A Detailed Guide on Cloud Computing Technology
The switch to cloud computing has business owners dreaming of slashed operating and maintenance costs. But, this often does not happen as they wish.
There could be numerous reasons including reliance on legacy systems, technology debt, lack of internal skills, budget limitations, unpreparedness, and lack of planning.
So before you dive into cloud computing technology and start wondering how it could benefit your business, let us ask you a few questions first.
- Are you struggling with cost-cutting challenges due to traditional business models?
- Is it possible to reduce your computation and legacy systems infrastructure maintenance costs by at least 30% next year?
- Are legacy systems keeping you awake at night?
Your answers might be uncertain, but you are not alone at this juncture. Numerous businesses are struggling with scalability challenges and overhead costs when it comes to their networks and the cloud.
Business owners and C-level executives are looking for futuristic and fool-proof solutions that promise seamless business operations, productivity, and growth.
You have probably heard about cloud computing technologies and their contribution to business growth in recent years.
Let’s dive deep to understand it more.
The public cloud service market is expected to reach $623.3 billion worldwide by 2023.
Cloud computing solutions are the future of your business
The technological revolution has been sweeping through businesses at a faster pace than expected over the past five years. The pandemic caused them to be more strategic about IT. Amid these uncertainties and the growing demand for modern business norms, cloud computing technology has gained attention as a way to minimize manual requirements while improving productivity.
As a leading cloud computing solutions provider in the USA, we have observed numerous challenges that SMEs have faced during the pandemic. This includes buying, owning, and maintaining physical data centers and servers that further impose overhead costs.
To improve efficiency and performance, cloud computing technology has become a magical wand for businesses across industries. But it’s important to know how to use the wand because most people do not fully understand exactly what cloud computing is and how efficiently it can transform their business.
To help, this guide will break down everything you need to know about cloud computing technology, the problems it can solve, its benefits and limitations, and the most recent cloud computing trends.
Before that, let us ask a few questions.
- Do you have plans to scale your business in 2022 and don’t know how to do it?
- Do you have any budget constraints in embracing cloud migration services?
- Would you be interested in a shared cloud space or need a private space?
What is cloud computing technology?
Have you ever thought of running your business without a physical office, infrastructure, relevant software tools, and maintenance?
In the early 90s, this was a perplexing idea or something beyond imagination.
However, with the rapid evolution of the internet, everything has changed. Businesses are based on digital technology and have become pros at using it to ensure effective resource utilization at low costs.
Let’s drill down further to understand how cloud computing technology is now taking this transformation to the next level.
Everyone is talking about cloud technology and cloud applications. Many would be surprised to learn about the value it brings to our lives, and that they are already using cloud computing solutions in our day-to-day life.
One of the best examples is Netflix a leading cloud-based video streaming platform that has gained humongous attention, especially during the lockdown.
In a nutshell, cloud computing is the on-demand delivery of IT resources over the internet, with pay-as-you-go pricing. These cloud services include accessing storage, servers, database, networking, software, analytics, and intelligence over the internet for faster innovation, flexibility, and growth at a scale.
Unlike traditional business models, you typically pay only for cloud services you use, further saving budgets and maintenance costs. With cloud computing solutions, you can run your infrastructure more efficiently and scale your business at any time and at your own pace.
Cloud computing is advantageous because you can access all your tools anywhere because your data is stored on a remote database instead of being limited to local servers. This allows for the ability to access data anywhere and make decisions in advance.
Why do you need cloud computing technology and tools?
Gone are the days, when you needed heavy investments in physical spaces, expensive tools, and maintenance to start a business.
But, now, with the evolution of cloud technology services, it has become quite easy to set up a business model with all required elements including, software, platform, and infrastructure.
The best classic examples are Uber and Airbnb, leading business giants in the transportation and hospitality industries. Even without owning a single car or hotel room, they managed to expand their business worldwide. And, of course, they are growing at a pace thanks to modern cloud technologies and tools.
As a segment of IT services, cloud computing generated more than $300 billion in the U.S. in revenue in 2020 and is showing very few signs of slowing down.
Need for cloud computing solutions:
Since all the resources and processing power needed to complete computation are accessed in the cloud, it is easy to set up and maintain your business from anywhere around the globe.
With cloud computing tools, it doesn’t matter where the computational resources for your company or business are located. By having access to cloud services, you can accomplish your business objectives without delays.
Cloud computing solutions are also crucial for businesses to thrive in the current digital economy because they deliver seamless workflow automation and security for the company’s data.
Best cloud applications:
Google Suite is one of the best examples of cloud applications. From email to Docs, Spreadsheets, Calendars, and more, Google provides a vast range of cloud applications that we use day in and out.
The pandemic also helped Zoom gain greater attention to its ability to connect people anywhere around the world.
