When deciding whether a cloud solution meets the requirements of a specific application or project, you will need to consider the different demand or workloads it will generate. You’ll also need to consider whether your current infrastructure can support those requirements.
If the predicted demand is too high, infrastructure and resources will be under-utilised and investment wasted. Conversely, if predicted workloads are too low, there will not be enough capacity to meet demand, hence performance and availability may suffer, and users will be frustrated. Deploying additional equipment to meet increased demand is an alternative approach, but involves significant capex and multiple procurement’s; and requires careful judgement about when to deploy new equipment to maintain service levels.
If an application has defined usage periods, such as working hours only (8×5) or a non-production environment required once a quarter, an in-house or hosted solution must be able to meet demand during usage periods; but will lie idle at all at other times. A cloud solution provides the capacity to meet demand when required; while outside usage periods, the servers can be powered down. Because you pay only for what you use, there are no charges when the servers are off, significantly reducing costs.
Listed below are some specific examples of when cloud solutions are likely to provide the most appropriate solution.
Dev and Test environments or Proof of Concept: quickly, cost-effectively and easily set-up an environment to test a concept without impacting your existing infrastructure. If the concept works and the business case is approved, scale out that environment at speed. If the concept doesn’t work, you can instantly tear down that environment without any commercial impact.
Disaster recovery: why build a redundant system at a separate disaster recovery location that requires significant up-front costs, a high level of ongoing operating costs, and complex administration? And all for secondary assets that will largely be unused. Instead use cloud resources as your disaster recovery “site”. The environment can be sat there waiting in case you need it. But you only pay for it if and when you do need to use it. Build fault-tolerant systems at the click of the mouse, with a minimal up-front financial investment.
Analytics or big data: a large analytics requirement or the need to store and process big data can have significant capital and operational impact on your infrastructure. By using cloud you can access unlimited resources as and when you need them, and you pay only for what you use.
Website/online service delivery: employees and citizens now expect services to be delivered online, digital by default. They also expect that online experience to be easy to use, well-presented and continuously available. Delivery of services online may need you to use technologies and deliver service levels your legacy infrastructure can’t support. Instead you can use cloud resources to build, develop and host those services.
Mobile working: cloud services can be used to introduce document management, collaboration and conferencing systems ― applications that are accessible from various client devices and can therefore support mobile working. Your legacy infrastructure may not be able to support these applications or a variety of access option. But a cloud environment can.