According to “2019 State of the Cloud Report from Flexera” RightScale’s report, 94% of companies use the cloud. It is no coincidence that so many enterprises are switching to cloud computing solutions. In this article, you will learn why it’s such a popular concept, how your business will benefit from cloud adoption, and why those who don’t use it yet are lagging behind the competition.
Business people are expected to be highly versatile. They must be experts in different areas and combine them with specific competencies. Finance, accounting, marketing, management, law – these are the areas presented on MBA studies, and every person managing the company should understand them. However, there is one more area that modern business people should become familiar with. It is IT knowledge.
I care about the business. What does it have familiar with IT?
The slogan “Everyone is an Tech company now” has been popular for many years. It may seem clichéd but there is a lot of truth in it. Like it or not, today’s business cannot function without IT. Employers, regardless of the industry, are looking for employees who will help them in digital transformation, creating modern solutions that increase the competitiveness of the business offer. Unfortunately, from a business point of view, due to their commitment to many responsibilities, IT specialists become a bottleneck that can generate delays. Too many outsourced tasks result in work overload and thus less efficient productivity. As a business-oriented person, I must honestly admit that our community does not facilitate the work of IT specialists. We use other languages. When discussing the possible solutions, we often have no idea what they are talking about, which makes communication difficult.
In my opinion, a more effective way of cooperation is to establish a partnership in which the managing person, who is aware of the available solutions, knows what they are related to and can adapt them to the business goals of his company. You may ask: why should I worry about this? There are other people to manage this tasks. I just want my corporate IT tools to work properly and bring money. Examples of such solutions are instant messaging, CRM, server infrastructure, web server, and many, many others. But if others do their job inaccurately, yours won’t work either. All hours spent on business development ideas will be wasted if the company’s IT resources run slowly or not at all. An example of such a situation could be the company’s website. As Google research shows, on mobile devices, the likelihood of website exits increases with increasing loading time. After 10 seconds, the probability of a bounce increases by 123%.
The website is just an example, especially close to e-commerce companies. Imagine that the problem of slow performance or unavailability does not concern the website, but the entire system in which you store data needed for production, ERP, or CRM system. The scale of the situation is growing, and the losses caused by such neglect can reach many millions of dollars. What to do to prevent such situations? First of all, make sure that the application is optimized properly and the servers are prepared for any eventuality.
Coming back to the website example, often for undemanding websites, shared hosting or a VPS server is enough. But what if you want something more? You want your solution to be always available and adapt to the traffic on the site (no matter how big it’s gonna be). The answer to this question is the cloud computing.
“What is cloud computing? Clear and simply please”
To be honest I can hear this question quite often. When someone asks me about it, I usually refer to a definition that can be found on the websites of cloud providers. According to Amazon, which looks like this: Cloud Computing is on-demand computing power, storage, databases, applications, and other IT resources that are available online and billed in the Pay-As-You-Go model.
However, this definition is hardly understandable for people without technical knowledge. Most often they think that the cloud is a huge disk with infinite capacity where we can store photos and videos. Yes, it is true, but not only. Storage is just a tiny part of the cloud’s capabilities.
The cloud is like Lego bricks: stack up to the final solution. The individual elements are: computing power services, databases, network construction, artificial intelligence development, Big Data, Augmented Reality, Internet of Things, and many, many more. The whole gives almost unlimited possibilities, especially in the context of industry 4.0.
The popularity of cloud solutions is not surprising. As I mentioned at the beginning, the research shows that as many as 94% of respondents have already used the cloud, and 84% have a multi-cloud strategy (presence in various clouds). I don’t , but these numbers make a big impression on me.
If you are interested and want to learn more about the cloud, please read the article: “What is Amazon Web Services Cloud?”. You will learn how the cloud market looks like, who are its most important vendors and you will learn a short history of the largest vendor – Amazon Web Services.
9 reasons why it is worth implementing the cloud in your company – how you will benefit from the cloud
There is no one, correct answer. There are many advantages of the cloud for business and each of them is very important.
