Advice Tips

Thinking About Cloud Computing? What questions should you be asking and why. – Part 2

Cloud Computing Chalkboard-What is the cloudWhat is the Cloud?  Simple question – not so simple answer.

To the purist nerd (like me) the Cloud is a huge computing resource that is geographically disperse and highly resilient.  Google’s Gmail is a good example.  When you check your email at you are not just connecting to one single web server located at Google’s headquarters in California.   You’d expect there to be many servers that could respond (in case one fails).  It wouldn’t be very efficient for Google to have all the servers in just the one location either, so you can bet they have multiple datacenters located across the United States, North America and the rest of the World.  They do this to protect against natural disasters and to improve performance by having some option closer to you wherever you are.  If you check your email while you are in San Francisco it probably comes from a server in California and when you are in London it probably comes from a server in the United Kingdom. Thousands of servers in hundreds of locations all working together. Your email is here, there and everywhere – up in the Cloud.

WikipediaThe general public has adopted what I think is a broader definition.   If we consider the Wikipedia’s definition:

Cloud computing is the delivery of computing as a service rather than a product, whereby shared resources, software, and information are provided to computers and other devices as a metered service over a network (typically the Internet)

The key ideas are:

  • Service – A Product that is continually developed, not one that you walk down to the computer store and buy a shrink wrapped copy with an install CD.
  • Devices – Important to note that we are talking about all sorts of computing devices such as PCs, Macs, Tablets and Smartphones.
  • Metered – Typically meaning that you are paying monthly rather than one large fee up front.
  • Internet – If we receive this service via the Internet, we are pretty much considering it a Cloud based application.

I think this idea is most applicable when we look at solutions in the Dental Industry.   Most of them work that way, but come up short of riding on a infrastructure that would please the hard core purist.   Each vendor has typically crafted a ‘Private Cloud’ – a collection of resources they have setup and manage in DataCenter(s) to provide their Services back to you.

In this multipart series I am trying to help educate you to the issues surrounding the issues of Cloud based solutions offered by Dental Practice Management software companies. By arming you with the questions to ask and the context behind them you should be empowered to better evaluate the products and how they would benefit your Practice. You can find a link to all the Parts of the Series back on the Index in Part 1.

Up Next in Part 3 of the Series I will discuss “What can the Cloud do for You?

MME TechnicianIf you need a little help with your Practice, this is what MME Consulting does. Just give us a call at 866-419-1102 or check us out online at

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By Steve McEvoy

Car Guy, Nerd, Canadian hiding in California