Embracing the world of cloud computing

What is cloud computing and why cloud is the future of business

‘Moving to the cloud’ is a hot topic on most business’ agendas, accelerated by the changing way we work and how we interact with customers.

But what does this really mean? Since every business is unique in their requirements for cloud solutions and services, it can be tricky to define what elements of cloud computing will deliver true value for your company.

To help you on your cloud journey, we checked in with our cloud experts to discuss the world of cloud computing.

What is cloud computing?

Cloud computing services mean delivering on-demand computing resources (including servers, databases, storage, platforms, infrastructure, applications, etc.) over the internet, direct to the end user. It’s a cost-effective, secure and scalable way to resource your business’s physical IT requirements. And provide back-up and recovery of your data and software in minutes.

The cloud in action

Traditional IT infrastructures use software stacks for for databases, applications, security, integration, virtualization, and more. All under your internal management, with operations and maintenance budgets.

Moving to the cloud, you only pay for what you use. With your servers, storage, networking, storage delivered over the internet (or cloud). This in turn reduces overall operating costs and allows you to scale up and down in line with your business needs. The cloud also introduces different models of ‘as a Service’ – a subscription-based technology service – giving you access to the latest tech without the upfront investment costs or on-going maintenance.

Transitioning some or all of your IT to cloud-based infrastructure opens up benefits like:

What’s the difference between private, public and hybrid cloud?

A public cloud is akin to a bullet train. The shared service is fast and reliable and managed and owned by a service provider. Need another seat (or more room)? You just buy another ticket.

A cloud service provider – such as Alibaba Cloud – manages, owns and operates all cloud computing resources, including servers and storage, all over the internet. You access the services you need, scaling up and down as you need more resources or services.

If public cloud is your bullet train, private cloud is the company town car. You are in control of all the details, but it does come at a higher cost and you own servicing and everything in between.

Private cloud provides a dedicated cloud computing environment to a single organisation, provided over the internet or private internal network. Whether on-premises or its hosted by a service provider in the cloud, you bear operation and maintenance costs of the infrastructure. While it has its benefits, it does result in additional staffing, management and maintenance (as well as the costs to go with it).

Hybrid cloud is a mix of the public and private cloud, allowing you to create a custom environment that aligns with your needs. The two environments are connected, allowing you to share data and applications between them. Allowing you to choose where your data, applications or storage is hosted, depending on your requirements.

What is cloud computing as a Service

Cloud offered ‘as a service’ allows you to use cloud services and pay on a subscription basis. There are three main as a service models:

  • Infrastructure as a service (IaaS)
  • Platform as a service (PaaS)
  • Software as a service (SaaS)

While in a traditional, on premise service you would manage all aspects, as a service models allow you to outsource aspects of the service to a managed service provider such as FUJIFILM CodeBlue.

Provides virtual servers, storage and networking – all the hardware components, with cyber-security measures for these, but none of the software.

Adds operating systems, middleware and runtime, providing the infrastructure for developing in-house software applications. Data is also retained in-house, but developers don’t need to set up or manage development infrastructure.

Incorporates all elements, adding in apps and data hosted on the cloud. Users connect to apps seamlessly over the internet, while the cloud provider hosts the complete underlying infrastructure.

Services Infrastructure as a service (IaaS) Platform as a service (PaaS) Software as a service (SaaS)
Operating System
Program runtime

Managed by you

Managed by your managed service provider

The rise of XaaS (Everything as a Service)

Subscription, or pay-as-you-go services are increasingly popular because they can reduce internal complexity and overheads. As such, XaaS is fast becoming the next evolution in the digital world – and beyond.

XaaS can mean everything-as-a-service and anything-as-a-service. It’s a business model that combines all the levels of digital ‘as-a-service’ models and tools with real products. The end result? You enjoy higher levels of use and satisfaction with the product or application.

It’s true that all ‘as-a-services’ depend on bandwidth, internet latency and reliability. Nevertheless, the popularity of XaaS is still rising exponentially. Deloitte’s study this year forecasts the market will surpass US$340 billion by 2024.

How to know what cloud services are right for you?

We’ve collated questions from our experts for you to discuss with your team. They’re a starting point to guide your thinking about the options when it comes to cloud services. There’s no one-size-fits-all approach – and remember that cloud migration is a staged transition.

  • How do your business and staff use your current systems and applications?
  • What dependencies exist between your network, data and applications?
  • when will current hardware reach end-of-life and software licences expire?
  • are budgets able to support current and future IT needs, including security and recovery?
  • does your staff have the right IT tools and equipment for maximum productivity?
  • what in-house skills and availability do you have to maintain, improve and grow your business?
  • How do you manage IT training, compliance, procurement, licencing and project management?
  • what real estate do you need for staff and infrastructure?
  • do you meet – and exceed – customer expectations?
  • will your business compete nationally or maybe globally in the future?
  • are infrastructure issues limiting or encouraging growth?

Your answers will clarify your understanding of how cloud computing could be a strategic asset, and what levels of ‘as-a-service’ may be appropriate.

Whatever your cloud needs, our experts are ready and waiting to take you through the journey.

Read more tips, tricks and considerations about going to the cloud in our helpful e-book available now.

Start your cloud journey the right way.

Book one-on-one time with a cloud specialist and map out your way forward.

About Alibaba Cloud

Established in 2009, Alibaba Cloud, the digital technology and intelligence backbone of Alibaba Group, is among the world’s top three infrastructure as a service (IaaS) provider, according to Gartner. Alibaba Cloud provides a comprehensive suite of cloud computing services to businesses worldwide, including merchants doing business on Alibaba Group marketplaces, start-ups, corporations and public services.

Alibaba Cloud is a FUJIFILM Technology Partner, with FUJIFILM CodeBlue receiving the Innovation Partner of the Year award in 2020.

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