Since its inception, cloud computing was considered the one-stop-shop solution for many information technology problems– a silver bullet, as some would say. While that is undoubtedly true, some areas and issues might prove too thick for this silver bullet to pierce through. This article discusses how cloud computing has made life in the IT industry easier and made some things worse for everybody involved.
There are many keywords associated with cloud computing that sound like music to a weary engineer’s ears; flexibility, scalability, and reliability, to name a few. Many of the benefits of cloud computing stem from its contrast with traditional on-premises infrastructure and its propensity to be slow, monolithic, and expensive. Just look at the following comparison to see where we’re getting at:
Let’s take a deeper dive at the points raised by this lovely infographic:
- Cloud computing offers companies the option to pay only for the resources they want to use when they want to use them, which helps them save more money to use more resources to do better business. Unlike traditional infrastructure, which requires a heavy investment of time, money, and labor to set up and maintain, cloud computing grants ease of use and flexibility, all for incredibly affordable prices.
- Developers and IT professionals can scale their resources at the push of a button. The distributed nature of cloud computing means that it can handle fluctuating numbers of requests and calls; if your cloud servers are using too much computing power, you can (automatically or manually) provision more of them to handle the increased load. In traditional infrastructure, people would need to order additional servers, wait for them to arrive, configure them as per specification, and deploy copies of your application in them. I would have already set up the servers in the time it took to write this paragraph.
- As previously mentioned, the distributed nature of cloud computing means it has multiple servers set up in various regions globally. Your data is stored and distributed among these servers, meaning that even if one of them went down, you could still retrieve your data as if nothing happened. The same is said for disaster recovery– you can set up your entire infrastructure in another region in a matter of minutes. Typically, traditional infrastructure has all your data in one place, so if that site experiences trouble, downtime and data loss are inevitable. And even if you somehow have multiple locations, we go back to the high costs of maintaining them and ensuring interconnectivity between the sites.
- Security is always a significant concern for people in IT. Hardening server racks and networks against cyberattacks is, well, hard enough. The main advantage of cloud computing here is that third-party providers already take care of security on the physical level. You can capitalize on ready-to-use protections against attacks like DDoS, cross-scripting, and SQL injections. Plus, you have the option to create and deploy your security solutions on applications you deploy to the cloud.
But wait! There’s more! Cloud computing offers benefits for everybody working in IT, but especially for those in the business of writing code. If we look through the perspective of a software developer, more solutions present themselves:
- Cloud computing naturally lends itself to the DevOps methodology. Continuous integration and continuous delivery/deployment (CI/CD) happen through remote code repositories, application builders and testers, and automated deployments to the cloud. Pipelines orchestrate all these components to provide cohesive and comprehensive application development and deployment flow.
- Aside from CI/CD, feedback loops become shorter and faster through centralized logging and monitoring solutions. Alarms and alerts get sent to popular messaging tools like Slack, Discord, and the humble e-mail. No matter where you are in the world, you can be sure that you’ll know when something goes wrong with your application.
- Cloud-native applications are the norm for the modern age, and cloud computing services allow for their rapid development and deployment. Containerized microservices can be orchestrated via solutions like Kubernetes and AWS ECS, to name a couple. Mobile apps can be swiftly brought to market through platforms like Google Firebase and AWS Amplify.
As much as cloud computing seems like the perfect solution to all our technical challenges, it comes with its own set of problems. It might surprise you to read that some of these problems come from the same benefits I discussed! Let us have a look at them here:
- The sheer breadth, variety, and complexity of cloud computing services can lead to decision paralysis. There can be three or four services that can solve a specific problem in different ways. You might not be sure which one is better than the others.
- As mentioned, cloud computing is cheaper than traditional infrastructure. But because of the On-Demand pricing model and the scalable nature of cloud resources, there is a chance that costs can balloon out-of-proportion if not carefully managed. For example, one developer tested running an application that did nothing but print ‘Hello World’ to the console on a loop. They forgot to terminate the application for a couple of days. When the bill came that month, they were shocked to see an additional 1000 USD incurred!
- Governance and compliance are two important considerations when using cloud computing, particularly in the realm of security. Ensuring that solutions used in the cloud or data moved through the cloud meet industry regulations and laws takes incredible effort, especially when it comes to personally identifiable information (PII). People and organizations have gotten into trouble for mismanaging this kind of sensitive information on the cloud.
- Migrating current workloads to the cloud takes work, especially when there are compatibility issues to consider. Sometimes, it isn’t enough to just copy and paste code, deploy it in a server, and drink coffee afterward. Sometimes, you have to rewrite some parts of the system to make it work. Worse, there are times when you have to rewrite everything from scratch.
- Finally, there is a general lack of knowledge and expertise to handle cloud computing, particularly in the Philippines. Savoring the benefits of cloud computing is well and good if you can find skilled enough engineers to plant the seeds and reap their fruits.
So now, we have seen the promising rewards of cloud computing and the challenges of attaining them. There are affordable solutions in the cloud that offer scalability, flexibility, durability, resiliency, security, and probably another word that ends in “-y”. But the lack of expertise is troublesome, and the magnitude of choices is daunting. If only there were a way to benefit from the cloud without having to go through all the trouble.
Good news! Here at Apper, we know what to do to give you the sweet satisfaction of becoming modern and cloud-native, firing silver bullets at all your technical issues without the fuss. We offer services that maximize the utility of cloud computing for your organization and impart knowledge and expertise to your staff so that they, too, can tinker around all they want. Our engineers are straight shooters who have attained experience and certifications to prove their capability to provide the solutions your organization needs.
If that sounds like something you’d like, give us a call. We’re happy to talk with you.