Cloud Computing Solves The Problem
The world is changing. Massive urbanization, inadequate transportation systems and increasingly limited energy resources are all affecting how we live today and in the future. The PC completely changed the way people work, and today, we are witnessing a new revolution with the convergence of the cloud and the billions of mobile devices in use today. Physical location no longer matters, so the best talent can be sourced wherever they are to create unique, global teams based on expertise.
The good news is the cloud is giving us all access to massive amounts of data and computing power, enabling us to solve problems in a whole new way. This is why in this article I would like to show you some great examples on how the cloud can help to solve major problems businesses face every day.
Design innovations like never before
The cloud is enabling designers to do what they couldn’t do before. Specialists now have the ability to accurately identify the consequences of design decisions and their impact on the world around us. Computing, data and collaboration and communication between people are all integrated in the cloud, powerful new tools are in designers hands, giving them the opportunity to address the world’s most incredible design challenges.
A great example for this is Escape Dynamics which uses the benefits of the cloud to refine the design and build of novel aerospace systems and components, dramatically reducing development timelines, as well as cutting costs on physical prototyping. One component they are working on is an airframe for a reusable orbital launch vehicle. The optimization process requires thousands of simulations that test various flight conditions and various geometries of the airframe. Before cloud technologies, this optimization process would require the company to buy and operate a dedicated high-performance cluster of computers. With access to increased processing power and the ability to run simulations in the cloud, Escape Dynamics is well on its way to developing an extremely efficient airframe that will allow the company to build and fly a very efficient space launch vehicle in the near future.
Getting more power during a certain period of the year
For 95 percent of the year, Bunches, a 24-year-old UK family business that shifted its business online, has relatively low IT requirements. A small data center with a few servers can normally handle their website, e-commerce activities, and other applications. However, on Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day their data center requirements change drastically. During that time, the florist’s business increases 3,000 to 4,000 percent.
Through cloudbursting (the ability for a cloud environment to expand and contract based on business) the florist’s customers received continuous service, always able to access the website, and order online. Without cloudbursting, the florist’s infrastructure would have been overwhelmed and they would have lost a significant amount of business.
Actually, this reminds me of a similar cloud deployment I architected in the Education Industry. Most of the time we serviced over 24 Million users, but during the summer, students, parents and teachers never used the system so only a limited amount of virtual servers were needed to provide service. In the fall and June, millions of users were accessing the systems daily which drove the resources needed at times to over 90x of the off season capacity.
Restaurants on the watch for thefts
I recently read about an interesting product called Aloha Restaurant Guard created for restaurants and bars with multiple locations. These locations are sending their POS (point of sales) information to the cloud where it is not only stored, but also analyzed by an application that uses artificial intelligence to search for unusual patterns that could indicate theft.
The product is currently installed in 65,000 restaurants nationwide, and because Restaurant Guard is cloud-based, it stores enormous amounts of historical data, analyzing it using algorithms created to spot scams. For instance, if a server has 10 or 15 voids in one day, that might indicate a scam. Or if a particular bartender is frequently getting 70 percent tips, that might indicate that he or she is pouring free drinks and being rewarded for it. Each server has a unique login, so a pattern of unusual transactions easily fingers a thief. Additionally, if a certain type of scam is caught running in Chicago, an algorithm will begin to search for it, and can spot it as soon as it appears in Los Angeles, Miami, or Detroit.
Finally, what we have to keep in mind is that although the cost of labor and materials is going up in many industries, the ability to have infinite computing power at a reduced cost is fundamentally changing the opportunities for businesses of all sizes. The agility, efficiency, collaboration and data insights enabled by the cloud are driving this innovation faster than ever before.