What is the Cloud and why is it important?
By stating a service is in “the cloud” we are simply saying that somewhere on the internet these services are being provided. As with any service the goal is to provide helpful activity. With the cloud the three main areas of focus are:
- Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)
- Platform as a Service (PaaS)
- Software as a Service (SaaS)
That is where things get interesting. With SaaS you have a full functioning application similar to a desktop application that one would hope will provide you functionality that is easy to use and is helpful, Salesforce is a great example. However as you go to PaaS and IaaS, how “helpful” the service is depends on your familiarity with how to leverage that service. With PaaS just starting to find foothold in the cloud industry, let's focus on IaaS.
IaaS provides the following major benefits:
- Minimal upfront investment in hardware
- Ability to increase and decrease infrastructure quickly
- Facilitation of quick innovation
The question you should ask yourself is what benefit are you looking to gain by moving to the cloud? The following are the areas where you should be looking to get immediate benefits:
- Cost reduction of existing applications/services that are currently being hosted onsite
- Rapid innovation to drive business growth
- Need agility to support unpredictable growth in applications/services
Who are the players in the world of the cloud?
The clear leader in the world of IaaS is Amazon, with Amazon Web Services (AWS). We have been working with AWS since 2008 and since that time we have seen significant improvement in the services it provides. The next two providers that need to be considered are Microsoft Azure and Google with Google Cloud Platform. They are both making rapid improvements in their services and the next few years will be critical in determining who will ultimately come out ahead. However with the value that is provided with the cloud, there is plenty of room for multiple companies to be successful.
How do you get started with the cloud?
The first step is identifying a simple project to get familiarized with the benefits of the cloud. Look at either moving a non-critical business application over to the cloud or driving the rapid execution of an innovation idea.
Either way this will facilitate understanding the cost and efficiency benefits of the cloud, and as confidence builds in usage of the cloud, the depth and breadth of benefits can start to be realized on more significant projects. If you would like to get started and need some help, please feel free to contact us! Helping guide businesses to successfully leverage technology is what we like to do!