What are some of the long-term benefits that Cloud Computing brings with it?
While a move to cloud computing offers both short and long-term benefits, it is the prospect of receiving lasting paybacks which attracts most businesses. Just what kind of perks are we talking about here? Economics is almost always at the heart of any decision to adopt the cloud; this extends to include many different areas (like software licensing, hardware upgrades and the service itself, which we’ll delve into shortly). However, economics alone doesn’t really push organizations to actively seek out the cloud, increased capabilities on the other hand, most certainly do. Long term benefits with Cloud Computing
Let’s start off by examining some of the economic benefits in the long term. To say that companies typically invest fortunes into software licensing is a bit of an understatement. Some businesses actually devote many millions of dollars (over a 5-10 year period) toward ensuring that their typically used software packages are up-to-date. It’s easy to see why this is undesirable.
First off, the life-span of most software used in a business capacity is quite short. Secondly, there are also labor costs associated with actually installing/updating software (not to mention the lengthy amount time that IT will spend actually performing this task). It’s safe to say that there are much better things that any IT department could, and perhaps should be doing as opposed to laborious tasks like performing software updates. For instance, what happens if an update cycle occurs at the same time as an IT-intensive business project?
One of the really great things about the cloud is that software licensing is often automatically factored into the cost of the service itself. In other words, you pay one price which includes the cost of multiple software licenses which are automatically upgraded for you when the time comes. Likewise, as new software is released, your cloud provider will likely upgrade your system without adding any additional charges to your account (individual policies will vary however).
Hardware is even more expensive to upgrade and maintain than software. Arguably, the biggest value associated with long-term cloud computing stems from the benefits and savings of not having to do your own hardware upgrades or maintenance. For businesses that are very dependent on cutting-edge IT services, spending a ton of money was simply unavoidable until cloud computing become available.
The brisk pace of development in the realm of hardware is well documented and seems to speed up with each passing year. While businesses are certainly excited about the new capabilities which hardware upgrades will bring, the steep costs are painful enough to offset the perks. For a large organization, staying on the cutting edge in terms of hardware might mean spending millions of dollars annually!
Naturally, cloud computing is the alternative to up-front hardware investment and often is able to deliver even more capabilities. Furthermore, it would be the responsibility of your vendor to ensure that the hardware systems are being properly maintained – which is extremely labor-intensive and could also be quite expensive. Aside from the expenses of maintaining a large IT force capable of managing an extensive cloud, providers must also have specialized personnel on hand with very specific training, experience and certification in cloud computing.
Then of course you have the benefit of the actual cloud computing service itself. One of the things that make the cloud so cost-effective is the way in which it uses energy (electricity). Unlike in a traditional setup, where machines are usually powered on for long periods of time, sucking energy without actually doing any work, cloud computing offers a more “elastic” approach. Basically, individual machines only need to be powered on or draw upon processing assets if they are actually in use.
Since virtualization plays a big role in cloud computing, the idea that each machine requires its own segregated assets is a thing of the past; now, you can divert resources from virtual machines which are not in use to those that are (and might require some extra horsepower). Moreover, because you no longer have unused machines (or even extensive on-site IT hardware) drawing electricity, annual energy bills will be significantly reduced. In the long-term, energy reduction savings will be very significant; especially when you consider that worldwide electricity costs are rising.