I have talked about the cloud definition in one of my previous articles by emphasizing that the cloud computing offers rapid provisioning of resources on demand. While there are many issues still under discussion with cloud computing, such as ownership of data, backups, government compliance, data security etc., there are some cases where cloud computing proves to be an excellent fit. Of course, these cases still inherently have the cloud computing risks, but the benefits outweigh the risks with a far greater percentage.
The first scenario is the application development and testing scenarios. In application development, you need to have lots of different servers simulating different environments. The cloud offers you the immediate provisioning of test and production servers to meet your developers’ demand. This allows developers to deploy servers with slightly different hardware and software configurations. In a corporate datacenter with rigid IT policies, the developers would either be deploying test servers on their computers or would be asking the system administrators to deploy them.
With a small incremental payment, the company can test the application in diverse environments, which is not possible in a traditional datacenter: in a network load balancing cluster, a failover cluster, standalone, distributed systems or high performance cluster systems. In a traditional data center, the costs involved with such a system would be tremendous and definitely would not justify the investment, because the systems would be idle after the test.
Comparing the costs involved in investing in the cloud and the risks associated, the application scenario has a very big return on investment.
The second scenario is for scenarios for meeting both expected and unexpected demands. With “unexpected demands”, I am talking about the additional computing resources needed during predictable and unpredictable times. The best scenario in this example is the online e-commerce business operators. Normally, the demand is predictable during holidays such as Christmas and Thanksgiving but it could be unpredictable during discounts or product launches. In order to cope with such circumstances, I recommend moving websites to the cloud platform. This not only allows you to deploy servers in a very short amount of time, but also provides you with almost 100% uptime where and when you need it most.
This brings the question of disaster scenarios: if I can provide 100% uptime during unexpected times, why wouldn’t I use it for disaster scenarios. It’s because disaster planning criteria are different from demand planning criteria. At the very least, the government doesn’t care about your availability during the holiday season but it cares very much about your past accounting data.
The next one in my list for clever cloud use is very similar to the (un)expected demand scenario. The cloud is a perfect fit for big data processing. Since the high demand puts strain on the computing resources, analyzing terabytes or petabytes of data is no different. In order to cope with the analysis, you can add servers on demand. The cloud offers you pay for what you use, which is a very small investment compared to the investment required to deploy the same computing power in your datacenter.
For the organizations who exchange data frequently, the cloud offers a huge working platform. This is making the data you exchange with your partners to be available both for availability and for analysis. The example that I can think of is the companies working on analysis on weather, oceanographic or financial data. The cloud offers the best of the two worlds for both sides: both companies are not investing in a datacenter for storage, for analysis and for the additional bandwidth. With the reduction on these items, the companies can quickly bring the results to the market and in shorter times.
And finally, the e-mail. With the online e-mail services, hosted Exchange or even Outlook Web App, Google Apps infrastructure makes e-mail always available. Since the first days (I mean since from Hotmail times, when Hotmail was not owned by Microsoft) the hosted e-mail service is in the market and is matured. In addition to its maturity, the users are already familiar with it and it is part of their everyday life. From a business perspective, the savings of time and money are clear.
As you have just realized there is a very good cloud solution when there is a demand for elasticity, rapid provisioning and scalability. The savings are immense when compared to the traditional datacenter. And, these are just a tiny fraction of what’s possible, just my humble list of top cloud use scenarios. I can, without doubt, say that the clever uses of cloud is far beyond my imagination. When you know that there is one more scenario to add to this article, just hit the comments.
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