Cloud Computing: The Future?
I’ve been binging The Office for the past few days.
And it got me thinking.
The first few seasons are from the early 2000s, and I can’t help but smile whenever I see a fax, a landline, or a computer using Microsoft XP.
That’s about 15 years ago, a bit less.
Can you imagine how much technology has evolved since then? I bet that a lot of you reading this article don’t even know how to operate a fax machine.
Don’t get me wrong, that’s for the better.
But it does stand to show how much technology has evolved. Besides wi-fi, big tech giants, on-demand, high-quality streaming and the death of Blockbuster, there’s a piece of tech that stands out in its capability and possible applications:
What Is Cloud Computing?
“Cloud computing is the on-demand availability of computer system resources and computing power, without direct active management by the user. The term is generally used to describe data centers available to many users over the Internet. Large clouds, predominant today, often have functions distributed over multiple locations from central servers.”
In practice, cloud computing is often used to power-up computing from a distance. Software like Microsoft Azure is built to help you with coding frameworks and tools to create the applications you need, without relying solely on the processing power of your own devices.
Cloud computing is more or less like an advanced Team Viewer. No, they’re not the same, but cloud computing lets you use powerful hardware remotely, through cloud technology.
What’s the difference between cloud technology and cloud computing?
Cloud computing is cloud technology.
But not all cloud technology is cloud computing.
In fact, cloud technology has become more of a buzz term - it’s hard to settle on a specific and clear definition for it, but semantically it encompasses anything you can do on the cloud, including light services like OneDrive, which is solely focused on cloud storage.
On the other hand, cloud computing is focused more on processing power.
But cloud computing is not just a remote code playground. There are a lot of possible applications involving the processing power of remote hardware and data centers.
Netflix, for example, uses cloud computing to store and show you their multimedia content. But it’s not just for having a server with all their shows and movies. Netflix has complex algorithms in place for how their system works, and they do it all with cloud computing.
However, that’s just scratching the surface, so let’s get into...
Uses of Cloud Computing
There are a lot of possible uses for cloud computing technology, and you can break cloud computing services in three categories:
- Infrastructure as a Service, renting physical or virtual servers.
- Platform as a Service, which includes the servers and extra tools to help you create anything you want. Microsoft Azure is an example of this.
- Software as a Service, in which you usually get an easy-to-use interface for a ready-to-use platform based on cloud computing.
We went deeper into how each of these three work in our Cloud Technology article, so make sure you read that if you want to find out more.
But what does this mean for you?
How can you use this information?
Let’s translate that bullet list into real-life examples.
Ionos is a company that lets you use their virtual servers, in exchange for a monthly subscription based on how much storage you need.
That’s it, pretty straightforward. An Infrastructure as a service tool.
Microsoft Azure is an advanced tool that gives you access to the same server space, but it also lets you use different features to create software in that server.
In fact, Microsoft Azure is a good choice if you’re looking for a Platform as a Service cloud computing solution. They support all programming languages, and they have in-house tools for things like:
- Virtual Machines
- NoSQL databases with easy API integration
- App development
And even quantum computing. If it wasn’t pretty obvious, you need a strong team to make use of all of these features.
And if you don’t have a team of developers sitting idle in your office, it might be a good idea to partner with someone that can help you implement the right tech solutions.
Zapier is a Software as a Service example. Their software can help you create automations for your daily, repetitive tasks.
For example, you can connect Gmail to a spreadsheet, and whenever you receive an email from a specific account, it will automatically send that information to a spreadsheet.
That’s just an example, they have a lot of possible automations.
The thing is…
You can’t really do whatever you want with a SaaS. Even Zapier only has under 2000 tools they integrate with, so if you need automation for tools outside of their scope, you’re not in luck.
That’s why platforms as a service (like Microsoft Azure) are the most powerful application for any business. You get the benefits of cloud computing, with as much freedom as you can dream.
But again, they’re hard to use, and you need an experienced team to be able to create something valuable with it.
Luckily, we’ve been working in Azure for almost 10 years.
So if you have an idea for a software built with cloud computing, feel free to get in touch with us. We’d be more than happy to help you understand the power of cloud computing and use it to power-up your business.
Because that’s what this is about: cloud computing is not just a fancy quirk to be “trendy”.
It can actually help you streamline your workflow, improve collaboration and even land more clients.
If you’re not yet convinced cloud computing is worth it…
Let’s look at some benefits.
Benefits of Cloud Computing
The thing about cloud computing providers is that they constantly improve their services. Azure has constant updates, adding new features, on top of the many tools that exist on the platform today.
That’s why the first clear benefit of cloud computing is agility.
Your team can quickly re-provision or revise a project with the help of all existing technologies.
Second, cloud computing lowers the barrier of entry to high-quality processing and tools, which decreases costs for the companies accessing the tools.
Third, you’re not bound to a location or device. Your team can independently access the system using web browsers, since all the infrastructure is off-site. This in turn lets your company adapt to the socially distant and remote realities of our workforce today.
Fourth, maintenance of cloud computing infrastructure is easier, because all software can be accessed remotely.
Fifth, collaboration is improved. Multiple developers, even multiple teams, distributed globally, can access the same documents and projects simultaneously and use their knowledge and skills to create something better.
Sixth, projects made with cloud computing are more scalable, because expansion now only means operational costs, not capital investments as well. And lastly, cloud computing services are more secure, because the service provider is concerned with that, and for them it’s all on the line in case of a breach.
Cloud Computing Today
The US is officially in a recession.
Massive layoffs and branches shutting down are announced all over the world.
Yes, the new coronavirus is to blame for the economic downturn we’re all facing.
But it’s not the virus itself that sent the global financial market into disarray. It’s the consumer behaviour it forced on the world economy.
A lot more of us are staying indoors.
A lot more of us are working remotely.
And that triggered a shift in the workforce as well. Twitter for example announced that all of their employees can, from now on, work completely remotely whenever they want.
That’s a big change.
And with no vaccine in sight, it’s a trend we expect to see rise in the coming months, and even perhaps years.
And if there’s anything business owners need to know, it’s that they can’t ignore this type of change.
So it’s crucial that you adapt to it.
And one of the ways to do that is to become comfortable with a remote working reality.
Cloud computing (and cloud technology in general) is a good way to prepare your team to work remotely.
So Where To Now?
Considering the undeniable amount of benefits cloud computing poses, it’s clear that you should keep an eye on it.
We don’t know if the future will be shaped by cloud computing.
But cloud computing is definitely part of the future.
And you can harness its power with the right tech partner.
We have exhaustive experience helping companies streamline their processes with tools built in Azure, and we’d be happy to do the same for you.
If what you read today sounds interesting, don’t be afraid to reach out.
It’s not just about setting up a small server for your team.
The right tech partner is an important ally when navigating uncharted economic lands. A cloud computing solution is, in turn, not just a small tweak to your workflow.
With the right customizations, it can become a competitive advantage.