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I have read Wikipedia articles, etc., but I have a small engineering firm. We're a machine vision integrator. For some reason, it was suggested that if we offered a "cloud" -- whatever that is -- that we'd be one of a kind and it'd help our business.

Could somebody please explain what this means? I mean, would I have to talk to my web host and get a dedicated cloud server, which would cost more I'm sure, and then what would the advantages be? Thanks!

To explain more, specifically, I would want GM, Ford, Chrysler, etc., and other clients to be able to access software that we have to apply to the machine vision systems we installed in their plants. I would also like to share machine vision files, CAD drawings, images, etc., over the cloud, in addition to proprietary machine vision files. I hope this cleared things up. Thanks again!

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For some reason, it was suggested that if we offered a "cloud" -- whatever that is -- that we'd be one of a kind and it'd help our business.

Stop listening to people that throw around terms that they don't understand.

Imagine a network diagram. You have your servers, your switches, your firewall, and a cloud representing the external network -- the internet. Someone decided that "the cloud" was a great word to describe how application service providers work. "The cloud" quickly became marketing-speak for "offering a service over the internet."

what would the advantages be?

Can your systems be adapted and enhanced to rely on a service provided by you over the internet? Does it make sense for you to do so? What value does this add to your existing offering? Will your customers want to buy such a service?

These are questions you can only answer for yourself. (And this is probably why this question is going to end up being closed.)

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    "Cloud" is newspeak for "ASP" - I wish more people knew this.
    – Wesley
    Apr 11, 2012 at 6:20
  • Thank you for taking the time to respond, Charles. Your answer helped clear up a couple of the questions I had in mind, and again, I appreciate your offering time to give your advice. Apr 11, 2012 at 6:38
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From the question:

For some reason, it was suggested that if we offered a "cloud" -- whatever that is -- that we'd be one of a kind and it'd help our business.

This is where the problem lies. At the moment this suggestion was offered, someone should have asked the suggester these questions: "How, exactly? What would our exact customer offering look like?"

I suspect this question will be closed soon, but this exemplifies a simple business principle that every sysadmin should take to heart: buzzwords don't add value. Clear vision and execution of same are needed.

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  • Thanks for taking the time to reply, Quux, but if I cannot go to this website (where I was referred to) for a basic, rudimentary understanding of my situation, where can I go? I didn't come here to be chastised; I may not be the smartest guy in the world, but I thought that that's what this website was for. After all, there are hundreds of people in the "cloud" tag, so I thought I could obtain some help. Apr 11, 2012 at 6:36
  • I had no intent to chastise you. I only wanted to give you one strategy for dealing with hazy requests like this.
    – quux
    Apr 11, 2012 at 6:55

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