Let me start with the benefits that many experts consider as most important. It is scalability up and down. What does it mean? I will present it as an example. Imagine having an idea for an advertising campaign that is likely to attract a lot of traffic and potentially generate a lot of leads. You know that the media plan has great potential, and the benefits for your business can be enormous (for example increased traffic to your website). How much bigger? In some cases, the number of requests (queries to the server) may increase by more than 2000%.
Where to get this information and how to calculate this value? It is important not only for marketing reasons but also in terms of server administration. It must be prepared for all eventualities (including higher traffic). If not, those who visit your website will quickly give up and leave.
How server administrators are preparing for this? Most often they check the traffic on the website/social media channel. They verify how many page views are generated on average and, based on this data, prepare the appropriate infrastructure. Unfortunately, this approach has many disadvantages. If the traffic is higher than expected, the page will load slowly or be completely unavailable. On the other hand: if there is less traffic, you will lose money paying for server resources that will not be used. And It is not the end. If by some miracle the number of visits has been correctly estimated, the increased traffic associated with the campaign may return to its starting point. Again, you are paying for something you don’t need and wasting your budget. How to prevent it? The answer is the cloud. It guarantees a configuration thanks to which the number of server instances (and the associated computing power) increases and decreases depending on the current load. It also gives you the ability to balance the load between servers, so that none of them is overloaded.
Sounds great? I saved the best for last. If your IT department is highly competent, it can prepare you for it in such a way that your website will not need servers at all! At least in theory. This solution is called serverless and allows you to run computing power based on previously configured events. What are the advantages of this? You pay only for specific events (like entering the website). For the rest of the time, when nothing is happening, you don’t pay for the running costs of the servers (which are involved but are the responsibility of the cloud provider). If you are interested in the subject of serverless, more information can be found here: “How to take care of the security of serverless applications in AWS?”. So, what is the measurable benefit for business? What are the benefits of scaling? A fast website, server resources that adjust to traffic and payment only for what you used.
Another benefit was mentioned earlier: savings. In traditional solutions, you pay in advance for access to computing power, by buying a server for a month or longer. When you use the cloud, you only pay for the resources you use, andhey are usually billed by the minute.
Even if your organization is not ready yet for the earlier mentioned serverless, , you can turn the server on a nd off depending on your needs.
Suppose you work in a software house that is open from 8:00 am to 4:00 pm. You have an application to implement that needs to be tested before it goes to the production server. To make it easier to count, let’s assume the testing and development work is done for 8 hours (yes, yes, I know it never looks like that 😊). So, for the other 16 hours, your infrastructure is idle and you still must pay for it. The cloud changes the rules of this game. Here you can turn servers on and off and only pay for them while they’re in use.
- 3 Easily accessible resources
Every company needs disk space to store data. We keep scans of invoices and contracts, graphic designs, videos, and many more. Archiving them on company computers or portable disk drives brings with it a lot of limitations. They have a predetermined storage, and you can use them most often only if you are in their physical possession.
The solution for this problem is cloud storage. If we ignore the legal issues, which we will go to later in this article, it’s the perfect storage place. Authorized people can access files without the need for a physical disk. Additionally, the cloud has no data limit. You can store as much data as you like. The size of a single file (object) may be a certain limitation. Let’s be honest, however, that it is not too big. For example, in the Amazon S3 service, the limit for the size of 1 object is 5TB.
Availability is not the only important factor when it comes to data archiving. Durability is also important. The cloud helps here too.
Some cloud storage solutions are designed to ensure the durability of Eleven Nines, which is 99.999999999%. It means that if you kept 10 million files/objects there, you would statistically lose one in 10,000 years.
- 5 Location. User proximity and data processing abroad.
If you are starting to build your business, it is worth thinking about how you want it to look in the future. Decisions taken at the start may prove to be a significant limitation in the future, and poorly designed server infrastructure may slow down the development process.
