How can your company get started with cloud computing? Well, consider following the market leaders. With a few more months of client experience, Forrester Research recently addressed the major questions that executives have about the adoption of cloud services.
The key benefits that most early adopters report do not start with costs -- but rather with business flexibility. According to those that have deployed it, the benefits of cloud computing, in order of importance, are:
1. Improving time-to-application deployment. Cloud platforms give you the option of developing and deploying new applications on existing infrastructure as quickly as desired. Traditional platforms can take up to three or four months to procure, install, and configure, stalling the application deployment process.
2. Aligning IT budgets with application demand. How many Web applications does your organization deploy without exactly knowing how popular they’ll be or how much capacity you’ll need to accommodate that popularity? Many of the early cloud adopters host customer and public-facing Web applications with cloud providers for this reason. They can pay just for the resources they use, hour by hour.
3. Accommodating peaks in demand for data center capacity. Cloud computing is also good for handling episodic spikes in demand for computing, storage, and network resources. Rather than provision for the expected peak of the holiday shopping season, retailers can push the additional demand into a cloud environment. Big batch jobs also fit this model.
4. Delivering applications without raising the budget. Cloud computing gives you the ability to deliver new applications without having to buy systems, avoiding an investment of your firm’s capital in new equipment. Application development and delivery can all be handled using pay-as-you-go operating expenses.
5. Sharing without putting the data center at risk. Many of the early adopters of cloud computing are looking for an inexpensive and easily accessible way to share information. Medical researchers are an example. Cloud services enable these organizations to host data on public clouds, rather than making their internal data center available to external parties.
Three Questions to Ask a Cloud Service Provider
How do you know if a managed cloud service provider is a good-fit for your business? Forrester concludes that you should ask all providers the following three basic questions:
- What are your enterprise references and what kinds of applications do those organizations run in your cloud?
- For which application scenarios does your cloud environment deliver the maximum flexibility and scalability?
- What security and reliability commitments do you make to your customers?