Moving to the Cloud, Part 2

April 2, 2015

Should your business move to the cloud? If you’re interested in this question — and want to understand its implications — read this article.

But if this isn’t your area of expertise, pass the article along to your IT person. Here at Paulsen, we can advise you on ways to solve your digital challenges or work alongside your IT department.

The second in a two-part series, this article evaluates the benefits of using cloud-based services to augment your business’ digital needs.

In Part 1 of Moving to the Cloud, we explored what a cloud-based system could look like as a hosting infrastructure. In Part 2, we’ll look at case studies to spark ideas you can leverage using cloud-based services.

Part 2, Branching Out

As discussed in Part 1, we’ve found that utilizing a cloud-based platform can set up your company for success in many areas.

It can help you deliver content to your business platforms in a fast, efficient way and support enterprise-level business programs. It can allow you to analyze large sets of records and support scalable and high demand, high traffic applications in a reliable, cost effective manner. Using a cloud-based service is becoming an integral part of business offerings and infrastructure.

In the Hands of Other Companies

One of the primary benefits of using cloud-based system architecture is adapting to a distributed environment. This provides options for solving business challenges such as rapid scaling to meet traffic surges or support for a global audience. It forces us to look at these opportunities in way that is more future-proof than ever before.

From Dole to PBS, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to Kellogg’s, companies and organizations of all sizes are turning to cloud-based systems for the future. At Paulsen, we are constantly adapting our clients’ systems to grow and respond to new challenges.

Netflix

Netflix is an interesting case in point. In 2011, Netflix made a series of missteps, as the company’s own blog posts and stock history indicate (see http://blog.netflix.com/2011/09/explanation-and-some-reflections.html, http://blog.netflix.com/2011/10/dvds-will-be-staying-at-netflixcom.html and the five-year history tab on https://www.google.com/search?q=netflix%20stock%20history&rct=j), and its business was impacted negatively.

But one of the lesser-known success stories was Netflix’s ability to adapt during this difficult time. Netflix began leveraging the benefits of the cloud as early as 2008. In these blog posts, they detail how some of their architecture in the cloud operates (see http://techblog.netflix.com/2010/12/5-lessons-weve-learned-using-aws.html and http://techblog.netflix.com/2011/07/netflix-simian-army.html).

What Netflix learned was to build its underlying infrastructure to scale on demand. When customer traffic is up, their infrastructure and cost on Amazon Web Services grows, and when it’s down, the infrastructure and cost go down as well. There is no public case study from Netflix, but we’ve learned at Paulsen in working with Amazon’s cloud services, that flexibility in infrastructure mitigates financial risk. This may have helped Netflix weather the financial storm while they turned around their business model.

Netflix’s use of cloud servers enabled them to not only achieve higher efficiency, reliability and availability, but also successfully support their international customers. You can listen to Netflix VP of Cloud and Platform Engineering Yury Izrailevsky give an overview of their architecture and how they utilize its power.

Other Business Use Cases

Even companies not known for their use of technology, such as McCormick, Dole, Kellogg’s, U.S. Food and Drug Administration, PBS and Discovery have recognized the need to shift away from a traditional technical infrastructure to cloud services.

This has led companies other than Amazon to also offer online solutions for cloud support. Microsoft’s Azure service, Google’s Cloud platform and Rackspace have all entered the arena of using Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS).

Johnson & Johnson

One interesting case study with Amazon is Johnson & Johnson, which uses the cloud to run over 100 applications that service their large data analysis initiatives, health care and eventually over 25,000 employee computer desktops.

Dan Zelem, CTO of Johnson & Johnson, makes a great statement in the video when he says the Johnson & Johnson business partners were asking for something, “better, faster, cheaper” — a belief we share at Paulsen. Our clients expect the best of us, and we work constantly to deliver on that promise.

The cloud has been a successful move for Paulsen and may be for your organization, as well. If you are interested in learning more about it, please email me at tim@paulsen.ag.

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