On-demand self-service enables the provision of cloud resources whenever needed by allowing the user access through an online control panel.
In other words, it makes real-time computing—without reliance on a buffer resource—a reality and empowers the user with the infrastructure necessary to scale up substantially without disrupting the host operations. Users may add more resources on demand when there is a sudden spurt in visitor traffic. They also have the liberty to discard the resources they do not require.
Say, for example, you need 4GB RAM and 10TB storage on your server—but you have never used more than 2GB RAM and 5TB space sits free. If you were on a physical server, you’d have no choice but to continue paying for 4GB RAM, regardless of whether you use it or not.
With cloud servers, on the other hand, you have the option to work on a less resource-extensive server and scale only when the needs arise. Thus, you can continue working on a server with 2GB RAM and 5TB space and upgrade the moment you believe you might need additional resources: The moment you scale up your specifications, your services will be charged differently. Once the requirement is over, you can easily scale down to where you started. This will also decrease the running cost because you’d be then running a downgraded server.
On-demand functionality can connect you instantly to many resources, including:
- Storage space
- Software applications
Cloud computing is not a viable option for a business to maintain all the resources as they may remain unutilized at times. It removes the concept of pay-and-use in traditional hosting services and replaces it with pay-for-what-you-use making it more versatile and powerful.
If, however, the on-demand functionality is not implemented, it becomes difficult for a small business to take advantage of cloud computing services.
Consider the following scenario: A cloud consumer can unilaterally access cloud-based IT resources giving the cloud consumer the freedom to self-provision these IT resources. Once configured, usage of the self-provisioned IT resources can be automated, requiring no further human involvement by the cloud consumer or cloud provider. This results in an on-demand usage environment. Also known as “on-demand self-service usage,” this characteristic enables the service-based and usage-driven features found in the mainstream cloud.
Benefits of On-Demand Services
- Security: Many organizations have security concerns when it comes to adopting a cloud-computing solution. A cloud host’s full-time job is to carefully monitor security, which is significantly more efficient than a conventional in-house system, where an organization must divide its efforts between a myriad of IT concerns, with security being only one of them. Most businesses don’t like to openly consider the possibility of internal data theft, the truth is that a staggeringly high percentage of data thefts occur internally and are perpetrated by employees. When this is the case, it can actually be much safer to keep sensitive information offsite. Of course, this is all very abstract, so let’s consider some solid statistics.The key to this is the encryption of all data that is transmitted over networks and stored in databases. This is much more efficient and reliable than a conventional in-house system, where a high percentage of data thefts can occur.
- Flexibility: The cloud offers businesses more flexibility overall versus hosting on a local server. And, if you need extra bandwidth, a cloud-based service can meet that demand instantly, rather than undergoing a complex (and expensive) update to your IT infrastructure. This improved freedom and flexibility can make a significant difference to the overall efficiency of your organization.
- Cost Savings: Once you are on the cloud, easy access to your company’s data will save time and money in project startups. And, for those who are worried that they’ll end up paying for features that they neither need nor want, most cloud-computing services are pay-as-you-go. This means that if you don’t take advantage of what the cloud has to offer, then at least you won’t have to be dropping money on it.
- Mobility: Cloud computing allows mobile access to corporate data via smartphones and devices. It is a great way to ensure that no one is ever left out of the loop. Staff with busy schedules, or who live a long way away from the corporate office or working from home can use this feature to keep instantly up to date with clients and co-workers.
- Insight: Many cloud-based storage solutions offer integrated cloud analytics for a bird’s-eye view of your data. With your information stored in the cloud, you can easily implement tracking mechanisms and build customized reports to analyze information organization-wide. From those insights, you can increase efficiencies and build action plans to meet organizational goals.
- Quality Control: In a cloud-based system, all documents are stored in one place and in a single format. With everyone accessing the same information, you can maintain consistency in data, avoid human error, and have a clear record of any revisions or updates. Conversely, managing information in silos can lead to employees accidentally saving different versions of documents, which leads to confusion and diluted data.
- Sustainability: Cloud infrastructures support environmental proactivity, powering virtual services rather than physical products and hardware, cutting down on paper waste, improving energy efficiency, and reducing commuter-related emissions.
- Loss Prevention: If you aren’t on the cloud, you’re at risk of losing all the information you had saved locally. With a cloud-based server, however, all the information you’ve uploaded to the cloud remains safe and easily accessible from any computer with an internet connection, even if the computer you regularly use isn’t working.
- Downtime: Downtime can lead to lost customers, data failure, and lost revenue. So when it comes to the advantages and disadvantages of cloud computing, downtime is at the top of the list for most businesses.
Because cloud computing systems are all internet-based, there is no way to avoid downtime. Moreover, if you are in a place with no connectivity, you will not be able to access the data, software, or applications on the cloud.
Best Practices to Reduce Downtime
- Consider multi-region deployments to ensure business continuity
- Define a disaster recovery plan with the lowest recovery time and recovery point objectives
- Design all your services with disaster recovery in mind
When you weigh out the advantages and disadvantages of cloud computing, it is important to examine the source of these cloud services as well. Compare different service providers and
their range of services before picking one right off the bat.
Even if the drawbacks of cloud computing are incidental and almost negligible, the advancements in technology will surely eliminate these in the years to come.
Regardless of where you are on your journey, OZ will help you bring to bear the power of the cloud to transform your organization, save money, increase scalability, gain competitive advantage, and improve business efficiency and operations. Find out more about our cloud services and assessment offerings here.
Contact an Expert
Emmanuel Ramos, Chief Solutions Officer at OZ