The cloud isn’t new, but that doesn’t make it any less revolutionary.
Cloud computing has completely evolved business computing and software architectures, changing a rigid set of services into an iterative, scalable set of applications that constantly transform to meet the needs of companies and consumers.
In today’s fast-changing, hyper-competitive landscape, businesses need to offer superior flexibility and speed in order to ensure operational success and satisfy customer demand. Sticking to rigid solutions that cannot scale or deliver services at the speed at which consumers’ needs evolve can cause businesses to fail. Take, for example, the familiar story of websites crashing during the premiere of blockbuster shows or playoff games. This often occurs because their hosted platforms don’t have scalable technology to handle the sudden arrival of a large number of subscribers — and it leaves many screens dark. Technology that doesn’t scale properly will ultimately crash, and the same can be said for the customer base if businesses don’t adapt and brace themselves for a necessary transformation.
Failing to embrace this shift can leave entire industries in the dark. Technology is rapidly advancing, and the only constant is change. Let’s look at how the cloud has become imperative in helping businesses manage these changes and how you can leverage them yourself.
The Power To Transform
Cloud platforms have the resources to globally scale up/down to meet demand instantaneously, creating unlimited opportunities for businesses and their customers. They also help reduce costs because businesses are only charged by their cloud service provider when customers are using the platform. Additionally, the cloud enables easier collaboration across different locations. In a global world marked by tighter deadlines and expanding customer and employee bases, the shift to the cloud is imperative for industries to address.
For startups and larger players alike, transitioning to the cloud has enabled them to better manage industry disruptions, reinvent their business models and fuel massive improvements in the delivery of their services. Five years ago, Adobe saw that a perpetual-licensing model limited its ability to deliver new innovations and capabilities. With advances in devices, browsers, mobile apps and screen sizes, customers’ content-creation requirements were rapidly changing. Adobe needed to shift to meet this need, so it moved from a traditional boxed software model to a subscription-based, license-management model, which came to be Adobe Creative Cloud. Moving to the cloud increased usage and flexibility for customers and Adobe’s own business. The transition afforded Adobe greater flexibility, greater scalability and greater transparency into how users were managing licenses.
For the entertainment industry, transitioning to the cloud means having the flexibility to support a global infrastructure and rapidly expanding libraries of media content for various distribution channels, media formats and consumption models. In our case, we used the cloud to reimagine the content supply chain and unify the disparate stages of content development. Deluxe One simplifies how clients’ content is created and delivered to audiences. With a cloud architecture, content owners now have visibility into where their content is in the media life cycle, insight into metrics and performance and elasticity to scale their operations. Getting more content to more people is increasingly complex, but with a cloud architecture, we’ve been able to shorten the time between camera lens and screen.
What You Need To Know
So what do business leaders need to know when they begin planning to create their own cloud platform? Every situation is, of course, different, and needs can vary dramatically, but here are some essential basics that will ensure you’re starting on the right track:
1. Start with a solid assessment: It is extremely important to fully evaluate and understand your workflows and systems in order to best understand what resources and architecture will be needed in the cloud. Think about the type of applications and the resources/technologies they use. Take into consideration the location of your users and how they interact with the systems. Evaluate the databases and determine whether they can be migrated to a cloud-native database configuration. Then think more about specific issues like re-architecting the security model. Don’t rely on a legacy security model in a castle-and-moat model (i.e., a strong firewall and unprotected content behind it); instead, look to employ multiple layers of security based on use, authentication and access rights between services, systems and storage, including audit trails. By getting into the details at the start, you will be set up for success to make the right decisions as infrastructure is migrated to the cloud.
2. Don’t lift and shift your current infrastructure: To effectively leverage the benefits the cloud affords, it’s important not to cut corners when making the move. Take advantage of the transition as the perfect opportunity to redesign your apps to be truly cloud-friendly — not just a copy of what you had before. For example, think about the ability to auto-scale usage of the platform when traffic is high, then scale back when use drops off. The cloud is optimized for that approach, and it could save you money!
3. Pull the right team together at the start: Right out the gate, it is going to be essential to have a strong DevOps team that understands the inherent strengths of a cloud-based platform. One such advantage, for example, is the ability for continuous and automated platform deployment and integration versus having to update the whole package manually. From a practical perspective, that means you need a team that can think in terms of not one large application but can instead break it down into smaller even microservices that can be easily reused, deployed and integrated on the fly and easily updated.
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