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Advantages and Disadvantages Of Cloud Computing

Let’s take a look at cloud computing examples, discuss how you can benefit from migrating to cloud computing, as well as talk about the possible pitfalls it might involve. 

The global cloud computing market is flourishing! According to Report Linker, it is expected to reach $623.3 billion by 2023. While there are many reasons why an increasing number of businesses are moving their data to the cloud, 58% mention data security and protection as the primary cause. 

What is cloud computing?

Before we dive deeper into the subject, let's first explain what cloud computing is. It involves the provision of computer resources in a pay-as-you-go model. It includes resources like virtual machines, storage, serverless infrastructure, managed container orchestrators, databases, and many others. 

Cloud Computing Examples

There are a variety of cloud computing solutions available on the market. Some of the most prominent players include:

  • Amazon Web Services (AWS). Arguably the most well-known cloud computing solution, AWS offers over 170 products for app developers, on top of computing and storage. These include services such as Amazon Connect, AWS Lambda, and Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2).
  • Google Cloud Platform (GCP). The Google-run cloud computing service operates on the same infrastructure used to power YouTube, Gmail, and the Google search engine. It offers its users not only data storage but also advanced security and a suite of tools for team collaboration.
  • Azure. Developed by Microsoft, Azure supports a variety of frameworks, languages, and tools. It allows developers to create, deploy, and manage software applications. On top of storage, it offers hundreds of other services such as data management, blockchain, and Machine Learning.
  • Hetzner. As stated on their website, Hetzner offers “high-quality cloud [at] unbeatable prices”. The company leverages a feature called Load Balancer, which lets users scale their apps by automatically distributing traffic across the infrastructure.
  • Alibaba Cloud. The largest cloud computing service in China, developed by the Alibaba Group. The service operates on the same infrastructure used to support Alibaba’s own e-commerce platforms. 
  • Oracle Cloud. Operated by the Oracle Corporation, Oracle Cloud is an Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) solution that allows businesses to run, deploy, and store their apps and enterprise IT workloads in the cloud. Among others, it offers users advanced analytics and security and applied software technologies such as blockchain, data science, and AI.

Types of cloud computing

While cloud computing is continuously evolving, we can single out three main types, which include:

Public cloud. Offered by third-party providers over the public Internet, which means anyone can use it. It offers significant storage space, which translates into great scalability opportunities. It’s a good option for software development and collaboration projects as it eliminates significant costs, since public cloud providers are responsible for system management and maintenance. 

Private cloud. Used by one organization only instead of being publicly available, so no resources are shared. Businesses subject to tight security regulations might select this option, as solely authorized users can access, use, and store data in the private cloud. This however comes at a cost – the company owning the cloud must take care of the infrastructure and software. 

Hybrid cloud – it’s a combination of private and public clouds, which enables the sharing of data and applications. Thanks to this, organizations gain more flexibility, have access to more deployment options, and are able to optimize their infrastructure and security. 

How can your product benefit from the possibilities offered by cloud computing? 

Let’s take a look at the top benefits cloud computing services bring to the table and why more and more businesses decide to use them over setting up their own infrastructure.

Minimal upfront costs

When choosing a cloud computing service, businesses do not need to worry about any costs associated with purchasing and setting up servers or building and operating data centers.

With the variety of businesses offering cloud-based services, all it takes is to decide on the service provider. Companies pay only for the resources they use and store in the cloud, which makes it both a scalable and affordable solution.

Built-in High Availability

The biggest cloud providers have complex infrastructures, comprising multiple data centers scattered across the globe.

For instance, as of early 2021, AWS has 24 infrastructure facilities around the world. Respectively, Alibaba Cloud has ten facilities in Mainland China and 12 data centers outside the country. All this enables companies to create robust and scalable services.

Minimized management overhead

Some cloud computing services minimize the infrastructure required to serve customers, making it nearly non-existent from the client’s point of view (for instance, so-called serverless solutions).