AWS Lambda is another prominent cloud application that allows developers to run code for applications or back-end services without the need for their own physical servers.
Cloud computing services vs. traditional web hosting:
As a business owner, you are likely a bit familiar with traditional web hosting. So, we are not dwelling on that. Here we would like to give abstract-level information about how cloud services are different from traditional web hosting.
- The cloud allows you to access large amounts of computing power on demand. Usually, a cloud solutions provider sells on an hourly or monthly basis.
- Cloud services are elastic, meaning you do not need to worry about upfront investment. You can use as much or as few of a service based on your business needs.
- Cloud computing services are fully managed by the provider. All you need is a personal computer and internet access.
Top 6 characteristics of cloud computing solutions:
Here are the top 6 characteristics of cloud computing solutions that help your business grow as you need.
As said earlier, cloud solutions are elastic. You can freely scale up as computing needs increase and scale down again if demand decreases. This eliminates the need for massive investments in local infrastructure to adjust to such changes.
Cloud computing technologies allow you to pay as they are used. It gives the flexibility of paying only for the services you’ve subscribed to on an hourly or monthly basis.
3. Workload resilience:
Workloads scale with your business. For example, Amazon is an eCommerce giant that receives traffic around the globe. Hence, it is necessary to distribute the workload and create multiple resources to ensure data storage and backup.
Cloud computing technology allows you to have redundant resources across multiple global regions to avoid unforeseen downtimes.
By 2025, the data stored in cloud data centers will exceed 100 Zettabytes.
4. Migration flexibility:
As a business, you can collaborate with multiple cloud solutions providers at the same time to ensure seamless business operations for everything you need to accomplish.
5. Broad network access:
Just as in the case of Google Drive, you can upload and retrieve data from anywhere and with any device. With an uninterrupted internet connection, you can access services anywhere across the globe.
This will significantly save you time and speed up your decision-making. As the data is available across the organization 24×7, your employees also have access to deep insights they can use for strategy building.
6. Multi-tenancy and resource pooling:
Some businesses with adequate budgets might go with private cloud solutions, while others opt for public or shared cloud services. Note that while the same cloud application has been shared among multiple businesses, you still retain privacy and security over your data.
With resource pooling, cloud providers can service numerous customers using the same physical resources.
Top 8 cloud computing solutions challenges:
There are two sides to every technology and cloud computing is not an exemption. Though it’s been a fascinating and empowering technology for more than two decades, it can still be a slippery slope for many businesses.
Let’s have a look at some challenges of cloud computing technologies.
1. Cloud computing security challenges:
As more and more businesses and their operations move to the cloud, cloud providers are becoming a bigger target for intruders and hackers. DDoS (Distributed Denial of Services) attacks have become prominent in cloud migration. These DDoS attacks will make your website useless for hours, and hackers might demand a ransom from businesses.
Apart from DDoS attacks, data breaches, data loss, and hacking of APIs are the major security challenges in cloud computing.
However, you can protect your cloud computing environment through preventive, detection, and corrective controls. These controls can help you manage firewalls, malware detection, and provide encryption to your data and infrastructure.
2. Cost management:
Though most cloud services are subscription-based models, it is still often difficult to predict the exact costs while your business is scaling along with fluctuating workloads.
You can, however, optimize your costs by:
- Choosing the right size for your cloud infrastructure from the beginning.
- Hiring a cloud migration expert.
- Using reserved instances for stable and predictable workloads.
3. Lack of resources and expertise:
The cloud migration process is not just a plug-and-play model or just the installation of brand new software. It requires dedicated resources with specialized cloud technology skills to do it properly..
On the other hand, cloud technology tools evolve more rapidly than traditional business tools. That’s why businesses struggle to keep up with the growing demand for modern cloud tools and mounting tech talent shortages.
You can overcome this challenge either by hiring experts in-house or collaborating with an experienced cloud solutions provider.
4. IT governance:
Though cloud technology eliminates unnecessary IT infrastructure maintenance and administration, many still struggle with overall control and governance.
For this, you need to have a dedicated team to ensure that the assets used to implement cloud services are being used according to agreed-upon policies and dedicated procedures.
5. Compliance with industry laws
When transferring data from on-premises local storage to the cloud, it can be challenging to meet and manage regulatory compliance rules with a third party.
To eradicate these uncertainties and difficulties in cloud migration, you must be proactive about what data is allowed to be moved and what should be kept in-house to maintain compliance.
6. Managing operations across multiple clouds:
If your business operates across multiple cloud platforms it can sometimes become a challenge to manage business operations and could derail the entire process.
7. Performance issues:
Cloud computing technology is undoubtedly a game-changer across industries in automating mundane operations and bringing real-time access. On the other hand, due to poor contingency plans, companies can also struggle with outages and performance issues.
