Companies, regardless of size, are increasingly taking that first step towards the cloud.  However, there are still some situations where traditional on-premise solutions have been installed, whether due to fear, security issues or simply through lack of awareness.  But what should we bear in mind when choosing the cloud as a business solution? This article aims to introduce certain key questions about the cloud that will allow us to make the best possible decision.

What is the Cloud?

Cloud computing is a paradigm that offers computing services via a network, usually the internet.  The type and nature of these services is very broad, so we often lose perspective and concentrate on the nearest.  For example we always use services like Dropbox, Gmail or Office 365; or we go to the opposite term more linked to hosting, housing and rent of infrastructure.  In general, discussion about the cloud should address the pros and cons for a specific need rather than question its use in general.

How will the cloud be of use to me?

The cloud has various service models to answer most of the modern business’s digital needs.  The natural way to group these models depends on the type of underlying resource. 

Infrastructure as a service (IaaS) is for those cases where the service to rent includes IT resources such as storage, networks, services.

Platform as a service (PaaS) is for when our requirement relates to the deployment of applications and we are able to distance ourselves from details like infrastructure and servers. 

Software as a service (SaaS) is for those cases where the use of software is only rented to cover a need without taking into account anything under the hood.

Are all clouds equal?

There are various different types of solution in the cloud according to location of resources

Public clouds:  Resources belong to another cloud service provider that administers and offers them via the internet.

Private clouds: Services and infrastructure are maintained in a private network; hardware and software is used exclusively by a single organisation.

Hybrid clouds: Intermediate terms combine local infrastructure or private clouds to generate a solution where the data and applications can move between both to provide greater flexibility and implementation options.

Who is behind them?

There are three main players in the public cloud ecosystem that dictate the state-of-the-art of the industry.  Each of these has their own services, advantages and areas in which they are leaders in terms of the competition.

  • Amazon Web Services
  • Google Cloud
  • Microsoft Azure

However, it should also be mentioned that there are other providers with a market share, like Heroku, IBM BlueMix or Salesforce.

What benefits does the cloud offer me?

In brief, the main advantages are related to each other.  On the one hand, with low operational cost in effort as well as resources, these processes are more agile and the time-to-market much shorter, since investment may be optimised only in those resources necessary. 

On the other hand, elasticity and agility in time and format, with quicker release times, allow capacities and functionalities to be developed in less time and to keep software updated.

Innovation cost is noteworthy.  A cloud environment allows free experimentation without being tied to long contracts, repayment times or large outlay, while highly scalable solutions can be deployed in a matter or minutes, configuring and providing environments with the latest technology and in accordance with specific needs.

If you are still deliberating between on-premise vs cloud, look at the recent article “From on-premise to the Cloud“, in which the benefits of this type of technology are analysed in detail.

Image: unsplash | Francisco Moreno