate (University of Miskolc, Hungary)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-8598-7.ch006
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Abstract

Innovation capability has increasingly been searched by the ICT sector in cloud computing applications recently. This chapter describes the economic potentials of cloud computing and explores the characteristics of its usage among Hungarian enterprises. Although enterprises are aware of the basic concept of cloud computing, they have concerns about its application mainly due to data security issues and the lack of education. The chance of using cloud computing services is mainly facilitated by the creation of easier application and consultation would positively affect their usage. According to microenterprises and corporations, faster information flow and remote access are the key benefits of cloud usage. In the case of small-sized enterprises, the two main advantages are easier system recoverability and a higher level of mobility in case of a system breakdown. For the medium-sized enterprises, remote access and greater data security were the key benefits of using cloud computing services in 2014.
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1. Introduction

The increasingly fierce economic competition requires companies to respond to the environmental changes as quickly as possible. Keeping pace with the speed of the technological development is difficult but the identification of revolutionary innovations and their adaptation within a short period of time might be a turning point in the life of an organization. The development level of information technology (IT) at an enterprise also indicates its ability to innovate because in lack of proper equipments innovation is impossible (Sasvari, 2012).

IT tools provide support for an enterprise in several areas. With their help, inter alia, production processes can be optimized, communication can be facilitated, information flow becomes faster and data processing becomes more efficient. However, the operation of an IT department involves challenges as well. Establishing the IT-infrastructure is on the one hand a capital-intensive task, not to mention the additional maintenance and development costs. On the other hand, system operation requires a high level of expertise, which is reflected both at management and employee levels (Shaw, 2011).

If the organization's information technology is not cost-effective and its operation is not in proper hands, it doesn’t support the implementation of targets. Cloud computing offers solution for the two mentioned basic as well as many other problems.

The newest stage in the evolution of IT is the emergence of cloud, which has fundamentally changed the industry. The English definition of “cloud computing” means a service. Its essence is that the customer obtains IT tools via Internet connection, so their IT department or at least a part of it can be outsourced.

The appearance of the model has a complex impact on the whole economy in the long term. This concept is not only present at a company-level but also in the everyday life of people. The range of services involves not only the simple e-mail sending but also the data storage and the operation of web-based management functions in the company. There were many professional studies dealing with the questions that served as a basis when the secondary research was carried out.

We focused on the enterprise as a customer and a recipient of cloud-based services. The aim of our research was to find out what the impact of the partial or full changeover to the new technology was in the case of Hungarian organizations in their everyday life and competitiveness. The basic questions of the research were the following:

  • To what extent is the concept of cloud computing known among the Hungarian enterprises?

  • What are the characteristics of using this technology in Hungarian organizations?

  • What are the critical decision factors?

  • Is the use of cloud computing services effective?

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2. Definition And Classification Of Cloud Computing

In the background of cloud computing development is the idea, according to which information processing method is much more efficient when it is accessible via network and it is processed through centrally aligned computer and storage systems.

The term “cloud” is derived from how the Internet is presented on network diagrams, with which the unknown or irrelevant parts of the system are marked.

In the practice the most widely accepted definition was developed by the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). This definition is also used in the European Union's publications which reads as follows:

“Cloud technology is a model that enables anywhere a convenient and on-demand access to shared set of customized IT resources (networks, servers, storage, applications, services), while it requires minimal administrative activities and service intervention.”

The clouds can be classified in many ways. The cloud models can be differentiated on the basis of how many tenants have the resources used by the customer, by whom the background infrastructure is operated, where the tools are located (Bőgel, 2009). According to Mell and Grance (2011), four types of clouds can be differentiated:

  • Private cloud,

  • Community cloud,

  • Public cloud,

  • Hybrid cloud.

Key Terms in this Chapter

On-Demand Self-Service: A consumer can unilaterally provision computing capabilities, such as server time and network storage, as needed automatically without requiring human interaction with each service provider.

Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS): The capability provided to the consumer is to provision processing, storage, networks, and other fundamental computing resources where the consumer is able to deploy and run arbitrary software, which can include operating systems and applications. The consumer does not manage or control the underlying cloud infrastructure but has control over operating systems, storage, and deployed applications; and possibly limited control of select networking components (e.g., host firewalls).

