Why do we need the cloud?
By Peter Dallimore. This blog was originally posted on http://ninefold.com. If you want to learn more about how the Cloud can work for your startup, join us tomorrow at 3pm ET for an Learning Series Cloud Webinar.
The cloud has opened the door to on-demand computing outside of the physical environment. This allows users to essentially create a new machine in minutes that can be used and then discarded, only be retrieved when needed again. But with all this computing power at our fingertips, how can we maximise its use? How can this on-demand style of infrastructure be used to improve productivity and resource management, and most importantly: why would we need it?
I recently had the opportunity to speak with a troubled user who works as a freelance video producer and documentarian. For three months or more he would go out and film the rough cut of his production. He started to run into problems when it came time to turn all of the rough material into a polished product.
He would spend months editing, rendering, re-editing and re-rendering the rough cut in order to produce the finished product. Editing and rendering is an extremely exhaustive process for standard computing resources, and the fact that he is a small operator meant buying additional hardware to suit his ongoing requirements was simply not an option.
Due to the limitations of his small infrastructure, and the fact that only one of the actions could be completed at a time, the post-production process would often take far longer than the hours spent filming. Sometimes entire days were wasted completing these resource-hungry tasks. Not to mention the constant worry that if the resources were to fail and material was lost, the whole operation could be jeopardised.
The perfect resolution for him would have been a place where he could send his work and be completely satisfied that it was reliable, scalable, easily started and able to be switched off when the job was complete. This was a man screaming for the cloud without even knowing it.
Which got me thinking: what other types of resource-intensive application could be moved from an average PC to the cloud? The endless options poured out in front of me and the untapped benefits of the cloud became even more unlimited.
Anyone who loses time in their day, month or year due to computer resources being overtaxed (or having to stop one job while another completes) needs to launch the process into the cloud. Everything from reporting to rendering to software applications could do with more resources at their beck and call.
As with many small businesses (and early startup developers will attest to this) the cost of expanding infrastructure is a luxury few can afford, and the option to rent the resources necessary for the time required is just not available. Thanks to cloud computing, the need for on-call infrastructure has been answered.
Any high resource computing task can be sent to a Virtual Instance with the resources that you require. Everything from CPU to disk space and OS can be selected to suit your requirements. It’s like walking into a computer store each time you need to complete a task and building the perfect computer to do it. And then, once the job is done, throwing it in the bin.
If your time is being wasted waiting for tasks to complete, maybe it’s time to talk with someone about how the cloud can help you.