I have recently moved back to London, and need to commute to the office every day.
Having a car is exciting — I will have more control, I will be able to leave home as I please, and use it as much as I want so long as I remember to fill it with fuel.
But is it the best solution?
Owning a car has many drawbacks. I will have to pay for parking, pay for fuel, pay for maintenance, pay for repairs when something goes wrong, buy insurance in case I crash or someone breaks into my car, and find parking in central London (that’s always a pain). All this adds up to be pretty expensive.
My other option is to use the London underground. I can show up at the station with a book in my hand, use my oyster card which has a monthly pass (sometimes I buy a one off ticket), get on the train, not stress about sitting in traffic, get off the train, put my headphones in and walk to the office. It’s London, so I will probably have to scramble to find that umbrella in my bag.
What’s more, I don’t need to pay for fuel, worry about maintenance, or pay for insurance and never worry about parking.
Cloud computing is like using the London underground, and on premise servers like owning a car. Using the cloud, you can pay for the service either on a subscription basis, or just when you need to use it. You don’t need to worry about maintenance, because that is addressed by someone else. Or worry about upgrades or repairs — that is all taken care of and you receive quality service. With regards to crashes or someone breaking in, there is a dedicated team working towards cyber security too, keeping the baddies away.
In software we are actively pursuing opportunities within software-as-a-service and the cloud. You will be able to log on to one of the SaaS applications and use it as and when you need. Does it make sense to buy a “car” if you only drive it for 2 hours a day? It DOES NOT! With SaaS, the pricing model will likely change to a subscription/consumption/transaction-based pricing model.
That is why more and more organisations are now realising the value of using cloud computing. As an example of companies that are pushing the technology to the next generation of IT, here is an article from McKinsey which interviewed Shell on their journey to cloud deployment.
You can use the service from anywhere as long as you have internet access. Whereas if you had a “car” you are restricted i.e. your work might be limited to the office space and you might not be easily able to pick up where you left off from another location or collaborate with colleagues across the world. Using the cloud solves these issues.
Better for the environment too. When your cloud needs fluctuate, the server capacity scales up and down accordingly. So, you only use the energy you need and don’t leave an oversized carbon footprint.