Imagine for a moment that you are responsible for the website of a popular music festival. Each year traffic to the site increases from virtually nothing in the winter, to a huge volume white the tickets are on sale, and then again during the festival weekend. The site requires 1000 times more hosting resources during busy times than during times the festival is not running, and traffic is low.
How would you manage this? Traditional hosting infrastructure would need to be able to cope with peak demand but would then sit idle during the quiet periods, this is inefficient and expensive and usually leads to a lower level of hosting being selected which is not up job when large amounts of traffic hit the site during peak periods.
Cloud hosting changed all that, making it quick and easy to scale up hosting capacity when needed, and to scale back when the demand drops. It’s even possible to automate this, meaning the required resources are always available during an unexpected peak traffic event.
Cloud hosting is just one part of the cloud computing ecosystem. Cloud computing is the delivery of computing services such as servers, storage, databases, networking, software, analytics and intelligence, over the internet, or “the cloud”.
Cloud services aimed at consumers include familiar names such as Google Drive and Dropbox, whilst enterprise solutions such as Microsoft Azure and Amazon AWS offer a wide range of cloud services all running on a single platform.
Cloud computing offers faster innovation, flexible resources and economies of scale. As most cloud services tend to be pay as you go rather than long fixed contracts, this offers the flexibility to run your infrastructure more efficiently and scale as your needs change.
Benefits of cloud computing to your brand
Cloud computing is a new way for businesses to think about IT resources. Here are some common reasons why brands are turning to cloud computing services:
Cloud computing removes the need to buy hardware and software, then running this infrastructure on-site. Pay as you go costing models help create low cost solutions which are only paid for when they are being used.
The cloud doesn’t just offer hardware, cloud providers such as Microsoft and Google provide complex services as part of their cloud offering that can shortcut development times and drive innovation. Microsoft Azure Cognitive Services is a great example, you need to trial facial recognition in an upcoming project, no problem just use the facial recognition service, and only pay when you use it.
Speed to market
Provisioning cloud computing services such as servers and databases would traditionally be a time-consuming process only possible by an IT professional. The self-service nature of the cloud means vast amounts of computing resources can be provisioned in minutes and can be automated, ensuring resources are available exactly when required.
Being able to scale up and provide services globally, or in specific regions when needed ensures the ambition of your brand isn’t held back by computing resource or the ability to deliver services in certain regions, really helping brands to punch above their weight.
Cloud computing services run on a worldwide network of secure data centres, which are regularly upgraded to the latest generation of fast and efficient computing hardware. No more old servers needing upgrades.
Data backup, disaster recovery and business continuity are easier and less expensive because data can be mirrored at multiple redundant sites on the cloud provider’s network.
Many cloud providers offer a broad set of policies, technologies and controls that strengthen your security, helping to protect your data, apps and infrastructure from potential threats.
Types of cloud computing
Did you know that there are different types of clouds?
Public clouds are owned and operated by third-party cloud service providers. They run their services on shared hardware, but always provide a private experience, the hardware becomes irrelevant, it’s just resource allocation. Microsoft Azure is an example of a large public cloud.
A private cloud refers to cloud computing resources used exclusively by a single business or organisation. Some companies also pay third-party service providers to host their private cloud. A private cloud is one in which the services and infrastructure are maintained on a private network with no public sharing of hardware.
Hybrid clouds combine public and private clouds, bound together by technology that allows data and applications to be shared between them. By allowing data and applications to move between private and public clouds, a hybrid cloud gives your business greater flexibility, more deployment options and helps optimise your existing infrastructure, security and compliance.
How your brand can make use of the cloud
Choosing the right cloud provider is vital, this isn’t all about hosting, the 3 big cloud providers, Microsoft, Google and Amazon provide a huge selection of products and services through their cloud offering, so if you are looking at business opportunities in AI or VR for example, make sure to choose a provider that supports those technologies and can help your teams innovate and develop quickly without expensive overheads.
Here at Pull we are Microsoft partners and almost exclusively use Azure as our cloud provider. Its enabled us to grow into the AI and Data space by using the pre-build services in Azure. Azure has a set of services called Cognitive services, these are pre-built intelligent algorithms ready to be used in any application or service.
Here are some Cognitive services demos to try:
The cloud is the future for all computing services, its more than just hosting, it’s possible to run almost all business functions in the cloud – customer service, purchasing, recruitment, HR, accounting, marketing, analytics – giving unprecedented flexibility to scale those cloud functions with your business, creating huge efficiencies and cost savings.
How will your brand make the most of the cloud?