As businesses continue to integrate advancements in computing technology, those at the forefront perform more efficiently than ever. The Digital Revolution, as this is termed, poses a unique set of challenges which cloud computing can best resolve. Navigating the cloud can be a very difficult pursuit, but understanding the why’s and how’s of cloud computing is a necessity to maintain growth through the Digital Revolution.
Why the Cloud
With more users than ever harnessing digital technology, costs of computing and storage are becoming a significant draw. Expanding hardware capabilities can quickly become cost prohibitive. More importantly, resources still drain time and money when not in use.
Unlike this traditional model, cloud computing utilizes a pay-as-you-use model, where services can scale-back in downtime and can instantly grow when demand is high. It enables new services to start small or large without any initial investment. Cloud computing offers flexibility and growth where traditional computing cannot.
As part of the Digital Revolution, more and more people need to be connected across the globe. Achieving global connectivity in a company with only traditional technology is almost impossible; it requires massive amounts of resources spent on networking and a large team dedicated to maintenance.
Cloud computing gets rid of the need to manually manage networks and even the need for centralized computing. Utilizing cloud technology, it is possible to build an interconnected global system where the majority of computation happens close to the end-user, minimizing cost and latency.
Cloud platforms offer a unique suite of technologies that are otherwise inaccessible to most businesses. One of the most unique and transformative is Artificial Intelligence. Many cloud providers have fully functional AI frameworks available, making complex but increasingly important tasks such as image recognition and natural language processing easy to achieve in the cloud.
One powerful feature is Infrastructure as Code, which allows an entire environment to be defined as code rather than manually configured. This not only enables the agile changing, deployment, and debugging of infrastructure, but also allows for the infrastructure to be worked on like any other project, so version control systems and automated testing can be implemented.
Other unique features include:
Serverless application platforms
Globally accessible data buckets
Fully managed databases
Automated global logging
Ensuring the reliability of computing systems has always been a major design factor. The Digital Revolution has only increased this importance by making technology a vital part of both a business’s processes and everyday life. Any downtime or issue can be disastrous and may lead to severe consequences both for a service and its end users.
Cloud computing opens up many techniques to drastically increase uptime and make disaster-resistant systems. It is also possible to host services in multiple regions, allowing for one instance to take over if another fails. With Infrastructure as Code, it is easy to rollback an entire system if it is found to work improperly.
Where to begin
Designing a cloud system offers many of the same challenges that designing a regular system does. The choice of how to host an application, what kind of database to choose, and how a network should be organized. These challenges have a wider range of solutions in the cloud than they do in legacy systems.
Also important is deciding how much infrastructure will be in the cloud; it is possible and often necessary to have a significant number of resources on physical in-house servers. Most cloud providers offer some hybrid-system integration, allowing smooth communication between cloud and physical systems.
There are numerous cloud providers, but the largest and most robust are Amazon AWS, Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud Platform. Each of these providers, while offering many of the same services, have their own advantages and problems that make them unique in their applicability.
AWS, Amazon’s cloud offering, is the largest cloud provider by market share. This serves as one of its main benefits: it has access to a global network and a vast amount of reliable resources. It also has the largest number of professionals who are able to develop versatile systems. AWS boasts strong security measures, designed to keep vital resources safe and confidential.
Microsoft Azure is another large cloud provider, best known for its simplicity compared to other cloud providers. While this does make environments easy to set up, it can also limit their potential. Azure is able to easily integrate with many Microsoft services, including the Microsoft Office suite.
The Google Cloud Platform is smaller than its competitors, though it offers the same breadth of services. Where it shines is its data analytics capabilities: it offers many powerful database options, as well as a host of machine learning systems designed to foster automation and growth. It also offers the most scalable services and tends to be less expensive than its competitors.
Using cloud computing to accelerate the Digital Revolution is an incredibly large endeavor requiring years of experience to build robust systems. Contact Aptimized to learn more about migrating your legacy systems to the cloud environment safely, efficiently, and accurately.