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Editor's note: This two-part series is excerpted from the new book “Business in the Cloud: What Every Business Needs to Know About Cloud Computing,” by IT executive and agility strategist Michael Hugos. In Part I, Hugo discussed cloud strategy, IT issues and environments. Here, in Part II, he discusses high-potential cloud applications and cloud-related costs.

Business Applications with the Greatest Potential

To determine which applications could work well in the cloud, a good place to start is by applying a "pain-versus-gain" measurement.

If your company is a start-up, then almost by definition most applications will be good candidates for cloud computing, and the pain will be relatively minimal.

If your company is an established business with an existing infrastructure of in-house systems, then good candidates for potential cloud computing are environments involving:

  • Stand-alone applications with a low business risk if something happens and the system goes down, or if the system data were compromised or stolen.

  • Applications that are expected to have highly volatile and hard-to-predict workloads.

  • Situations requiring collaboration and information sharing with an extended value chain of business partners.

  • Applications where there is a need to perform periodic data analysis on high volumes of data.

  • A platform to try out scenarios quickly and at low cost, to field test a new application system, or to create test and development environments for building new systems.

  • Situations where there is a need to conserve capital expenditures.

Many companies are already using cloud solutions--infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) and platform-as-a-service (PaaS)--to quickly provide their in-house application development groups with testing and development environments. Instead of going through all the expense and time of purchasing the hardware and software needed to develop new systems, the development groups of these companies can get what they need immediately and only pay for it as long as their need lasts. Cloud service providers such as Amazon, Google, Hewlett-Packard, IBM, Microsoft, Rackspace and others offer immediate provisioning like this.


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