If you had to rank the benefits that come from cloud, what would be your top 3?
1. You can have a test or staging system as big as production but only pay
for it when you need it.
2. You can scale out production systems when you have occasional spikes and
only pay for the week that you need.
3. Development can experiment with hardware configurations without having
to wait for the delivery of equipment - this can same months of delays.
My top 3
-- Reduced CapEx....you get state of the art computational power and you pay only for what you use
-- Reduced OpEx....with PaaS (not with IaaS) you reduce your OpEx costs by not having to manage your server stack
-- Improved Performance (you don't run out of date hardware because of refresh cycle issues)
2) Security - Assuming you are running on one of the "Big Four" public clouds: AWS, Azure, Google, App Engine, or Force.com - their security staff is 99% likely to be better and more on top of things than any staff you can afford to hire. Can you afford to hire a "Red Team" to intentionally attack your own infrastructure? Not only CAN these guys afford it... I know for a fact that at least three of them have such teams.
3) Agility - To some extent this is a variant of the cost issue, because you obviously can have equal agility if you overbuy your datacenter by 100% and then install some "private cloud fabric" virtualization - but that's expensive. So you get the agility of effectively having done that without the major infrastructure investments
1. Enable new business models: easier, quicker to start new business innovative initiatives
2. Less involvement IT: rapid deployment, shorter IT project cycles, better support for Business
3. More flexibility and scalability of IT infra/ systems
1) Flexibility and Agility: Not to maintain Physical assets, less hassle with upgrades (faster scaling of resources, possibly able to increase resources without reinstalling, etc).
2) Financials: Lower TCO (above mentioned Capex vs. Opex, less worries with upgrade cycles, and licencing compliance - Operating System and other lciences that can be transfered to the provider along with the service).
3) Availability: The possibility to both manage and use the service from virtually anywhere.
As a side, and only half related note, I think the security issue is a bit of a two sided sword here, with at least two aspects to be noted:
1) On one side, backups, continuity and other infrastructure related issues can be passed on to the provider. (which is good but...)
2) On other side, it does depend on how much you trust your provider to control that part, and the reliability with which it can deliver that service portfolio (which some providers fight with when they grow too fast, or when they stall in time, with their own infrastructure).
Here are my top 3.
1. Get off the upgrade/patch flywheel - not spending as much time on provisioning hardware, patching, upgrading, regression testing hardware and software updates from vendors...can easily reduce your IT teams time by 30% or more per year, which is freed up to deliver business value
2. Speed/agility - these platforms allow rapid app dev, and really support agile development methodologies, allowing for more feature enhancement releases per year...we went from 2 per year to 6-8 per year for most apps
3. Integration - these platforms now support integration with other cloud and on premise solutions better than the old on premise solutions themselves did, and many of them come with marketplaces of vendor plug in solutions that can quickly be integrated extremely rapidly to add features or collaborate with external partners or even customers directly
1. Scalability/cost by user only as required
2. Reduces Total Cost of Ownership (TCO)/OPEX vs CAPEX
3. Configurability/unexpected or unplanned need as a service
1. Heavily reduced need of IT staff and infrastructure
...and many, many more;-)!
Cloud benefits are given, let me focus more from PUBLIC cloud platform perspective... here are my top 3 -
1. Low/No barrier to entry - Enterprise can start off with an idea/concept/POC/Validations at any time
2. Enhanced GTM - can plan the product/solution delivery in a considerable short time compared to traditional or private cloud ways
3. Flexibility - choice of multiple providers, technologies, software choices from cloud marketplace, etc
I would say the top 3 are:
1. Don't have to maintain, own, physical assets, like a building, the racks, the A/C, the backup generators, etc. Not even the servers themselves. Don't have to jump in a car or send someone to a place to install a new server or check on it. A whole class of job descriptions is obviated.
2. Agility. What's the order cycle/procurement/lead time like to install a new major system in your enterprise? Probably weeks at the lowest. With a public cloud provider, it's minutes or days, depending on your processes.
3. Capex vs opex. Almost everything on the cloud is opex. This can lead to some interesting accounting/financial outcomes.
And I haven't even talked about auto scaling!