Clouds are replacing traditional corporate data centers.
More and more companies are connecting the computing power of external providers instead of managing their own pool of physical servers.
Why do successful businesses move to clouds? Short answer: to cut costs and speed up growth. In more detail, let’s consider the main factors that push businesses to move to cloud services and the arguments in favor of the cloud.
Purchasing, starting, and maintaining servers. It’s a complicated and costly process for any business. You need a team of professionals who will regularly monitor equipment performance and manage resources, distributing them across projects, and not always optimally.
Updating equipment regularly. Server equipment will inevitably require updating in the event of a breakdown or when its performance limits are reached.
Slow business processes. The process of approving and allocating resources in large companies is rather slow. For this reason, product and service launches and updates are often delayed. As a result, customers turn to more agile competitors for products and services.
Cloud services and infrastructure allow you to quickly get access to high-performance resources with flexible capacity allocation and scalability in a few clicks.
You don’t need to hire employees to support cloud infrastructure. With cloud services, the burden of server maintenance falls on the service provider. The customer just needs to master the user interface which contains the necessary options for simple remote resource management.
Key cloud use cases
Cloud infrastructure provides advantages in optimizing costs and business processes.
Speed up development and testing
Development and testing require fast allocation of necessary resources, and optimal distribution of processor and memory power.
In corporate data centers without virtualization, resource management is not as fast as in cloud infrastructure. The reason is the lengthy approval processes and task assignment.
The development and testing of new products, services, and applications (including those for working with artificial intelligence and Big Data) are significantly accelerated when using the cloud infrastructure.
Uninterrupted access to online resources
Companies that use cloud infrastructure can provide access to their products to audiences of all sizes. Thanks to flexible scaling, you can quickly adapt to growing loads if necessary.
Resistance to peak loads
The provider’s distributed infrastructure allows you to employ additional resources immediately, as soon as the existing volume begins to lack.
Thus, during periods of sudden surges in user activity and high server load, a company can proactively allocate additional capacity to cope with the flow of requests and increased traffic.
Fault tolerance in case of failures and accidents
Cloud IT infrastructure is resilient to failures and disasters thanks to distributed architecture and virtualization. If a server cluster becomes unavailable, services and applications can be restarted from a backup.
What businesses is cloud technology suitable for?
Clouds are great for any data-driven business.
It can be a small chain of coffee shops with its own loyalty program and customer data, or a large industrial holding that operates with terabytes of information and a huge flow of requests to various production resources.
Small companies in retail, HoReCa, and e-commerce tend to opt for public clouds. Larger companies in these industries, as well as financial and insurance companies, game development, and media businesses prefer private and hybrid clouds. They are also used in power engineering and the manufacturing industry, resorting to multi-clouds if necessary.
How do types of cloud infrastructure differ from each other?
Types of cloud
In a public cloud, customer data is stored on a single physical hardware with logical separation of disk space. This means that the data is safe and no other users have access to it.
Public clouds are the preferred choice when an inexpensive and reliable approach to cloud infrastructure implementation is required. In such cases, resource management is very simple, being both flexible and having the capacity for rapid scaling.
Usually, public clouds are paid for by the pay-as-you-go model with per-minute billing—that is, customers pay only for the period when they actually use the resources that are involved in certain operations. This eliminates the cost of infrastructure downtime.
There are several main ways to provide services within public clouds.
IaaS—Infrastructure as a Service. Customers get access to servers, storage, network and computing resources.
PaaS—Platform as a Service. In addition to hardware, customers have the opportunity to develop, launch, and deliver web applications—for example, for the fields of artificial intelligence and Big Data.
SaaS—Software as a Service. In addition to cloud infrastructure, customers get access to the catalog of software and applications with the ability to integrate via API.
Today, Gcore provides cloud infrastructure in the IaaS and PaaS formats. Development of the SaaS model is planned for the future.
How does Wargaming use the Gcore Cloud?
Wargaming, one of the world’s largest developers and publishers of multiplayer video games (World of Tanks, World of Warships, World of Warplanes), uses the Gcore cloud to complete its daily tasks.
The company has two approaches to the Gcore public cloud; one part of the cloud is integrated into the Wargaming security perimeter, while the other is located outside of the perimeter and functions as a classic public cloud.
