Cloud

The 6 advantages of cloud computing

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Learn how businesses leverage the cloud for digital transformation.

Cloud computing is the delivery of on-demand computing, storage capacity for databases, applications, and other TI resources with a pricing system based on usage (pay as you go).

In this new market, large IT players leverage their economies of scale, operational expertise and geographic dispersion to provide all layers of enterprise computing (infrastructure, platform and applications) as a service (IaaS, PaaS and SaaS). Thus, the final company only has to pay a monthly fee and, with a couple of clicks, gains access to storage and computing capacities.

It is a revolutionary technology, a real catalyst for business that topples old barriers to entry for companies in all markets. Both for entrepreneurs looking to launch their startup with minimum cost under the lean startup principles, and for companies pursuing an efficient big data analysis for better decision-making: more and more, companies are benefiting from the advantages of cloud computing, and it is already foreseen that in 2022 40% of IT core spending will be related to the cloud. Here we explain the most relevant advantages of the cloud.

1. Cost
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It is the best known advantage and the first in which companies think when they talk about the cloud. The cloud illustrates the concept of economy of scale: the major digital service providers (such as Amazon, Google or Microsoft) need to deploy large physical infrastructure for supporting its own applications. Their CPD are sized to meet peak loads, presenting an excess of capacity which can be sold to others.

Reducing costs can be spectacular, and at Opentrends we have achieved savings of over 80%.

2. Capex to Opex
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IT professionals have two options when it comes to buying new equipment and technology: they can make the purchase as a capital expenditure (CapEx) or as an operating expense (OpEx). For many CIOs the second option is desirable: first, obtain approval for OpEx spending can be easier, and also removing a large initial investment can release the budget for other IT projects.

Time ago, the construction of an own CPD significantly impacted both the balance sheet and the income statement of companies. At the beginning of the digital age, 40 years ago, large companies launched costly data centers. Companies had to estimate the necessary long-term capacity, and often ended oversizing equipment. With the cloud, companies have the option of paying only what they need, when they need it.

With cloud computing, a large service provider assumes the costs of maintaining and updating the data center. In this way, companies can simply include the predictable costs of these services in their general operating budget, rather than having to raise funds every few years to upgrade its hardware and pay the rent and energy, and hire specialized staff for maintenance. This "pay per use" option is particularly attractive for small and medium enterprises, which often lack the resources to maintain in-house hardware. But the magnitude of this revolution is so great that even large companies that made costly investments in data centers, are now changing their strategy.

3. Scalability
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As we have seen, making a decision regarding capacity before deploying an application required a detailed analysis to avoid oversizing or resources, or limit the potential of our application due to insufficient capacity. With cloud computing, these problems disappear. We can start with an initial dimensioning, and then increase or reduce capacity with a few clicks.

In addition, with the new cloud-native paradigm we ensure that all components of our application (computing, storage, database ...) are dimensioned and scaled independently. Under the cloud-native paradigm, the application architecture is designed to take full advantage of the services that the cloud offers at the lowest possible cost. To migrate legacy applications to servers in the cloud (IaaS) is definitely not enough. The aim is to redesign applications to make them cloud-native and take advantage of the flexibility and lower cost of PaaS services.

In this sense one of the most interesting and innovative PaaS computing services is serverless computing. Serverless computing allows loading code in the form of functions, and the platform runs these functions for us to not have to worry about providing instances in the cloud, the network configuration or the assignment of sufficient storage.

4. Reliability
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In onpremise systems, downtime used to be accepted as normal, and to prepare applications and servers for fault tolerance was a complex task. Now, with modern cloud-native architecture approaches combined with microservices and dockers in the cloud, we can prepare applications to be failure tolerant, with automatic recovery capability.

With this type of designs, we can easily isolate the impact of failures to not affect the entire application. Therefore, the use of native cloud microservices is desirable instead of monolithic servers and applications.

5. Speed
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In an environment of cloud computing, the availability of new resources is achievable at any time with a simple click of the mouse. This means that we reduce the time it takes to make those resources available to developers from weeks to minutes.

In addition, a modern, cloud-native application supports DevOps processes and methodology, enabling improved time to market through automation of the delivery of applications like never before.

In fact, time to market has become the key differentiator among the most successful organizations in any sector. The quicker you can create and deliver value to your customers, the more likely the organization succeeds. DevOps automation involves the entire software delivery process. And the cloud provides services that help to practice DevOps: services which simplify provisioning and management of infrastructure, implementing the application code that automate deployment, and processes which monitor the application performance and infrastructure.

6. Cultural change to innovation
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This is a particularly interesting feature of the cloud, probably the most revolutionary. The combination of speed for resources provisioning and their low cost results in a dramatic increase of the agility to test and develop applications. Error aversion decreases as we can perform numerous and faster tests. This has a very positive impact on organizations, making them more open to change and promotes continuous innovation.

This way, organizations embrace the principles of agile methodology and incorporate it into their culture: to succeed, we must be open to failure. The idea is to learn from our mistakes as we modify and remake our code. With the cloud, developers freely experience when they try to achieve the desired results, opening the minimum resources in the cloud to the test their concept. And they will quickly leave the lines of work that do not provide the desired results, closing cloud services and stopping to pay for them.

This mentality "fail fast, succeed sooner" applied iteratively and enhanced with the use of the cloud, allow development teams to learn along the way, getting quick feedback from their ideas, generating better products and more spectacular experiences for end users.