From SaaS to NLP, we go beyond acronyms and look at how cloud computing can be used in real life.
Cloud computing has become a common phrase among tech-savvy businesses. Working in the cloud means data and services can get where they’re needed on demand from one of many shared data centers. Cloud storage has also become a mainstream service on the business side. After all, backing up to the cloud helps ensure that the only copy of your data is not lost.
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The use cases for cloud computing can be as varied as the businesses and individuals who use it. It can provide real-time information to business leaders or streaming and gaming services to consumers. Take a look at some of the best use cases for cloud computing, chosen for being particularly practical or particularly clever.
What are the advantages of cloud computing?
There’s an old business adage that if you want something “fast, cheap, and good,” you can only get two out of three. The benefits of cloud computing attempt to challenge this adage. Speed is one of its most valued features, with the commitment of cloud computing resources from different physical locations improving performance and availability no matter where or where your data is going. This speed also applies to application deployment, where updates can be sent “over-the-air” without having to replace hardware or send someone to physically set up a server.
This lack of material also reduces costs. The cloud always has an upfront cost. However, it can save you money in the long run by reducing the costs of maintaining your own hardware and a place in a data center cage. Real-time business insights from cloud-powered platforms can also help your organization save money across the board.
While there are myriad benefits of cloud computing, these show how it can bring about a change for the better in business.
Top 5 Use Cases for Cloud Computing
Software as a service
The cloud has enabled several as-a-service models that shape how content is delivered. Infrastructure as a service or platform as a service takes maintenance out of the hands of the buyer, allowing them to essentially rent services delivered over the Internet.
Software as a Service is separate from these types, but with significant overlap. Cloud computing allows a subscription model like this to travel with the person(s) who need access. Familiar apps such as Salesforce, Dropbox or Slack allow organizations to use these services without increasing the workload of their IT teams.
Test and build apps
Working in flexible cloud infrastructures can save time and money when it comes to testing and building applications. First, infrastructure can be scaled up and down relatively easily. Second, it allows developers to iterate quickly, learn what works best faster, and accelerate overall project progress.
By using cloud computing for testing and development, organizations can skip or dramatically speed up securing physical assets and installing and configuring a development platform. Cloud infrastructure has made a big difference to today’s DevOps process, CI/CD pipelines, microservices, containerization, and developing and running serverless applications.
Big data intelligence
The amount of data created every day, even by a single endpoint, far exceeds practical human analysis. Today’s pervasive big data needs its own automated analysis, and the cloud can help sort it for actionable insights. The cloud can house information about consumer buying habits or facilitate an organization’s expansion into new markets. Technically, big data refers to over a million gigabytes.
Big data can be used by transport companies to track their fleets, analyze traffic patterns and define routes.
Smart energy saving methods
Like everything in computing, running the data centers needed for the cloud still requires a lot of electricity to run and cool the hardware. However, intelligent cloud analytics can optimize power consumption for the organizations it serves. This can vary greatly in scope. Services like AWS Power & Utilities provide responsive, dynamic cloud computing resources to help utilities and power companies meet environmental regulations. Others work more on the scale of a small device, such as reducing the total run time of a coffee maker.
natural language processing
Natural language processing can achieve new functionality with the speed of the cloud behind it. Technically, NLP has been around for decades, ever since experiments at Stanford University in the 1970s produced a computer that could parse grammatically correct, original, and factual sentences.
Deloitte used its modern cloud services to deliver NLP to a wealth management client. The wealth management organization needed to reduce discrepancies between contracts and client invoices. The system they chose could read contracts written in different ways, reducing the loss of money due to mismatches. With a human in the loop, the system avoided errors that a human employee or less-intelligent application would likely miss.