Cloud Computing Fundamentals and Strategies for Migration, Security, and Cost Optimization

We are living in the era of cloud computing. Organizations are dedicating as much as a third of their IT budgets to moving their infrastructure to the cloud. In this post, we review the cloud computing fundamentals, explain cloud migration strategies and cloud-native development, and discuss strategies for ensuring cloud computing security and optimizing cloud spend.
8 min read
04/19/21
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Cloud Computing Fundamentals and Strategies for Migration, Security, and Cost Optimization

What Is Cloud Computing?

Before centralized water and electricity, people had to procure their own generators and dig their own wells. As centralized infrastructure became available, it made sense to connect to the grid. cloud computing has become the grid for business.  

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) defines cloud computing as “a model for enabling ubiquitous, convenient, on-demand network access to a shared pool of configurable computing resources (e.g., networks, servers, storage, applications, and services) that can be rapidly provisioned and released with minimal management effort or service provider interaction.” Thus, cloud computing offers near real-time, subscription-based, flexible provisioning of continuously improving infrastructure and software tools.

By enabling unprecedented speed and agility and unlocking countless opportunities for business innovation, cloud computing has fundamentally changed how businesses procure and use technology resources to deliver value to their customers.

Features of Cloud Computing

  • Resource Pooling
    The provider’s computing resources are pooled to serve multiple cloud consumers. Different physical and virtual IT resources are dynamically assigned and reassigned according to cloud consumer demand. Examples of resources include storage, processing, memory, and network bandwidth.
  • Elasticity
    Capabilities can be provisioned and released elastically and in some cases automatically, to scale rapidly outward and inward in accordance with demand. To the consumer, the capabilities often appear to be unlimited.
  • Broad network access
    Capabilities are available over the network and can be accessed through mobile phones, tablets, laptops, and workstations.
  • Measured Service
    Cloud systems automatically control and optimize the use of a resource (e.g., storage, processing, bandwidth), by leveraging a metering capability. Resource usage can be monitored, controlled, and reported, providing transparency for both the provider and consumer of the service.
  • On-Demand Self Service
    A consumer can unilaterally and automatically provision computing capabilities, such as server time and network storage, when needed, without requiring human interaction with a service provider.

Types of Cloud Computing

Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)

The most basic level of managed cloud computing services is IaaS, which typically consists of access to computing resources such as processing power, data storage capacity, and networking. Most IaaS packages include servers, storage, networking, and virtualization components, while the users are in charge of installing and maintaining databases, OS, applications, and security components. Examples of IaaS include Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, and Google Compute Engine (GCE).

Platform as a Service (PaaS)

Put simply, PaaS is an enhanced version of IaaS. In addition to providing IT infrastructure, PaaS does the heavy lifting in terms of resource procurement, capacity planning, software maintenance, patching, etc., allowing developers to focus on the deployment and management of their applications. Examples of PaaS include AWS Lambda, SAP Cloud, Google App Engine, Red Hat OpenShift, and Salesforce Lightning.

Software as a Service (SaaS)

In the SaaS model of cloud computing, the service consists of a fully functional application run and managed by the service provider. With a SaaS offering, users do not have to worry about how the application is maintained or how the underlying infrastructure is managed. The application is accessed through a browser-based interface and can be tailored to diverse business needs such as analytics, CRM, or marketing automation. Examples of SaaS include Google Workspace, Dropbox, Salesforce, Cisco WebEx, GoToMeeting, and Pardot Marketing Automation.

