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Cloud Computing: What's Your Flavor?

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve heard of “the cloud.” What you may not be aware of is just how versatile it is. There’s some confusion about this subject, mostly because “the cloud” has been used for pretty sophomoric consumer uses like storing endless lolCat photos and watching home videos, Hollywood movies, and backup up hard drives or syncing documents. But, the cloud can be used for so much more. 

Development And Testing 

Let’s say you’ve got a cool new something or other that you want to develop. You need a platform to test it out on. One of the bests ways to test new software is to make it server-based. That way, any updates can be centralized and any software you give out to users for alpha or beta testing can be accurately updated and progress tracked. 

For enterprise-level solutions, businesses can get infrastructure into the hands of dev teams much faster than with disconnected or local systems. Companies, like PhotonVPS for example, provide VPS environments that block off space specifically for your business. It’s your own cloud that you can play in. 

For developers, a cloud-based environment means reduced cycle times, compressed release cycles, and ultimately improved product quality. 

Disaster Recovery 

Data is often the linchpin of a communications-driven business. In fact, any company that operates online guards its data like a hawk - without it, the business is nothing. Cloud computing gives you a cost-effective disaster recover option that reduces your mean time to recovery from a catastrophic failure. Since cloud systems are typically redundant, stored off-site, and come with data protection and uptime guarantees, you’re rarely (if ever) without your mission-critical information. 

Many times, you’ll never know that there was an outage unless your hosting provider sends detailed information to you directly instead of your IT staff. 

Batch And Big Data 

It doesn’t really matter whether the problem is wading through log files or tracking click streams or managing a social media blitz. You could be analyzing transactions for fraud, or trying manage protein sequencing. You’re using big data, and that data needs to be protected and, for that, you need batching. 

Cloud computing is a natural fit for analytics, because of its inherent elasticity and on-demand provisioning. 

If your company is a research firm, this is probably one of the biggest benefits you’ll see from cloud-based systems. You’ll have the ability to reduce capital expenses while simultaneously increasing the scale of computing or bandwidth-intensive applications. 

Marketing Campaigns 

The right marketing campaign can solve almost every business problem out there. Let’s say you’re a small business just starting out. You have a limited budget but large aspirations. You need an infrastructure that allows you to grow, going forward. 

Balancing your current infrastructure needs with potential future needs isn’t always easy. But when your cloud system scales up and down as needed, a lot of the guess work is taken out of the equation. With an in-house computer system, you’re making predictions about your future business needs that may not be correct - over or under-buying storage capacity and wasting time and money. 

With cloud computing, you’re only paying for what you use, you’re always getting new equipment when the old stuff breaks down (without upfront costs and installation hassles too), and you’re saving money by having a consistent, stable, budget for your marketing campaign. 

Need more storage for your customer list, video hosting, or virtual product catalogs? No problem. Want to use a CDN to make sure everyone on your customer list gets the information quickly and without having to worry about loading times? The cloud solves this problem. 

CDN systems deliver content to “edge nodes” that exist near your customers. If you’re based on one side of the country, for example, edge nodes may be placed all over the country, storing your data. When customers try to access it, they don’t have to wait for your server to respond. They just access the data from caches on nodes that are located in close proximity to their home. Cool huh? It’s the next-gen cloud, today. 

Engage With Customers Via Social Media 

Will your latest video be a YouTube smash hit or will it be quickly forgotten? It’s hard to predict, but if you do see success, it often comes on quickly - especially if you’ve done a proper media blitz. 

As traffic ramps up, it inevitably makes it to your site. You need to be prepared. Cloud computing is that preparation. You can scale up or down, depending on your needs at the time. Mobile app development, using the cloud, will also allow you to reach out to people on Facebook, Twitter, and other social sites in an entirely new way.