As a result, developers can focus on creation – they write the code or create a Docker image and deploy it to the cloud without the need to engage operations and infrastructure in the process.

Faster time to market

Timing is everything, especially in the startup world. Thanks to cloud computing, businesses can focus on what matters most to them – creating applications and solving customer problems rather than waiting for IT to provision new resources.

Through cloud migration, you can cut down the deployment of new servers from days to minutes, which results in faster time to market. 

Build for innovation

Cloud providers offer plenty of resources, which you automatically get access to. You can use them to innovate and get ahead of the competition.

Knowing that you have all the necessary tech resources allows for more agility, which in turn lets you respond to changes quicker and at lower costs. 

Cost optimization

Irrespective of the cloud provider you go for, most of them offer solutions for optimizing infrastructure costs. Some of them include on-demand or reserved instances and cost reduction for prolonged use of resources. 

No more unused resources

Thanks to dynamic provisioning you no longer have to pay for unused capacity in your data center. You can always scale down your infrastructure in almost an instant and limit spending.

Always ready for higher traffic

Respectively, as your business grows, you will be able to automatically scale up your cloud computing solution so that it serves tens of millions of requests. This comes without the additional costs of setting up and maintaining additional in-house servers. 

Collaboration

With remote work becoming an employer standard, large businesses have team members working from various locations across the globe. By using a cloud computing solution, you provide them with a robust, secure way to work together and exchange company data.

Disadvantages of cloud computing – possible pitfalls & when it is not worth doing

Let’s now take a look at some of the disadvantages of cloud computing. 

Initial migration cost

While switching to cloud computing will save you money long-term, every cloud migration comes at a cost. You will have to account for the following expenditures:

  • Network costs, i.e. transferring data to the cloud. 
  • Labor costs to make sure the data has been properly migrated to the cloud.
  • Synchronization costs, ensuring that the data in your on-premise systems is in sync with the data already in the cloud. 
  • Integration and app testing. Because some applications aren’t ready to be moved to the cloud, they might require a significant amount of testing. 

Training developers 

Even though cloud providers aim at making their solutions as easy to use as possible, there still might be some training required before your developers become fully proficient at it. This involves two factors: time and money.

Training your developers might also mean they might have less time to do their actual jobs. It is, nevertheless, necessary if you want to make the most of your cloud solutions. 

Good infrastructure requires expertise

As mentioned in the previous point, while your developers will eventually be able to manage their cloud resources independently with the right training, you must have an expert on board much sooner.

Namely, before you start your cloud migration, you must have someone with the necessary experience and knowledge in your team. It is highly recommended that you hire a consultant who can guide you on the cloud computing path in the early stages of implementation.

A certain loss of control

While region outages are fairly rare and are fixed quite quickly, it’s important to remember that they do occur. For instance, the three biggest cloud service outages in 2020 happened to major players, i.e., Azure, Google Cloud Platform, and Zoom.

That said, you should make sure your deployment architecture is built with the possibility of temporarily losing one cloud provider’s data center in mind. One advisable method is to always design a multi-region deployment process.

Conclusion 

Without a doubt, cloud computing services are the future of IT. There are many reasons behind their popularity.

Firstly, they minimize the costs associated with setting up your own servers and data centers and help keep the costs low over time.

Secondly, they promote a faster time-to-market approach, as your software team can focus on building your solution instead of managing data storage and security. You must however keep in mind that cloud solutions are prone to occasional outages. That said, you must always prepare a backup plan for your deployment process, should a temporary outage occur.

There are a variety of cloud computing services you can choose from, including AWS, Azure, Google Cloud Platform, and Oracle Cloud.

However, before you make the decision on whom to choose as a service provider for your business, it’s important to have the necessary know-how.

If your team does not have previous cloud migration experience, we highly recommend that you seek the assistance of an external cloud computing consultant. They will evaluate your current and future needs and advise on the best solution that will suit your tech stack now and as your business grows.

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