A key benefit to the cloud is scalability. This allows a business to upscale or downscale their IT requirements when needed. For example, a company creates an incredible product and it starts to take off. The business is growing at a dizzying rate and it’s time to expand.
As the company expands so will its IT needs, with traditional infrastructure growing IT turns into a difficult guessing game. Most of the time when deciding what type of infrastructure to purchase a company will create their system based on what they believe will be their maximum output. This results in expensive idle resources as well as limited capacity when the demand exceeds the system.
This is where the cloud can help, cloud infrastructure allows a company to provision the amount of resources they need, when they need them. If demand increases and more resources are required, you can scale up with a simple call to your provider. If business slows just shut down some of the resources and instantly stop paying. There are no wasted resources, and no poor customer service due to a lack of resources.
These two graphs compare a traditional IT infrastructure and cloud infrastructure during times of increasing demand.
In a traditional infrastructure you have to guess what your maximum output is going to be and create your system around that, this accounts for the large amount of over buy. There will be a few times when your infrastructure will need all of those resources but for the most part they will go underutilized. There will also be terms of under buy where the infrastructure cannot handle the current demand but the company isn’t able to deploy additional resources quickly enough, this can result in poor performance, slowing down operations.
In the cloud lead times shrink considerably from weeks and months to minutes. The company only pays for what it uses and can add more resources whenever it needs to, allowing a company to almost exactly match capacity with demand, eliminating over buy and under buy.
Another area where we see companies effectively using the cloud’s scalability is with seasonal employees. Most companies have that great college intern who works for $8/hr and the free coffee during the summer, sadly this cheap labor does not last forever. With traditional infrastructure you would have to purchase a workstation and licenses for the intern and then maintain them. With the cloud the intern can use their own laptop and you will only have to pay for the licenses during their summer employment, after that turn off the licenses and stop paying. It’s that simple.
Written By: Sam Watkinson