In my last post, I discussed when not to use cloud services. Basically you should avoid the cloud for your organization’s core competency IT systems. Remember, cloud computing is not a silver bullet for everything.
Today I want to share the stories from the other side: when you should use cloud services. As a rule of thumb, you use cloud services for your non-core competency IT systems. But, what are the typical non-core competency systems?
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There could be many cases in which you can use cloud services. Let me go through some of them by sharing customer experiences:
Outsourcing projects. If something is outsourced, most likely you don’t think it’s a core competency to your business. You can then leverage the full benefit that public cloud services bring to you. You can easily have workspace that is accessible by both your employees and contractors, and it’s more secure than opening up your own infrastructure to your contractors.
Pilot projects. You want to try something new and don’t want to be limited by capital budget not available for infrastructure experiments. From the moment you start a pilot project, you don’t know whether it will work or not. So it’s natural to “rent” the required infrastructures from service providers. This is especially true for pilot projects that require buying lots of machines that you can’t repurpose if the pilot project falls through.
Temporary projects. These are the projects that run for a short period of time, and it doesn’t make sense to buy the infrastructure. It’s like renting furniture instead of buying them for staging your house when you want to sell it. When your house is sold, you can ask the staging company to remove the furniture. You pay based on the furniture and the total time of renting, exactly the same idea as cloud services.
Demo and training scenarios. You may have a pre-sales event in which you want a full demo for a week. Ditto for a training class. These are perfect use cases for leveraging cloud computing.
Extension for dramatic workloads. Notice that I said dramatic, not dynamic workloads. Not every application has a steady workload pattern over time. Some applications could experience 100 times more workloads during peak time than otherwise. For example, a website which may need 1,000 servers for uploading photos during the weekend of the Super Bowls might only require a handful the rest of the time. Would you invest in buying 1,000 servers that are used one weekends in a year? I doubt it. That is a perfect use case for cloud services.
You may have other scenarios that are candidates for best use cloud services. Please feel free to share them in your comments below.