Therefore it is always important to have a business backup plan that can help you survive uncertain times.
8. Cloud migration is time-consuming:
Cloud solutions deliberately save you time. However, migrating your business to the cloud without a strategy in place could take more time than you expected.
More than $1.3 Trillion in IT spending will be affected by the shift to the cloud by 2022.
How to implement cloud computing solutions?
To embrace cloud solutions, you have two options: 1) hiring a team of cloud computing experts and 2) collaborating with a cloud computing services provider.
Hiring a team of cloud computing experts is not that easy amid the ongoing tech talent shortage. It will take time and effort that positively impact the overall business performance and growth.
On the other hand, collaborating with an experienced cloud services provider can help you save hiring time and reduce time to market. An established cloud experts team also means the process will become hassle-free while maintaining productivity and security.
What is your choice?
- In-house hiring
- Outsourcing to a third-party vendor
Cloud computing deployment models:
Cloud computing comes in a wide variety of deployment models including private, public, and hybrid models. You can choose the deployment model based on your needs, budget, and business goals.
Let’s break down the cloud computing deployment models further.
1. Public cloud deployment:
In the public cloud, a third-party cloud computing services provider delivers cloud services over the internet. They allow you to use cloud storage, infrastructure, and applications based on your needs. Your billing cycles would be on a minutes or hourly basis.
If you have a limited budget, public cloud deployment solutions are cost-effective and help you achieve your business goals. Here are some leading public cloud services providers in the market.
- Amazon Web Services (AWS)
- Google Cloud Platform (GCP)
- Microsoft Azure
2. Private cloud deployment:
Do you own a business that deals with customers’ sensitive data? Do you have enough budget to have your own digital space?
Then, the private cloud would be the best choice for you if you need total control over operations, data, and security. Private cloud solutions come along with an extra layer of privacy and security.
Private cloud architectures, by their nature, offer improved security to your web applications and sensitive data.
Additionally, you can have a 360-degree view of who accessed data, what changes were made, and additional emergency controls.
3. Hybrid cloud solutions:
Hybrid cloud solutions are orchestration and automation between public and private cloud architectures. This model has manifold benefits of improved security & control and optimized budgets.
You can run mission-critical and data-sensitive applications on the private cloud and use public cloud computing services for on-demand services or to manage workloads. Hybrid cloud solutions create a unified, automated, and scalable environment that takes the benefits of private and public clouds.
The hybrid cloud is the weapon of choice for 45% of enterprises.[source]
Cloud computing services:
Cloud solutions come in a wide variety of types depending on the usage and requirements of businesses. As a business owner, you need to have a clear understanding of your business’s short and long-term goals.
1. Software-as-a-Service (SaaS):
SaaS is one of the most common cloud computing solutions available in the market. Rather than spending time and cost on hiring and development, you can collaborate with a cloud services provider who offers a software application on a demand basis.
The cloud solutions provider will be responsible for hosting the application, its underlying infrastructure, maintenance, and updates. Users can access SaaS applications and services from anywhere on their mobiles and desktops with an internet connection.
Microsoft office 365 is the best SaaS example that we use for business operations and project management.
2. Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS):
Earlier, businesses used to invest a lot in purchasing computers, storage servers, and networking infrastructure. With the emergence of cloud solutions like AWS, companies have started migrating their computation onto the cloud.
As your business grows, it requires infrastructure that can scale with your needs. With IaaS, you rent IT infrastructure — servers, virtual machines (VM), storage, networks, and operating systems from a cloud solutions provider on a subscription model.
IaaS gives you the best flexibility in choosing the IT for your business needs. You can pause and resume services at any given time without causing budget issues.
For example, if you are into an eCommerce business and processing real-time customer data, you must need extra space for data processing and storage. Therefore opting for IaaS solutions allows you to get access to the server storage without an upfront investment.
Platform-as-a-Services (PaaS) refers to the cloud computing services that supply an on-demand environment for application development, testing, hosting, and maintenance. PaaS solutions allow you to focus more on application deployment and management rather than on infrastructure maintenance.
With PaaS, you can build web and mobile applications faster than before. This further helps you be more efficient and productive as you don’t worry about resource procurement, capacity planning, and software maintenance. You manage the applications and services you develop, and the cloud services provider typically manages everything else with improved security.
Cloud migration is not easy unless you have the right plan and teams to meet your long-term business goals. Being rushed and impatient, on the other hand, doesn’t promise the same results.
Though you don’t have internal resources to take your cloud migration project forward, you can still accelerate your transformation faster than your competitors.
Amzur has been a trusted technology and cloud computing solutions provider in Tampa, Florida, USA over a decade. Our customized cloud solutions will give you the freedom to innovate, no matter where you run your workloads.
We have proven expertise in infrastructure and database modernization and application modernization driven by technology and smart analytics.