Implementing your online, globally accessible service can seem daunting. Especially if your background is in the traditional industries, your first instinct may be to go DIY. You buy the hardware and software, set up the connections, install everything, and hope that everything comes together on launch day.
This is certainly a valid approach in certain circumstances. If you’re doing gene sequencing or storing sensitive surveillance data for the defence forces, your particular situation is rare or unique. Then it might make sense to build your own environment and store your own data at a location that no one can get to. And then this article is not for you.
This article is for the rest of us with less specialized data system needs. Most companies are able find someone who already provides what you’d otherwise need to build.
(Note: to get more familiar with the terminology, why not check out our article Public v. private clouds - what’s the difference?
So let’s see: what are some of the best reasons to build on top of a public cloud service?
1. Lower Total Cost of Ownership
Saving money is usually a solid business decision. The total cost of ownership over the lifetime of a service is lower for a public cloud service.
In a public cloud service, the focus of your company can stay where it belongs: your core business. Without having to buy hardware and licenses, or budget for upgrades and maintenance. Maintenance, scaling and upgrades don’t involve downtime and work. That work can now go into your own products and services and generate revenue.
2. Only pay for what you use
Yes, more money savings! With a public cloud service you’re only paying for what you use. You’re not paying for downtime, whether planned or unplanned. You’re not paying for extra capacity. You’re not paying for redundancy in case of failure. You’re only paying for the time that your services are actually running.
3. Easy to set up
And a third way to save money, we’re on a roll here. The savings start on day 1, when you don’t need an army of admins and developers to set up your system. Sure, there’s some planning and stuff involved, but the actual setup? A piece of cake. At Aiven, for example, it takes a total of three (3) clicks to get a new service up and running. (Yes, we counted.)
And even after the setup phase, you need fewer workers on your payroll to maintain and troubleshoot the system. This means less investment both salary-wise and in training costs.
4. No maintenance
A public cloud service is maintenance-free for you. You know the mythical “Someone Else” that you wish would handle all the boring stuff? We have that famous Someone Else on staff to take it off your hands.
What’s more, that Someone has training and experience in maintaining that particular system.
5. Better security
A part of the hassle of maintaining your in-house systems is data security. Not only do you have to make sure that all the latest security patches are in place. You also need to make sure that all data is encrypted in traffic, as well as during storage. Going with a public cloud service means that’s another line item in your budget that you can cross out.
And if your business requires compliance certifications (such as PCI-DSS), a public cloud provider is better placed to apply for them. Certification is another pain you can do without.
6. Best uptime
A public cloud service offers better uptime than a proprietary system. They have to, because it’s literally the cloud company’s business to make sure that their services stay up. Their army of engineers, thoroughly familiar with their systems, will descend on any issue without delay and blow it out of the water. Kapow!
7. No-risk failure
It’s true that the issues may sometimes stymie even the expert company. But remember: as their customer, that risk is not yours.
You have an SLA in place guaranteeing a certain amount of uptime (99.99% for Aiven). The cloud company will also compensate you for any downtime that exceeds it.
8. No long contracts
Long-term solutions can be a pain. What started out as a great answer to your needs may morph into a problem of its own. A software product may be updated in a way that doesn’t fit your business model. Or you may find that the business landscape changes and your service needs to change as well.
At the same time, new products and services come on the market that you’d like to try out, but you’re not going to fork out the price of two solutions at once.
A public cloud service won’t lock you into a solution that has become suboptimal. And if you’ve stayed on the open source side of the business, your data will remain easy to migrate to a new system if the need arises.
9. Easy to scale up or down
In a DIY system, scaling is often a problem. When you plan your setup, you base your requirements on your best guess for greatest required throughput. As a result, you may end up either with extra capacity or a mad scramble for more servers. It’s pretty much down to luck.
Brief usage peaks also mess with capacity requirements. If your service isn’t reachable at a time when lots of users want to access it, you lose goodwill that’s hard to build back up. At the same time, you don’t want to be paying for capacity that you’ll only use 1% of the time.
A public cloud service lets you adjust your plan according to usage at short notice. You can easily add or drop capacity, and immediately reap the benefits.
10. Easy to respond to changing business needs
A public cloud service is flexible in ways other than capacity, too. Few companies and businesses stay the same over time. Disruptive change can occur overnight or in small increments, and proprietary systems add serious inertia. At best, it can compromise your company’s ability to react to change. At worst, it can be a major reason why you can’t be the one leading the change.
If you subscribe to a public open source service, you can adjust the type and scope of the service to match new business needs. And it won’t take long.
11. New features available quickly
Another great characteristic of public cloud services is that they adopt the latest features and technologies very rapidly. This is especially true in the open source world. Proprietary solutions take their own sweet time in adopting new capabilities. The more closed the ecosystem is, the longer the features are in coming.
In a public cloud, you can pick and choose among the best new innovations. They can support your business model or even allow you to create your own business innovations on top.
12. Global access out of the box
A significant issue with on-premises setups and also with proprietary cloud solutions is how to provide access for a global user base. There are often security considerations in setting up firewalls and access control. Sometimes this results in a clunky mess of user groups and inter-site access points.
Public clouds are designed from the ground up for global access and easy user management. Their network of servers can accommodate users all over the world from day one.
When you invest in a proprietary system, bear in mind that you are carrying all the risk in that purchase. Those systems are pricey, too, so the risks are significant and real.
To reach your business goals faster with more flexibility and lower risk, subscribe to a public cloud service. You won’t regret it.
Not using Aiven services yet? Sign up now for your free trial at https://console.aiven.io/signup!