Vadym Fedorov is a Solutions Architect at SoftServe Inc., a leading global software application development and consulting company, and has 12 years experience in enterprise application development, as well as 2 years’ experience in Cloud and operations optimization.
As today`s businesses strive for the better cost optimization and faster time-to-market, cloud computing seems to be an ideal solution delivering just that. But its potential is actually much larger. In this brief article, I`ll discuss five key immediate benefits that cloud computing could bring to businesses that haven’t migrated yet.
1. Cost Optimisation
The primary benefit of cloud migration lies with the financial gains. It comes from the move from capital expenditure (CapEx) to operational expenditure (OpEx) within the "pay as you go" model meaning you pay for the utilized resources only. Before the cloud-computing epoch, a company had to buy the dedicated hardware and software and depreciate them over time, making it hard to respond to the arising business demands such as significant increase in the number of customers. The businesses had to plan their infrastructure ahead and utilize it during the depreciation period. Now you can save time, money and tedious planning efforts, paying for what you receive and use, instead of paying ahead of time.
To optimize operational costs, cloud providers like Microsoft Azure additionally offer self-service or “use on-demand” IT services delivery.
2. Business Agility
Business agility is the second key benefit of cloud computing. Clouds bring adaptability and simplicity to the implemented solutions by introducing the concept of an elastic IT environment: cloud providers offer access to highly scalable elastic compute environments with the capacity adjustable based on the actual demand.
3. Easy and Quick Access to Additional Resources
The third benefit cloud provides is an easy access to computing, storage, and network resources, which eliminates additional dependencies and accelerates time-to-market. A customer can request computing and storage resources or services within the optimal time to accommodate the demand. For example, at Microsoft Azure, customers can request up to 50 virtual machines. This covers the needs of the majority of customers, however if you need more, it`s possible to contact the support team and increase the limits.
4. Risk Mitigation
Every organization should have a Crisis Management plan ready in case a disaster strikes or an unexpected outage occurs. Often organisations are required to keep running software operations even in case such a force majeure happens. While the cost of providing high-availability systems and recovery mechanisms in-house can be very high, cloud is a great solution for ensuring business continuity and timely and effective disaster recovery. Cloud provides the following tactics for disaster recovery:
- Backup and Restore – storing data backup outside your datacenter in the cloud
- Pilot Light – keeping a copy of the critical core components of your infrastructure in the cloud and performing regular data synchronisation. In case of a disaster, it`s possible to quickly restore a complete system in the cloud
- Multi-Site Solution deployed in the cloud and on-site – running your infrastructure both on-site as well as in the cloud in an active-active configuration.
As this pain point is especially important for small businesses with limited budgets, it helps that implementing such a crisis precaution is quite affordable. For example, the cost of the backup on Microsoft Azure is: first 5 GB per month, free of charge, greater than 5 GB is $0.20 per Gb per month. For such small amounts of money you receive a secure and reliable geo-replicated storage which maintains 6 copies of your data across two Azure datacenters and ensures 99.9% service availability.
5. Geo-Distributed Data Centers
The fifth business benefit that cannot be overlooked is cloud`s potential geographical reach. We live in the global world where IT services are delivered to users located worldwide, both within global organizations and as public services like video hosting or web conferencing. The primary challenge here is how to deliver content or a service with stable lower latency to the geo-distributed user locations on different continents. Large cloud providers have their data centers geo-distributed and interconnected with the high throughput network pipes to bring data as close to the end-users as possible.
The key takeaway is, if your company hasn`t migrated to cloud yet, it`s high time to do it right now, as the benefits largely outweigh any migration challenges that might arise (read my most recent article on the possible cloud migration challenges and how to address them).