Resource Pooling: The provider’s computing resources are pooled to serve multiple consumers using a multi-tenant model, with different physical and virtual resources dynamically assigned and reassigned according to consumer demand. There is a sense of location independence in that the customer generally has no control or knowledge over the exact location of the provided resources but may be able to specify location at a higher level of abstraction (e.g., country, state, or datacenter). Examples of resources include storage, processing, memory, and network bandwidth.

Rapid Elasticity: Capabilities can be elastically provisioned and released, in some cases automatically, to scale rapidly outward and inward commensurate with demand. To the consumer, the capabilities available for provisioning often appear to be unlimited and can be appropriated in any quantity at any time.

Platform as a Service (PaaS): The capability provided to the consumer is to deploy onto the cloud infrastructure consumer-created or acquired applications created using programming languages, libraries, services, and tools supported by the provider. The consumer does not manage or control the underlying cloud infrastructure including network, servers, operating systems, or storage, but has control over the deployed applications and possibly configuration settings for the application-hosting environment.

Broad Network Access: Capabilities are available over the network and accessed through standard mechanisms that promote use by heterogeneous thin or thick client platforms (e.g., mobile phones, tablets, laptops, and workstations).

Gross Domestic Product (GDP): It is the market value of all officially recognized final goods and services produced within a country in a year, or over a given period of time. GDP per capita is often used as an indicator of a country's material standard of living.

Public Cloud: The cloud infrastructure is provisioned for open use by the general public. It may be owned, managed, and operated by a business, academic, or government organization, or some combination of them. It exists on the premises of the cloud provider.

Hybrid Cloud: The cloud infrastructure is a composition of two or more distinct cloud infrastructures (private, community, or public) that remain unique entities, but are bound together by standardized or proprietary technology that enables data and application portability (e.g., cloud bursting for load balancing between clouds).

Community Cloud: The cloud infrastructure is provisioned for exclusive use by a specific community of consumers from organizations that have shared concerns (e.g., mission, security requirements, policy, and compliance considerations). It may be owned, managed, and operated by one or more of the organizations in the community, a third party, or some combination of them, and it may exist on or off premises.

Measured Service: Cloud systems automatically control and optimize resource use by leveraging a metering capability at some level of abstraction appropriate to the type of service (e.g., storage, processing, bandwidth, and active user accounts). Resource usage can be monitored, controlled, and reported, providing transparency for both the provider and consumer of the utilized service.

Data Security: Protection against illegal or wrongful intrusion. In the IT world, intrusion concerns mostly deal with gaining access to user and company data.

Information Technology: Processing information by computer, which encompasses “information management” and “computer science.” IT is also the latest moniker for the industry as a whole, and the term became popular in the 1990s. It actually took 40 years before the industry settled on what to call itself. First it was “electronic data processing” (EDP), followed by “management information systems” (MIS) and “information systems” (IS) and finally “information technology” (IT).

Opportunity Cost: It is a key concept in economics. Opportunity costs are not restricted to monetary or financial costs: the real cost of output forgone, lost time, pleasure or any other benefit that provides utility should also be considered opportunity costs.

Private Cloud: The cloud infrastructure is provisioned for exclusive use by a single organization comprising multiple consumers (e.g., business units). It may be owned, managed, and operated by the organization, a third party, or some combination of them, and it may exist on or off premises.

Remote Access: The ability to log in to a computer or network within an organization from an external location. Remote access is typically accomplished via a connection to the Internet or by dialing directly via an analog modem. See virtual private network, remote control software and RAS.

Data Protection: An umbrella term for various procedures that ensure information is secure and available only to authorized users.

Cloud Computing: It is a model for enabling ubiquitous, convenient, on-demand network access to a shared pool of configurable computing resources (e.g., networks, servers, storage, applications, and services) that can be rapidly provisioned and released with minimal management effort or service provider interaction. This cloud model is composed of five essential characteristics, three service models, and four deployment models.

Software as a Service (SaaS): The capability provided to the consumer is to use the provider’s applications running on a cloud infrastructure. The applications are accessible from various client devices through either a thin client interface, such as a web browser (e.g., web-based email), or a program interface. The consumer does not manage or control the underlying cloud infrastructure including network, servers, operating systems, storage, or even individual application capabilities, with the possible exception of limited user-specific application configuration settings.

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