A recent study showed that a quarter of Americans believe that the cloud is a real cloud. All their uploaded family pictures and home videos are sitting up there somewhere, just waiting to be rained down on Earth. So, in that case, the cloud has a lot in common with the weather, which everyone talks about. But unlike the weather, there’s a lot you can do about the cloud.
For one thing, businesses make the cloud a tool for easily connecting with customers anywhere on the planet — with low latency and amazing application performance. But for that they need the right kind of cloud. Not every cloud will get it right. More about that later — but for now, let’s take a dive into some of the best things that the public cloud can do for your business.
So let’s go: Why Cloud Computing? Should I join the 6 out of 10 businesses who have moved IT functions to the cloud? If you need convincing, here’s my grand list of the top seven advantages of cloud computing for business:
Perhaps the best thing about cloud computing is that businesses pay only for what they consume, without the sticky nature of investment in traditional IT resources (i.e., servers, storage media, maintenance, and IT staff). Enterprises developing new applications get the flexibility to increase the physical resources they consume (i.e., CPU cycles, storage) in parallel to the growth of their business. Conversely, if a business’ needs decrease, they can consume — and pay for — fewer services.
If your business expands and you want to reach customers in Timbuktu — no problem, just spin up a new deployment, pay for the additional resources, and hope that the cloud will offer the level of service and performance that your end-users need. What kind of cloud can do that for you? We’re getting to that….
This can also be thought of as the benefit of your IT and CISO manager sleeping well at night. Public cloud providers invest heavily in data security so you don’t have to — at least not directly. They provide the most up to date cyber security solutions as well as physical security, hardware updates, and data redundancy. This dramatically reduces the headache of cyber attacks, and data privacy threats.
Having a solid disaster recovery backup plan in the event of a power outage is essential for business continuity because data loss could wipe out a company. Top-tier public cloud companies therefore typically provide wall to wall protection through data mirroring, automatic data back-up, and data redundancy.
It wasn’t long ago that when a development team wanted to add storage capacity they needed to configure the physical infrastructure and its file environment. Now all they need to do is pull out their credit card and be in touch with their friendly public cloud provider.
Cloud-based storage provides DevOps teams with the flexibility to grow their applications without being limited by mundane physical concerns, such as storage infrastructure and data portability. Developers get the ability to manage their own storage needs and are empowered to take full advantage of evolving cloud-native environments.
Software-defined platforms enable developers to provision storage as needed. Through a single API, cloud-based storage provides persistent storage across many different kinds of infrastructures, including hybrid and multi-cloud environments,
Which leads us directly to our next benefit…..
It’s not just the ability to easily expand capacity. The cloud enables development teams to collaborate better and roll out features faster and with better quality. How do they do it? Simple: Cloud-based managed Kubernetes services. I’ll explain:
To support the tremendous potential of the cloud-native applications, many organizations use a microservice-based architecture. By packaging microservices into containers, organizations update and scale each microservice independently. If one part of the application fails, or needs updating, the other parts are not affected. But things get complicated when deploying an application across multiple machines. Developers must handle scheduling and resource allocation for each microservice, which can be a huge hassle.
Kubernetes is now the de facto standard for management of these processes. Kubernetes may, and frequently does, determine that physical resources need to be provisioned, configured, and updated. If no one “listens” to these signals and takes action, the application will quickly fail. That’s why organizations that want to focus on application development — and not on managing infrastructure — run deployments through cloud-based managed Kubernetes services. A managed Kubernetes service will ensure that the desired states, as requested by Kubernetes, are automatically implemented on the physical resources.
Fortunately, there is now a cloud solution that streamlines multi-location application testing and deployment (spoiler: it’s called a massively distributed cloud, see below).
Many industries and use cases, such as travel, video streaming, and security systems, benefit directly from cloud-native platforms. And with the advent of 5G, it’s hard to imagine the new use cases that will become commonplace in the next five years. Cloud-native computing enables app developers to imagine and to innovate in a nearly unlimited way.
It’s true that we may not soon see brain surgeons lying on a beach using VR headsets to perform a remote operation. At least not if it’s my brain on the line.
But other cloud-based medical scenarios are becoming more feasible: Consider an ambulance with multiple sensors and body cameras collecting and streaming information in real-time to a hospital while the patient is being transported. Or doctors remotely guiding paramedics through emergency procedures. Or even use cases, such as interconnected assembly line robots, which have less of a mission critical nature.
Can all these use cases be served by cloud computing? They are all very latency sensitive and the hyperscalers may be located too far away to provide the required response time and level of service. Can the public cloud meet the challenge? Stay tuned, below.
Admittedly, the world could carry on without this particular use case, and I debated whether or not to include it. But there’s no point in arguing with a $200B industry.
Cloud gaming can eliminate the need to install games and content updates. All that is needed is a stable internet connection: the game is streamed directly to the gamer’s device. Using a mouse, gamers input commands that are sent to the remote computer running a game instance. The server carries out the commands and then streams the result back to be rendered through a graphics processing unit. As games evolve, gamers would always get the latest version, independent of device. In fact, a game could be started on one device and continued on another.
Does it work as intended? The jury is still out. Perhaps the largest player in this universe, Google Stadia, reportedly recently closed down its internal game development division, thus creating doubt about Google’s dedication to the cloud gaming initiative. Microsoft’s XCloud is still in a roll out phase. What’s clear is that the plausibility and playability of cloud gaming is very dependent on internet connection and distance from the provider’s servers (spoiler 2: check out the massively distributed cloud section below).
Mankind, or at least the DevOps portion of it, is progressing to a new generation of cloud-native applications. Many of these new applications have strict requirements for response time, such as the abovementioned cloud gaming, as well as many others, including autonomous vehicles, telemedicine, robotics, and AR/VR. Potential user benefit is tremendous, but is highly dependent on the ability to transfer and process large amounts of data in real-time. These applications can therefore not be effectively supported by a cloud located many miles away.
To address this challenge, Ridge has created a massively distributed cloud model which delivers the full benefit of latency sensitive cloud-native applications. Ridge Cloud has the flexibility of the public cloud but brings computing resources to the network edge, closer to end-users. With its managed Kubernetes service, enterprises easily deploy and scale workloads, and end-users enjoy an excellent user experience in any location.
Ridge’s underlying infrastructure is created by federating thousands of data centers and local cloud providers all over the world at the resolution of a geographic region or even of a metropolitan area. There is no need for any additional infrastructure. A single API enables application developers to access each data center on the Ridge global network and to provide users with the benefit of a localized cloud experience in addition to data sovereignty. Ridge partners with best-in-class data centers after thoroughly vetting their equipment, security, SLAs, historical uptime, and connectivity.
We covered seven of the big ones above. But in many cases, you need the right cloud model to realize the cloud’s fullest potential.
By offering an addition to the public cloud model, Ridge’s distributed cloud unlocks the fullest benefit of cloud computing. Powered by a global network of top-tier data centers, Ridge enables applications to be deployed and scaled anywhere on the planet. Applications are served to users from local data centers with hyper-low latency, with user experience unmatched by existing cloud providers. Ridge’s managed web services — Kubernetes, containers, and object storage — provide developers with the ease of use of the public cloud and the performance of localized, private infrastructure.
It’s not just about latency and agility: Ridge is changing the way businesses think about growing. For them, cloud-nativity now enables them to innovate, to keep up with evolving business needs, and to realize the full business benefits of cloud computing.
Click here to learn more about how Ridge Cloud can help your business grow.