Cloud computing: what is it and why use it?
According to an IDC study, cloud computing now accounts for more than a third of all digital spending worldwide. Traditional and in-house IT spending continues to decline. Workloads continue to move to the cloud, public or private because of its many benefits. The Gartner Group predicts that half of the global companies currently using the cloud will have made the choice of online computing by 2021. It is therefore becoming urgent to fully understand cloud computing and its possibilities which are intimately linked to digital transformation. It is the digital tool par excellence that gives companies agility and growth.
What is cloud computing?
Cloud computing, in French cloud computing, is the provision of on-demand computing services. The best-known form of solution is SaaS. This model bases the operation of the software on a 100% cloud solution. The applications, the information storage, the processing power and all the infrastructure that makes it possible to exploit it is done on the Internet. The consumption of these services is done on the basis of a pay-per-use system. The company can connect to a cloud service to benefit from storage and operate a solution from any computer. The only prerequisite for accessing the cloud service, and even the free cloud, is that your computer can access the internet.
The fundamental concept of cloud computing is that the location of software, the hardware or the operating system on which it runs, is irrelevant to the user. However, it is clear that for many customers, the location of their services and data remains important. For individuals and SMEs, the free cloud offers storage services that benefit from cloud security. Online storage solutions, which include data storage and file storage, incorporate an option that encrypts information. The online storage offered by Google Drive offers many GBs of cloud storage. It can host photos taken by a smartphone as well as store multimedia files or store data.
How does cloud computing work?
Rather than owning their own IT infrastructure or data centres, businesses can lease it from a cloud computing service provider. One of the benefits of this usage model is that organizations avoid the upfront costs of building the infrastructure and the complexity of owning and maintaining it. They simply pay for what they use, when they use it. The business model is also advantageous for cloud computing service providers. Indeed, they can benefit from significant economies of scale by providing the same services to a wide range of customers.
What cloud computing services are available?
Cloud computing services today cover a wide range of options. They range from simple storage to networking, from online office automation to artificial intelligence. Virtually any service that doesn’t require you to be physically close to the hardware you’re using can now be delivered through the cloud. Storage services are the most used especially on the free cloud. Even if the capacities offered do not reach the TB, free online storage alone is good news for small organizations.
What are examples of cloud computing?
Cloud computing is the basis of a large number of services. This includes consumer services like email or saving photos to your smartphone. These services also allow large enterprises to host all their data and run all their applications in the cloud. The cloud computing model is so beneficial that even IT giants are using it internally. Cloud computing is the default option for many commercial applications. Software vendors are increasingly offering them as services on the Internet, linked to a subscription.
Why move to the Cloud?
The use of cloud services implies that companies do not have to buy or maintain their own IT infrastructure. It is no longer necessary to buy servers, or update applications or operating systems. For basic applications, such as e-mail, a service provider specializing in the operation and securing of these services has better skills than a commercial or industrial organization. Cloud services, therefore, provide a safer and more efficient service. The use of cloud services allows greater business agility. They finalize their projects faster without having to incur significant upfront costs and digital investments. They only pay for the cloud offering resources they consume.
As the workload increases the elastic nature of the cloud offering allows it to scale quickly. This is the principle of scale. If an application experiences significant usage peaks, it makes financial sense to have it hosted in the cloud. The hardware and software dedicated to it do not stay idle for long internally. Hosting email or customer relationship management (CRM) in the cloud relieves the workload of the IS. The economy is accentuated by the fact that these applications do not generate much competitive advantage. Moving to a service model also shifts capital expenditures to operating expenditures.
The costs of migrating to cloud computing
For the majority of businesses, a migration to cloud environments may not be straightforward. It is the existing applications and data that define which systems and servers should be preserved as is and which can be transferred to a cloud infrastructure for hosting. Cloud deployment is a potentially risky and expensive operation that requires certain skills and tools. Migration to the cloud is a project whose magnitude should not be underestimated.
Adapting the IS to a 100% mode of operation requires carefully studying the new total price of the service. The need to rewrite applications to optimize them for porting to a cloud service can be one of the biggest costs of migration. It all depends on their complexity and level of customization. The same goes for transferring data and backing it up between systems. The best way to avoid these pitfalls is to call on specialized advisors who will also be able to advise you on billing options. Here too, the offers are not yet completely transparent.