Benefits of Cloud Computing

Some of the most frequently cited benefits of cloud computing are:

  • Scalability. The almost infinite compute, storage, and network resources offered by cloud providers are scalable up and down automatically and intelligently in a matter of seconds.
  • Efficiency. Applications designed for the cloud take significantly less time to build and deploy and are cheaper to run.
  • Resilience. Continuous availability and disaster recovery are a function of design and the cloud’s infinite horizontal scalability.
  • Cost efficiency. The total cost of ownership (acquisition and operating costs) of an IT infrastructure is greatly reduced because companies can pay for what they use instead of investing in what they think they will need. The cloud also enables far better management of loads, capacity, and expenditure than is possible with an on-site datacenter.
  • Staff productivity. Cloud infrastructure eliminates the need for IT staff to spend time on tasks relating to hardware availability, reliability, and maintenance.
  • Business agility. By enabling fast, self-service acquisition of infrastructure and software on a low-risk, pay-as-you-go basis, the cloud empowers businesses to experiment, innovate, and accelerate technology delivery. Cloud-native development principles can cut the time from idea generation to having an application in production to just weeks or even days, which is inconceivable with traditional IT.

Cloud Computing Services

The above-listed benefits make the cloud a core technology for achieving business agility, resilience, and a sustainable competitive advantage. With hundreds of certified cloud experts and partnerships with all of the major cloud providers, including Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud Platform, DataArt has extensive experience guiding clients through their cloud adoption journey. Our core expertise is in building cloud-native applications, cloud-enabling existing applications, and designing and executing cloud migration strategies.

Over 90% of today’s companies have adopted cloud computing in some form. Here is how to get there:

Cloud Migration

While there is no one-size-fits-all approach and hybrid approaches are common, here are the most common application migration strategies.

Re-Hosting

The simplest way to move an application to the cloud is to re-host it without altering the code. Also known as “lift-and-shift” migration, this approach is well suited for quick shifts to the cloud, but it does not unlock the deeper capabilities, cost efficiencies, and value of the cloud. This is not to say, however, that such benefits must remain unrealized, as re-hosting can be the first step in the cloud transformation journey.

Re-Engineering

Re-engineering involves making extensive changes to an application’s architecture and code so as to enable deeper integration with cloud-native capabilities and services.

Cloud-Native Development

Cloud-native development is an approach to building and running applications based on techniques and technologies for cloud computing. Cloud-native solutions are usually built as microservices, either packaged in containers or using serverless architectures, and managed through agile DevOps processes and continuous delivery workflows.

Below, in this episode of Nasdaq TradeTalks, DataArt’s SVP Peter Vaihansky discusses cloud-native development and explains the guiding principles for building and running applications to take full advantage of the cloud computing model. Peter also explains the “three R’s” that help ensure security in the cloud-native world.

Optimizing Cloud Spend

While cloud computing can be very cost-efficient, the efficiencies do not accrue automatically. Many organizations find that as much as 40% of their cloud spend is wasted on unused and over-provisioned infrastructure due to the ease of resource provisioning and insufficient attention to their management. Here are some best practices for optimizing cloud costs and reducing waste as well as a video on the cloud economics and nuances of cloud pricing that can significantly reduce your cloud costs.



Cloud Computing Security

Cloud security is a vast subject encompassing software, technologies, and policies to protect data, infrastructure, and applications involved in cloud computing.

With more and more organizations migrating critical data and applications to the cloud, concern regarding cloud security is growing. A recent Ermetic survey found that 79% of companies had experienced at least one cloud data breach in the past 18 months, while 43% reported ten or more breaches. While cloud providers boast strong security controls, most of them operate on a Shared Security Responsibility model, meaning that companies are responsible for securing their own workloads in the cloud.

In this webinar, DataArt experts share key differences in security requirements for on-premise and cloud infrastructures, discuss vulnerability management, review popular benchmarks, and provide an overview of free cloud auditing tools. We advise focusing less on data loss or hardware failure and more on prevalent causes of security breaches such as human error, software bugs, viruses, malware, and employee sabotage. We also cover Seven Ways to Secure Your Cloud Data, including local back-ups, data encryption, and security audits, and offer four tips for improving Cloud security based on DataArt’s audits of more than 20 cloud setups over the last two years.

DataArt provides a full spectrum of Cloud security services.

Contact our team of experts if you are planning a cloud migration.

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