You surely know that the physical location of the servers affects the loading speed of websites or applications. The closer they are to the user, the shorter the road for the data to travel. When you operate in the local market, it is not very noticeable. However, if your business is global, this problem becomes much more significant. This limitation should be considered during planning architecture. If traditional solutions were used, any expansion to other markets would involve a complicated, time-consuming, and costly process of rebuilding the infrastructure. Cloud infrastructure makes this process much easier. By using this solution, you are not limited to a specific geographic region. Whether your company’s headquarters are in New York or Sydney, you can quickly build infrastructure virtually anywhere in the world.
It is important not only due to the proximity of users but also legal restrictions (compliance) and regulations regarding the storage of personal data. In the cloud, you know where your data is, so you can be sure that you meet these requirements. Soon, Google and Microsoft will create regions in Poland, thanks to which the data will be stored in our country. Using cloud computing allows you to switch to thinking without geographic boundaries.
Security is one of the most important aspects that must be considered during creating application architecture. Especially if you run a business where you collect customer data. I know the business is not responsible for such issues. This is not our job. So why should we be interested in?
None of us want to be on the front page of industry websites with the annotation that there has been a data leak. Such information could be disastrous for the company’s image and, consequently, the entire business. Once lost, trust is very difficult to regain. So, let’s think about it in advance and protect yourself against such an eventuality. Safety has the highest priority for the largest cloud vendors. Thanks to this, everyone can have access to data centers and network architecture that meet even the most sophisticated criteria used in the largest corporations. Of course, vendors aren’t responsible for everything. The so-called “shared responsibility model” precisely defines what we are responsible for and what the suppliers are responsible for. If your company does not have specialists in this field, you can always turn to specialists (one of them is Transition Technologies PSC) who will help with the appropriate configuration.
Have you ever needed to make configuration changes quickly and efficiently? It is important in situations when you notice that you don’t have enough space for the database or you need an environment to configure the development version of the application. In traditional solutions, the implementation of this type of change was often very time and resource consuming. The cloud in such situations is a very flexible solution. Adding a new disk, or even configuring an entirely new environment, is sometimes even a matter of minutes and doesn’t require any people involved
- 8 High Availability and Disaster Recovery
If you run a business online, you know how important is for your website or application to function flawlessly. Possible breakdowns and the related lack of availability can bring huge losses. So, what that you perform your job perfectly if your customers can’t take advantage of your offer?
Is it possible to prevent failure in 100% of the cases?? We all know it is not. Even the best solution will probably fail sooner or later. Therefore, during architecting process, specialists do something called “Planning for failure”. It means they assume the solution that will eventually fail, and they prepare for it. The cloud gives your administrators the option of configuration that will maintain the continuity of the system in the event of a data center failure. Moreover, some of the cloud solutions are designed to be highly available by default, so your employees don’t have to do anything.
What if all fails? There will be a natural disaster or human error that affect your system.. It is good then to have a set of processes, policies, and best practices that will allow it to be restored as quickly as possible. Such a procedure is called Disaster Recovery, and it ensures that in this type of situation your systems will be restored in the shortest possible time.
- 9 Big Data, Internet of Things, Sztuczna Inteligencja (AI), Uczenie Maszynowe (ML)
The cloud is much more than just virtual machines and disks. It’s also a service that allows you to change the future and strengthen the development of enterprises following the idea of Industry 4.0. Thanks to easy access to services related to data collection, their storage, and appropriate visualization, as well as drawing conclusions based on them, you can stay ahead of your competitors, which do not use these solutions yet. Each of these services is a topic for a separate article, so I will not develop this issue, but only mark its presence.
If you are interested in the subject of IoT and how to connect systems with the cloud, please read this article: “IoT Hub Connector for ThingWorx – Connecting ThingWorx Platform with The Azure Cloud”.
The cloud has enormous benefits, and its advantage over traditional solutions is colossal. It is no coincidence that most large companies are using this technology and moving their resources to the cloud. To take advantage of its full potential, you need to do it wisely. A badly prepared migration can do more harm than good. Preparing for this process, it is worth considering many factors, and based on them, create a cloud strategy. Only with an good action plan, you can set off on a journey to the cloud.
Do you have questions or need help working with the cloud? Write to us.