Cloud computing as we have come to know it today traces its roots to the mid 2000’s. Amazon Web Services officially launched in 2006 followed by Google Cloud Platform and Microsoft Azure, then called Windows Azure, in 2008. In that time cloud computing was transformative for large organizations seeing benefits like; cost savings, increased ROI, better security, improved insight and disaster recovery to name a few. Cloud computing has also been transformative for us as individuals through this time. A little tool called Gmail is a SaaS solution. Starting with email and expanding to a host of services that we all benefit from and use daily.
In recent years SMB’s have also been adopting cloud services. Whether IaaS, PaaS, or SaaS (read this article for more!) with the maturity of offerings, there is opportunity for most organizations to benefit from the cloud. Let’s describe a few basic reasons to consider.
1. Hardware replenishment cycles – There is nothing better for a techie than to get the opportunity to buy new hardware, something that happens every 4 – 5 years depending on your business cycle. Servers, SAN, NAS, backup systems etc. The capital outlay can be significant. Knowing that you are going to be using this hardware for the next 4 to 5 years, you want to buy the best that is available, and you look for expandability for the future as well. In the cloud, this challenge is simplified, and you don’t have to pay for the future, just pay for what you are using now. Pay as you go models allow for you to requisition an instance for what you need today. When your needs change, migrate to a more appropriate instance and again, pay for only what you use. Point being that hardware replenishment cycles go the way of the dodo bird and you get, and pay for, only what you need.
2. Scalability – Closely tied to the first point the cloud gives the ability to manage your instances to meet your current demand. You don’t have to forecast your hardware requirements for the next 4 – 5 years and imagine that you know where your business will be at that time. With IaaS, you have the ability to scale up (add more power to an existing instance), scale out (adding more servers and spreading the load), and scale in (combining multiple services or servers on one instance for a more effective and efficient workload).
3. Backups and archiving – cloud vendors have different storage solutions available from persistent and local storage to less frequently accessible storage models. Persistent and local storage is for the OS and immediate local data requirements and is usually priced in the instance. Less frequently accessed storage solutions, used for backups and archiving, are much less costly and you only pay for what you use. With the range of storage options available, tapes and trips to off-site storage can become a thing of the past.
4. Automatic software updates – Your IT team exists to create value for your business. Software updates can be tedious and are often low on the priority list. Cloud based applications can be set to automatically update saving valuable time and letting your team focus on higher value activities.
The reasons for and the benefits of adopting the cloud are numerous. The examples above are very common reasons for any SMB to start on the cloud journey. Partnering with a Cloud Services vendor to build a strategy will help you to map out a journey that is suited to your organization and will ensure you reap the benefits that are clearly achievable.