What is the Forecast: Cloudy – Cloud for companies and start-ups

How can companies and start-up use cloud to scale an cut cost

Over the last decade, Cloud Computing has really gained a lot of steam going from what was once predominantly considered relevant for startups and visionary enterprises has now become relevant for enterprise computing across all industry verticals, markets, organization size, etc. Though the history of Cloud Computing goes back to the 1960s when the concept of Time-Sharing became popular in Computing via Remote Job Entry, Cloud Computing really became popular in the year 2000s when several large companies started offering Cloud Services. In 2018 Global Cloud Computing Market is estimated to be at USD 272 billion and expected to grow to USD 623 billion by 2023 (at 18% CAGR). 

Interestingly there is a parallel from history we can find when analyzing adoption of Cloud worldwide. Electricity (a form of utility) in the 1800s was initially produced individually at each home using really large electricity generators. Over the years as Power Stations and Power Grids came to life families moved away from producing their own electricity using generators to drawing their Electricity (on-demand) from the central grid. For reasons why Electricity production moved from large generators at homes to central grid in the 1800s are also common to why in many cases it makes sense for organizations to move their Infra, software, compute, storage needs, etc. to the Cloud.

What is Cloud Computing: As defined by Google, In cloud computing, the capital investment in building and maintaining data centers is replaced by consuming IT resources as an elastic, utility-like service from a cloud “provider” (including storage, computing, networking, data processing, and analytics, application development, machine learning, and even fully managed services).

The adoption of Cloud is also having a huge impact on innovation and business models across industries. Power of Cloud enables businesses (of all sizes) to focus on their core competency without worrying about managing IT systems while operating with a lot of flexibility, (in many cases) reduced costs, etc.

Five Business Advantages of moving to Cloud

  • Agility & Flexibility: Cloud gives you the ability to seamlessly scale without worrying about buying physical servers in addition to re-provision, add (and even remove) infra as needed. As an early-stage startup, you can start small, however, if you suddenly see a spike in traffic to your website, Thanks to Cloud you will be able to scale seamlessly
  • Reduced IT Costs: Moving to Cloud in many cases results in reduced IT costs (as you don’t have to maintain your own dedicated resources to manage the IT systems). Cost of periodically updating your physical servers (if you were to maintain your own IT systems) can also be eliminated as access to regular hardware and software upgrades can be part of your contract with the cloud provider  
  • Business Continuity: Managing your own IT systems comes with the risk of losing access to them due to natural calamity, power failure, any other issues, etc. Thanks to backup that happens as part of Cloud you would be able to recover your data and ensure your business continues uninterrupted.
  • Productivity: If you have your business data on the cloud, that can make it accessible to multiple users simultaneously thereby increasing the productivity of your organization
  • Performance: Since through Cloud services you can decide to use data centers closer to where your users are (instead of your own office) this in most cases results in faster response time and lower latency for your users. E.g. If you are a Swiss company serving users in Switzerland and the US West Coast, you can choose the location of your datacenters from the Cloud provider to be in Zurich and San Francisco thereby offering faster response time to users from both the geographies.

One topic which is often discussed when talking about Cloud is Security. Cloud providers are investing significantly to offer increased security for your data when stored in the Cloud. Security in most cases is either as good or better than traditional systems. In some cases genuine security risks do exist and that results in many organizations opting for the private cloud instead of a public cloud.

Other concerns exist around business sensitivity data that companies are not willing to store on Cloud and want to keep on their own servers. Their genuine concerns are resulting in Hybrid Cloud and Multi-Cloud architectures becoming more popular recently. 

Overall migration to Cloud is only going to accelerate in the days to come as organizations look at unlocking the benefits it has to offer. Therefore the forecast is indeed Cloudy!

Based in Silicon Valley(California), Uttam heads Global Dev Ecosystem Programs at Google, leading the team working on programs that aims to make developers and startups successful as they build products and apps on Google's Developer Products. Prior to this he led Google's Launchpad program and Developer Relations for Google in SouthEast Asia. He has a Bachelors & Masters degree in Computer Science from IIT Kanpur (India) and a Master in Management (Strategy & Finance major). He also has a long association with Switzerland (over 10 years) first working as a Research Associate on projects involving Business Process Modeling & Cloud Computing, Mentoring & Coaching Swiss students & startups and most recently teaching at University of Applied Sciences in Switzerland.

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