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Post image for 15 Top Cloud Computing Use Cases

Cloud computing is established. And it has been proven by small and large businesses alike. Over the past 5 or so years, I have seen all types of companies adopting cloud computing as both primary and secondary sets of on-demand compute. Some cloud computing use cases are pretty traditional (e.g., a simple web presence) while others become extremely complex and complete edge-cases (think Netflix).

Cloud Computing Use Cases

Cloud Computing Use Cases

Where do all of these companies fit in with their use of the cloud? I won’t talk to the edge-cases simply because they are often too complex or too niche-oriented (might be an interesting article though…the most unique cloud computing use cases). However, I do believe that going through some of the most commonly found scenarios can spark interest and ideas, especially for those businesses who haven’t moved to the cloud yet (what are you waiting for, by the way?).

From first-hand experience working at a cloud infrastructure provider as well as from regular scouring of industry news, I have compiled a list of the 15 Top Cloud Computing Use Cases. But before I go into these, I want to sidetrack just a bit. I have long talked about the 3 layers of cloud computing: Infrastructure, Platforms and Applications. I would be completely missing an opportunity if I didn’t talk about Cloud Platforms (PaaS) and Cloud Applications (SaaS). These are two important use cases to think about broadly, especially that of SaaS – Software as a Service. While Platforms as a Service could potentially utilize Infrastructure as a Service as their foundation, I have found that many PaaS environments tend to be built directly from bare metal infrastructure as opposed to using Cloud Infrastructure. SaaS, however can much more easily be built and powered by Cloud Infrastructure. So there’s your first use case – SaaS – using clouds to power clouds.

Assuming you are not a SaaS developer or provider, what can cloud computing do for your business? And where, if you are starting a business, are in the planning stages or looking to get a project off the ground within your organization, are you going to host your success? I have an answer. Think cloud.

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Post image for A Cloud For All Seasons – Picking the Right Cloud

Cloud computing can be very confusing. It can be abstractly discussed but also detailed to intricate levels. A few years ago, part of the reason why people weren’t adopting cloud computing was because they simply didn’t understand it and what it could do for them. And, a few years ago, the technology and services were relatively new and not as built-out and established as they are now.


In my previous posts of this series, I talked about what I thought would come in 2012 for cloud computing, I debunked a few common misstatements about the cloud and, I listed out some ways to make cloud computing work better for people. With this article, I’m going to break down some of the different types of clouds and explain how they might be used.

Because the cloud is relatively new to many businesses and individuals, I typically describe and explain it more as a generalist than a technologist. If you get into the weeds too quickly, you can frequently lose your audience. That is not my goal in this article. If you want to get into the geek speak about which hypervisor you should look for (hint: it doesn’t really matter), what type of I/O performance should you be achieving or how to configure a Cassandra DB cluster that spans multiple data centers with real-time replication, you aren’t going to find that here. I like to keep things moderately simple so that more people can understand and hopefully gain insights into why cloud computing might be the right choice for them.

This list is not complete, but should provide you with some of the most prevalent clouds out there. You, of course, have the daunting task of trying to decide which one works best for your business or personal needs. [click to continue…]


Post image for 5 Ways To Make the Cloud Work for You

So you have heard about cloud computing but are not really sure what you can do with it. Or maybe, your only exposure to the cloud is what you have seen in ads or heard in the media. Let me tell you, what you see on TV is only a fraction of the cloud’s true power. I’m obviously a bit biased, as I work for a cloud infrastructure provider. But that also gives me the ability to really focus in on use cases that seem to be popular this day and age.

As I wrote in my previous article, there are some things that the cloud definitely is not. And, I would like to add that it is definitely not some sort of magical concoction that deploys and repairs itself. Cloud computing, just like traditional hosting, can have issues or outages if not approached and worked with properly. Think of it this way, if you were a football coach, you wouldn’t use your playbook at a baseball game, right? Obviously not. When working with the cloud, you need to design and build specifically for the cloud in order to take advantages of its capabilities and strengths.

With this article, I want to provide some ideas on ways to make cloud computing work for you. That is to say, some best practice suggestions and implementation ideas that can get you down the road toward success. The most important thing to remember when embarking on a cloud adventure is to know that no two cloud are the same. So if someone is trying to sell one a “one size fits all” type of solution, you might want to consider a different vendors.

1) Choose the Right Cloud Layer – In my previous article, I briefly outlined the distinct layers of cloud computing: Application, Platform and Infrastructure. When you are thinking about adopting a cloud strategy, you need to be sure that you select the right layer for your architecture as they can be dramatically different. Even within the same layers there are nuances that can change the direction of your IT rollout. Without completely rehashing the previous article, you need to decide what your business needs. Is it merely that you want to have a shared network drive for backups, document storage, remote access and disaster recovery – a cloud storage, if you will? You are most likely looking at a cloud application like Dropbox or On the other extreme is the infrastructure side where you can essentially build that cloud storage example above yourself as a business model or for your enterprise, using a variety of infrastructure components like load balancers, servers, firewalls, storage and other appliances. The infrastructure side provide flexibility and a higher degree of control while on the application side, you get a “pre-packaged” solution that, most likely, will not be tailored exactly to your needs. And right in between these two is the platform layer, where you get more flexibility than the application side, but less than the infrastructure side and you only have access to a framework like .NET or Ruby, for example. But, the underlying infrastructure (e.g., patching, distribution of compute, etc.) is managed for you. So figure out what you really need and how you will use it.

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I would think that by now, many of you would have heard the term “Cloud” used when talking about Internet “stuff.” In passing, a common phrase thrown around is “it’s saved to the Cloud” or “it’s in the Cloud.” So, that’s fine, but many people don’t know what that really means. Hopefully, I can help explain it but honestly, instead of this process becoming easier as the concept evolves, I am finding it becoming even more…er…cloudy.

My day job actually is about helping people understand what Cloud Computing really is. I’m the Technology Evangelist for a Cloud Computing Infrastructure Hosting Provider called GoGrid. Whew, try saying that in one breath! So that means I’m consistently looking for ways to explain not only the term, but also what we as a company do.

Where the Cloud Started for Me – Slightly Cloudy

When I started at GoGrid about 2.5 years ago, Cloud Computing was a relatively new concept. Some say that it was born from Utility Computing and Grid Computing and others believe that it is simply an extension of the idea of Virtualization. It is, among other things, a marriage of these concepts with some new ones thrown in. And it is evolving at breakneck speed.

Two years ago, I came up with the idea of the Cloud Pyramid in order to graphically explain in an extremely over-simplified manner, how Cloud Computing is broken down into 3 distinct layers:

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