The level and intensity of hyperbolic hysteria that greeted the arrival of cloud computing has thankfully began to subside a little bit and people have begun to look at the cloud with a healthy dose of realism.
This thankful re-evaluation of the powers of the cloud has only served to highlight the diverse and innovative ways that businesses can actually use the cloud. This is welcome because it means that a lot of businesses are beginning to look at the cloud not as a way of saving money – a “better alternative” to the old ways – but as a unique and new way to push certain aspects of their businesses forward, unlike any platform before it.
What follows then are a few things to think about and a few examples of businesses that have got it right so far.
A lot of industry movers and shakers are beginning to highlight the advantages of cloud computing for application development. The use of public based assets to construct, test and market applications can have a number of benefits in terms of the ability to streamline the development process, to collaborate and to save time.
A lot of companies have begun to make a lot of progress in this area, such as CloudOn who make their living optimising Microsoft Office apps for smartphones. Taking advantage of the fact that larger and larger portions of the workface are going to come to rely on their smartphones or tablets, the cloud allows companies to work quickly and cost efficiently to develop useful apps.
Software Defined Networking (SDN)
SDN is one of the biggest developments that is looming over the horizon, and is premised upon the idea that complex business networks can be simplified by moving the control plane to a single controller that works to configure and manage the entire network. This removes the need for each individual device on the network to manage its own functionality and be programmed individually.
Embrane is an example of a company that is taking early advantage of this trend. The software that the company market virtualises a number of services such as firewalls and VPNs, and purports to give customers the functionality of a hardware appliance and the usability and flexibility of a software package.
The sheer volume and complexity of the kind of information and data that are produced by businesses now means that the old kind of structured and nicely organised world of excel spreadsheets is facts becoming a thing of the past. The cloud offers a number of ways in which the cloud can be of use to companies in this regard, such as those that are working in the areas of open source databases or network management.
Another area of the cloud which holds a lot of potential for businesses is in the area of cloud monitoring. The cloud market has yet to really open up in the sense of businesses using a number of different providers in order to spread risk or get better deals for themselves. This provides the possibility for businesses who can offer other users quick and easy analytics on the public could providers such as CPU, storage and other resources. This will allow companies to much better customise the kind of cloud hosting packages that best suit them.
These four examples are designed to get your brain moving with regards to the fact that the cloud represents so much more than just a way for businesses to save money and that, for the plucky and the forward thinking, there are a huge range of possibilities for business.
Does anyone else have any good cloud based business tips and hints for us?
This article is written by James Duval
Image by jscreationzs