How do enteprise clouds solve corporate tasks? Cloud advantages & practical use-cases

Why do businesses need the cloud? In this article, we will compare the benefits of cloud solutions for businesses and bare-metal servers, outline the advantages of enterprise cloud hosting various companies and describe the way clouds are often used in the corporate world.

How does the cloud work?

A cloud is a virtual IT infrastructure based on servers. Business clouds are used for services with heavy workloads and large volumes of data: ERP and CRM systems, remote offices, data bases etc. Clouds for individual users are meant for storing personal files such as pictures, music or documents.

The cloud is stored in the provider’s remote data centers. The infrastructure is available through a virtual interface which enables management and monitoring. The provider is responsible for supporting and maintaining the physical part of the cloud – the servers that comprise it.

The main factor that sets enterprise cloud services apart from other infrastructural solutions is flexible scaling. For example, you can use the web interface to instantly increase or decrease the amount of RAM, turn CPU cores on and off etc. Doing so will change the price of the cloud accordingly: the fewer resources you use, the less you have to pay.

Enterprise cloud solutions let the company focus on its main business goals instead of maintaining the IT infrastructure

How is the cloud better than on-premises infrastructure?

On first glance, it may seem that traditional bare-metal servers are a simpler solution, which supposedly makes them more convenient. On the contrary, on-premises deployment puts plenty of difficult tasks before the company that chooses it:

  • training and paying for IT staff;
  • supporting the infrastructure;
  • dedicating a space for the local data center;
  • organizing reserve platforms for fault tolerance;
  • ensuring the physical and digital safety of the servers;
  • regularly updating software.

These tasks take a lot of time and resources. When you rent a cloud, these issues become the responsibility of your provider. This way, your company can use its resources on its main goals while the enterprise cloud provider takes care of the IT environment.

Cloud services for enterprises have a number of benefits as opposed to on-premises infrastructure:

  • 24/7 access: each user of the corporate IT system has access to data in the cloud, no matter their location or the time of day;
  • independence from the hardware platform: access to data does not depend on the user’s device – data can be accessed from a PC, a thin client, a tablet, a phone etc;
  • mobility: colleagues can attend online conferences, work remotely, receive and update information, solve urgent issues while on leave or on a business trip;
  • cost-effectiveness: no need to support the equipment, hire engineers to support the infrastructure or spend on power and cooling for the servers;
  • flexibility: the resources can be increased and decreased based on the client’s needs. This way, the company does not overpay for resources it doesn’t need;
  • professional equipment: providers purchase Enterprise-class hardware and place it in data centers which correspond to the requirements of industrial-grade servers.
  • reliability: it’s easier for a provider to organize redundancy for the uninterrupted functioning of servers, as well as to set up data security systems and reserve copying in the data center.

Dedicated server rental solves some of the issues that arise with on-premises deployment, such as the need to maintain your own data center. However, the configuration of the bare-metal server is limited by its components. A user that wishes to scale their infrastructure will have to replace the components or rent another server. On the contrary, scaling in the cloud is virtually unlimited. The amount of resources can be increased at any moment and you can order no more and no less than you need for a particular project.

You don’t have to deploy every service used by the company in the cloud, you can also use it for particular services

How do companies use cloud solutions?

Each company’s needs are unique. Some prioritize cost-effectiveness, others focus on security or optimizing operational activity. The way businesses use cloud solutions depends on the industry, the size of the business, the strategy, the org chart and even the limitations of local laws.

For example, a bank cannot use enterprise cloud storage for all data. The demands towards security are very high when it comes to private banking information. However, banks are allowed to deploy certain types of data and systems in the cloud, such as the website or a corporate university, as long as they are not connected to the data base that holds their clients’ data.

In other words, you don’t have to deploy all systems and apps in the cloud; you can use the cloud platform for certain services. Let us consider a couple of public cloud use-cases.

Use-case 1: backup storage

Cloud enterprise backups are one of the simplest and most common use-cases for the cloud. It’s highly recommended that you store reserve copies on a remote platform so that failures in your main infrastructure don’t affect the backups. The optimal solution is to store the data in a certified data center where data is transferred using protected channels and the backups are protected by hardware-based encryption. If this has been agreed upon, the provider will assist you with recovering data from the remote platform.

Use-case 2: reserve platform

Organizing a redundant infrastructure on-premises can get very expensive and time-consuming. Instead of building your own cluster, use the cloud solution to organize a reserve platform. If the main infrastructure happens to fail, the services on the platform will continue to work. This solution is used by small and medium businesses, as well as large enterprises.

Use-case 3: platform for peak loads

If your business experiences seasonal traffic surges or if the periods of high and low traffic fluctuate, the cloud can be used to deploy systems that are used for heavy seasonal workloads. This kind of solution can be considered an enterprise hybrid cloud. There are tools for integrating local and cloud apps on the market that will make this type of infrastructure more effective.

Use-case 4: environment for urgent projects

Companies with branching org charts have dedicated development teams. The resource audit before the start of the project must consider all factors, including the computing power necessary for deploying the product. Unfortunately, it is sometimes difficult to accurately predict the actual load on the infrastructure. If another department is expecting an application and there aren’t enough resources on the local infrastructure, the cloud is a simple and quick solution.

Use-case 5: full infrastructure migration

This scenario allows the company to reap all the advantages of business cloud infrastructure. Enterprise cloud migration is a difficult and costly process, which is why some providers transfer the client’s systems themselves. The specialists organize the migration in such a way that the business processes remain unaffected and the infrastructure is optimized.

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What kind of business will the cloud be good for?

Let’s take a look at how the benefits of cloud technology solve tasks of companies of various sizes and industries.

Business 1: Startup

The cloud is the perfect solution for a business that needs quick and simple scaling. Startups are a popular example of such a business. A company on this stage of development doesn’t have the resources to regularly buy new equipment. At the same time, rapid growth forces the business to expand its computing resources. Public cloud rental allows the company to increase the amount of resources instantly and without purchasing expensive hardware.

Business 2: E-commerce project

The cloud is a good solution for companies that often work with seasonal traffic surges. A good example would be an internet retailer which gets more incoming traffic during certain times of year. When the traffic surge is over, the owner of the business can turn off the extra resources and pay less until the next surge.

Business 3: software development company

The scaling capabilities of the cloud will be of use to a business that develops software. The public cloud can be used as an isolated platform for testing and deploying apps, while the company’s main systems are deployed in another cloud. Hybrid clouds are often used for such purposes, as it is easier to transfer data between infrastructures in a hybrid environment.

Note: public, private and hybrid clouds are deployment models of cloud technology. The resources of the public cloud are distributed between multiple users. The private cloud is used by one client only. The hybrid cloud is a solution that unites public and private clouds into a single system.

Business 4: a company with remote employees

Cloud rental will solve the tasks of a company that employs remote workers. In particular, this solution will be of interest to international companies that have employees from different countries. This is possible because the company’s staff is not limited by the physical location of the infrastructure and any device can be used to connect to the cloud. This will be useful for organizing online conferences, providing shared access to the data base, using the same corporate tools etc.

This article only contains a few examples of how cloud computing for enterprises increases the efficiency of a business. However, clouds are used by companies in various industries and each one has its own unique use-case. If you want to see more real-life examples of how clouds for enterprises are used, get acquainted with case studies by SIM-Networks.

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