A growing number of organizations are looking to the cloud and cloud services to help evolve and accelerate their digital transformation plans. But why is this? What benefits do cloud services offer over self-hosted and self-managed infrastructure?
Let’s take a closer look at the benefits cloud services can provide to IT departments, application development teams, and organizations as a whole.
What are cloud services?
Cloud services are IT infrastructure and development platforms that are hosted and managed by a third party, and made available across the internet. They help organizations avoid the need to build their own infrastructure and the resources needed to manage and maintain it.
The management, updating and maintenance of cloud services is taken care of by external teams, reducing costs, improving service quality, and freeing internal teams to focus on higher value strategic projects.
9 benefits of cloud services
Here’s a quick rundown of what you can expect when adopting cloud services as a key part of your IT strategy.
1. Faster time to market
As digital transformation is rapidly altering the competitive landscape across organizations and industries, customers expect more, better, and faster applications and services. Organizations have to be agile and respond to new requirements and opportunities as quickly as possible. Time to market is increasingly of the essence.
Cloud services can help boost developer velocity and allow you to deliver new innovative applications and services faster. Through instantly available self-serve setup options, developers are able to dive into new projects immediately, as well as build, debug and deploy the resulting applications more quickly and more frequently.
2. Reduces operational complexity
Working with a trusted cloud service provider can help reduce operational complexity by avoiding the need to build, manage and maintain your own IT infrastructure. Additionally, instead of dedicating in-house resources to installing, configuring, updating, maintaining and managing that infrastructure, your IT teams are able to focus on more innovative and higher-value projects.
3. Fills skills gaps
With an increasing number of digital transformation leaders moving to a cloud strategy, engineering and IT teams often find themselves facing a skills gap that can be costly and time consuming to fill, and can draw resources away from more strategic projects.
Cloud services quickly fill skills gaps for teams that don’t have the time, knowledge, or experience to manage those functions on their own. And even if those skills aren’t lacking, internal teams may be better off focusing on innovation and speed instead of spending time on the rote, day-to-day tasks of building and maintaining their own platform or infrastructure.
4. Ability to focus on core competencies
Managed cloud services allow your teams to take advantage of fully hosted, integrated tools to adopt modern development methods that streamline the process of creating, testing, deploying and iterating on new application projects.
This not only increases developer velocity and effectiveness, it has also been shown to improve employee satisfaction, helping organizations retain skilled developer and IT talent.
5. On-demand scalability
Your organization’s technology needs are constantly evolving as new applications and services are created, user demand increases, and new tools, technologies and processes emerge.
Managed cloud services are able to scale up as needed, increasing available compute resources, storage and bandwidth to meet consumer demand, day or night. Similarly, those resources can be scaled back when they aren’t needed to reduce costs.
Additionally, with cloud services, your organization doesn’t have to build or maintain its own development infrastructure, technologies and tools at all, eliminating the need for (and delays caused by) complicated and inefficient infrastructure upgrades when increased capacity is required.
6. Improved reliability and performance
Since cloud service providers are responsible for service availability and service level agreements (SLAs), you can worry less about potential outages or other disruptions. Regardless of how or when issues may occur, the service provider has experts on duty to deal with any problems that arise.
Working with a managed service providers also provides the opportunity to simplify disaster recovery efforts. Since most providers have multiple regions, it's possible to architect systems and applications to have a disaster recovery plan that fails over to a different region, or even another cloud provider. Site Reliability Engineering (SRE) and security teams are able to respond quickly, and have reliable and tested data backups and recovery plans in place.
7. Reduced security risks
The cost of cybersecurity incidents is not just measured in downtime and dollars, but also in terms of their impact on an organization’s reputation. With security threats seemingly on a continuous upswing, making sure your network, data and applications are as secure as possible is both important and difficult.
Many cloud service providers employ security professionals. These experts help to take care of some of the security infrastructure for customers, providing features such as strong identity management, fine-grained access control, proper data encryption, advanced threat monitoring and detection, clearly defined security response plans, and more.
8. A developer-first experience
Cloud services can help provide a developer-first experience. Developers are able to choose the languages and tools they work with, while being freed from the day-to-day drudgery of managing their own infrastructure and application development platform.
Developers can also make use of the cloud services on a self-serve basis, so they can kick off the process of developing, building, testing and deploying new applications and experiments without IT or other teams’ involvement.
9. Cost reductions
Cloud services reduce the need to build and maintain your own in-house IT infrastructure. And with the ability to scale up and down on demand, cloud services optimize your costs so you pay for only what you use, when you use it. Your cloud service provider’s SLA also shields you from unexpected costs and expensive service outages.
Staff and training are also significant expenses, of course, particularly when you’re talking about highly specialized roles such as SREs, senior IT staff, and experienced security professionals. With the increasing demand for top tech talent, staffing a full-time, in-house IT department is growing more expensive by the day. Cloud services reduce the need for you to hire these roles yourself, letting you use your staffing and training budgets more strategically.
Red Hat Cloud Services
Red Hat Cloud Services include hosted and managed platform, application, and data services that accelerate time to value and reduce the operational cost and complexity of delivering cloud-native applications. Organizations can confidently build and scale applications with a streamlined experience across services and across clouds while Red Hat manages the rest.
Red Hat’s cloud services comprise a platform for developing, deploying, and scaling cloud-native applications in open hybrid-cloud environments. The combination of enterprise-grade Kubernetes, cloud-native approach to application delivery, and managed operations allows enterprise development teams to increase application velocity and focus on core competencies.
About the author
Deb Richardson is a Contributing Editor for the Red Hat Blog, writing and helping shape posts about Red Hat products, technologies, events and the like. Richardson has over 20 years' experience as an open source contributor, including a decade-long stint at Mozilla, where she launched and nurtured the initial Mozilla Developer Network (MDN) project, among other things.