Increasing competitiveness through cost savings, greater flexibility, elasticity and optimal use of resources is attributed to cloud computing. As a technology, cloud computing is much more than the sum of its parts. It opens doors to cloud-native technologies, supports more efficient ways of working, and enables new capabilities in machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI).
Over the past decade, cloud computing has moved from the periphery to the heart of most IT-based businesses, as well as other industries supported by IT-enabled solutions. From building infrastructure and platforms and software as a service to testing and developing applications, the cloud is an industry favorite. Here’s a quick look at how companies are using cloud computing to drive business value:
Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) and Platform as a Service (PaaS)
Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) provides consumers with basic compute, network, and storage resources on-demand, over the internet, and on a pay-as-you-go basis. Using a cloud infrastructure on a pay-per-use scheme allows companies to save on the cost of acquiring, managing and maintaining their own IT infrastructure. Also, the cloud is easily accessible.
Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) provides customers with a complete cloud platform—hardware, software, and infrastructure—to develop, run, and manage applications without the cost, complexity, and inflexibility associated with building and maintaining that platform before location are connected. Organizations may turn to PaaS for the same reasons as IaaS; You want to increase the speed of development on a ready-to-use platform and deliver applications with a predictable and cost-effective pricing model.
Software as a Service (SaaS)
While software-as-a-service (SaaS) is similar to the IaaS and PaaS applications discussed above, it actually deserves its own mention for the undeniable change this model has brought about in the way businesses use software. SaaS provides software access online through a subscription rather than requiring IT teams to purchase and install it on individual systems. SaaS providers allow software access anywhere and anytime as long as there is an internet connection.
Hybrid cloud and multi cloud
Hybrid cloud is a computing environment that combines an organization’s on-premises private cloud services and third-party public cloud services into a single, flexible infrastructure for running critical applications and workloads. This unique blend of public and private cloud resources makes it easy to select the optimal cloud for each application or workload, and then freely move workloads between the two clouds as circumstances change.
Multi-cloud goes one step further and allows companies to use two or more clouds from different cloud providers. This type of cloud computing can include any mix of IaaS, PaaS, or SaaS resources. With multi-cloud, workloads can run in different cloud environments to meet unique needs. This also means that companies can avoid vendor lock-in.
testing and development
One of the best use cases for the cloud is in a software development environment. DevOps teams can quickly create development, test, and production environments tailored to specific needs. This may include, but is not limited to, automated provisioning of physical and virtual machines. To conduct testing and development in-house, companies need to secure a budget and set up the testing environment with physical resources. The development platform is then installed and configured. All of this can often increase the time it takes to complete a project and stretch out the milestones. Cloud computing accelerates this process with cloud-based development tools that make building apps and software faster, easier, and cheaper.
Big Data Analysis
By using the computing power of cloud computing, companies can gain meaningful insights and optimize business processes through big data analysis. Every day, a massive amount of data is collected from enterprise endpoints, cloud applications, and the users who interact with them. Cloud computing enables organizations to tap into vast amounts of available structured and unstructured data to take advantage of extracting business value.
Retailers and suppliers are now extracting information from consumer purchasing behavior to target their advertising and marketing campaigns to a specific segment of the population. Social networking platforms provide the basis for analyzing behavioral patterns that organizations use to derive meaningful information. Companies like these and others are also able to gain deeper insights through machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI), two skills made possible by cloud computing.
Cloud data storage allows files to be automatically saved to the cloud, which can then be accessed, stored and retrieved from any device with an internet connection. Instead of maintaining their own data centers for storage, companies can only pay for the amount of cloud storage they actually use without having to worry about day-to-day storage infrastructure maintenance. The result is increased availability, speed, scalability, and security for the data storage environment.
Disaster Recovery and Data Backup
Another benefit that comes from using the cloud is the cost-effectiveness of a disaster recovery (DR) solution, which enables faster recovery from a network of different physical locations at a much lower cost than a traditional DR site. Creating a DR site and testing a business continuity plan can be an extremely expensive and time-consuming task for fixed assets. However, when integrated with the cloud, companies can replicate their production site and constantly replicate data and configuration settings, saving significant time and resources.
Likewise, backing up data has always been a complex and time-consuming process. Cloud-based backup, while not a panacea, is certainly a far cry from what it once was. Organizations can now automatically send data anywhere with the confidence that security, availability and capacity will not be an issue.
While these seven key uses of cloud computing are not exhaustive, they demonstrate the clear incentives for using the cloud to increase IT infrastructure flexibility while making the most of big data analytics, mobile computing, and emerging technologies.
(Disclaimer – The article is a reproduction of a blog post posted by IBM on their website and the views expressed herein do not necessarily reflect those of the editors or publisher of this website.)