The main workloads of the internal part of the public cloud are focused today on testing new features and services, as well as on developing new projects.
Wargaming turns to the external part of the public cloud when the company urgently needs resources outside of its own security perimeter. For example, to work on projects together with partners.
A private cloud uses dedicated physical hardware either at the customer’s site or in the provider’s pool.
This solution is suitable for companies that pay close attention to the security and confidentiality of information. It guarantees maximum data security, GDPR compliance, and high performance.
At the same time, a private cloud requires more infrastructure and personnel costs to deploy and reach the resource cap. The company is bound to incur the costs of purchasing their own resources and their further maintenance.
The example of the Walmart hypermarket chain shows that the battle is worth the blood when it comes to high volumes of information and dealing with sensitive customer data.
By deploying 6 giant farms, each larger than 10 soccer fields, Walmart has housed 80 % of the company’s cloud operations and increased the number of its monthly software updates from 100 to 170,000.
Wargaming private cloud
Wargaming uses a private cloud powered by Gcore. The highest consumption in terms of the number of operations is in the testing of game products: the necessary environments are created, changed, and deleted daily.
The cloud is also used for development tasks. One of the main problems here is the prompt recruitment of resources during promotions, company events, and public holidays (for example, New Year’s holidays, Victory Day), when there’s increased user activity and, accordingly, an increased load on applications and websites.
A hybrid cloud becomes the optimal solution when a company works not only with personal data, but also with anonymized information. In the former case, a more reasonable solution would be to build a private cloud, but in the latter, nothing stops you from using the public one.
This strategy saves company resources, improves data management efficiency, reduces risks, and improves infrastructure resilience.
Based on the specifics of private and public clouds, it’s clear that the choice of a hybrid cloud involves the costs of purchasing and maintaining private infrastructure, but at the same time, part of the resources will be charged per minute.
S&P Global, a US-based media holding and rating agency, uses a hybrid cloud and shares its experience with the audience. By combining a public cloud for anonymized data operations and a private cloud for processing sensitive information, S&P Global has reduced costs and dramatically sped up its processes.
Gcore combines its private and public cloud hardware capabilities into an end-to-end solution offering hybrid cloud services.
The multi-cloud trend that emerged a few years ago continues to grow in popularity. As a large number of providers appeared on the market, customers began to think that their needs would be best met by multiple service providers. Due to this, the need arose to combine and orchestrate resources provided by several providers at once.
Multi-cloud infrastructure can be managed by the customer company itself, by one of the providers, or by a third party—a contractor specializing in managing this type of infrastructure.
The larger the company, the higher the likelihood that the multi-cloud approach will be applied, since it requires the careful synchronization of all resources and involves complex billing.
MESTEC, a British software developer for industrial companies, has become one of the major global players that moved to the multi-cloud model. Thanks to the introduction of cloud technologies, MESTEC is implementing the Smart Factory concept for its customers. Manufacturing is becoming really smart, and big data processing is fast and autonomous.
What should a good IaaS and PaaS public cloud offer?
Technologies and services keep evolving. In order to provide customers with the greatest value, cloud infrastructure providers strive to make their solutions fully integrated, covering the maximum possible customer needs.
Now it makes no sense to contact a provider whose services include only physical equipment. There’s plenty to choose from on the market, and a number of companies offer comprehensive functionality that helps customers create an even more resilient, flexible, and secure infrastructure.
When choosing a cloud service provider, you should pay attention to the availability of the following functionality:
- Virtual machines
- Access management
- Resource management
- System backup
- Ability to migrate
- Block storage
- Load balancer
- Floating IPs
- Data disaster recovery
- Environment for working with AI
- Environment for working with Big Data
- SLA >99,5 %
If the provider’s list of services contains all or most of the above, we can say that this is a serious company.
Leading players not only focus on core server infrastructure but also offer value-added services. For example, Gcore provides businesses with the CDN (content delivery network) services, DDoS-protection, cloud object storage, streaming platform, and more. Several such services in combination can meet the full range of needs of a large media business, online game developer, or representatives of other industries.
Thus, when choosing a cloud, it’s important to determine the needs of your company, the nature of the data you work with, and the requirements for information protection.
The best solution in this case is to consult with the provider’s specialists on choosing the optimal package of services in order to eliminate unnecessary expenses and comply with legal requirements.