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Small Business

You might not know it, but you (and I) have been working in the cloud for quite some time.  For instance, raise your hand if you were one of the masses hanging in chat rooms in AOL in the 90s.  (You can put your hand down now). You’ve probably been sending and receiving email longer than you can remember, too. We’ve all been working in the cloud to one extent or another, even before it was referred to as a cloud—as was discussed on a recent Science Friday program on NPR. And by the way, you’re still working (or playing) in the cloud—if you are on Facebook, or Yelp, or Spotify, or if you use Dropbox. What differentiates current cloud from early cloud is that what we can do today is much more sophisticated, and giving us more power to be productive.

Essentially, cloud is the central power station that extends productivity and enables greater interconnectivity. In fact, in today’s environment, we’re seeing SMB customers serving as the early adopters of public cloud applications and services and mobile devices like smartphones and tablets. In fact, there was a great blog recently on how to move to working in the cloud.

One of the more compelling aspects of cloud is how it actually helps even the playing field for businesses, rendering labels such as SMB or Enterprise irrelevant at times. Need evidence? The New York Times recently reported on Cycle Computing, a 20-person company that makes supercomputer software. By grouping a massive supercomputing cluster, with 50,000 processors, on Amazon Web Services (read: Cloud) to do drug compound simulations, it used its software as an operating system, and utilized resources from several Amazon data centers. Joining forces with two other small companies, they used up the equivalent of 12.5 processor years, but completed their mission in fewer than three hours. According to the article, the computing cost was less than $4,900 a hour. “This enables small companies and any researcher that has a grant to do science that they could never do before,” Jason Stowe, chief executive of Cycle Computing, said in an interview.

As our reliance on the cloud grows, our expectations for speed and ease of access accelerate. And when you add mobility to the equation, you find new ways to work and drive business results: to make it easier for employees to be productive, partners to collaborate, and for customers to become more engaged—the potential opportunity is unlimited.

If you’ve got a good story that shows how you’ve been able to advance your business through cloud, let us know—we’d love to hear it.

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