Riding the Wave of IaaS: How and Who Uses Virtual Infrastructure
/ photo Steven Tyler PJs CC
Cloud services are deployed everywhere. Small and large businesses regularly take advantage of them: a variety of companies are moving their infrastructures to the clouds.
Some user cases are quite simple (for example, hosting a website or web application), while others are quite complex (remember the Netflix infrastructure story ).
So how are cloud services used? We would like to talk about this. Perhaps this material will allow you to see the full range of IaaS features and encourage you to use this tool in relation to your business.
File storage, synchronization and resource sharing
Everyone has already heard about Dropbox, Box.net, Google Drive - services for storing and synchronizing files. Some provide a limited amount of storage, while others provide unlimited storage. Many are focused on the mass consumer, but small, medium and large businesses use their corporate counterparts to help centralize file and data management.
Customer requirements are constantly growing, and with it the backup market itself is changing. If you had to deploy your own infrastructure before, now you can store your backups on a remote site. With this approach, a clear plus emerges - no need to bother with your own infrastructure and spend money on maintaining IT backup specialists.
Cloud-based backup systems offer a solution to these problems with additional benefits. An IT professional only needs to install agents, select the data to back up, and set up a schedule for the task. After this, the process occurs automatically, which seriously reduces the burden on full-time employees. The savings on hardware are generally obvious: you don’t have to purchase, install, or maintain expensive storage systems.
The cloud service for backing up and restoring data is used by the Hotels.ru hotel reservation service, being a client of IT-GRAD since 2010. Backups are done several times a day, and a backup site is present as an agreement between the company and another data center.
Over the six years of the operation of the Hotels.ru service, a real large-scale accident did not happen, but during the tests the circuit proved to be quite reliable. During the “rehearsal” the whole process took less than 16 hours.
This is one of the most common cloud usage scenarios in a business. A company can host web pages on physical machines, but this can cause problems when introducing new services and features. If the company operates in the cloud, then it will not have difficulty in scaling.
tolerance Recently, this user case is gaining great popularity. Speaking of systems of this class, a backup data center is usually meant, which can be used to transfer load from an already inactive place.
Often, a Disaster Recovery Solution is confused with a conventional high availability system. Both approaches ensure the operation of the application in case of problems with hardware or software, however, they differ in the acceptable extent of the accident. For example, an excellent 16-node HA cluster can not save from flooding the room. DRS-systems can “survive” with a large-scale failure of several data centers at once, without paralyzing the application for an indefinite period.
By the way, not so long ago we published a post on how to prepare a disaster-resistant solution.
Entering the international market
With a physical infrastructure, you usually choose the location that is best suited to serve your customers. But the concept of going global means that your audience will become international. Not every company can afford to open data centers in different countries.
However, many cloud providers have data centers around the world. This means that you can place your facilities in several places to more efficiently distribute content, services and products.
The benefits of cloud technology were rated by Franmer, a composite pool company. Over the ten years of the company's existence, the coverage area has increased - today dealer points are present in 69 cities of Russia, as well as in Belarus and Kazakhstan. The rapid growth, expansion of the services offered and the range of products have increased the number of customers and, as a result, have required a review of existing IT infrastructure.
There was a need to change the principles of its construction, the organization of a centralized approach with guaranteed reliability, mobility, high availability and adequate cost. Franmer reconsidered priorities and decided to abandon physical infrastructure in favor of the cloud. The company has been a loyal customer of IT-GRAD for more than 7 years".
Testing and development
Another feature of the cloud is not only the ability to work in real time, but also how quickly you can build and test the infrastructure. Want to see how your application works under high load? Create a copy of it and do a stress test. Want to compare the system on Ubuntu and Windows? Please take a few minutes.
Moreover, transferring test environments to the cloud can reduce secondary infrastructure costs by 20-30% (you might be interested in reading our material on how to calculate the benefits of migration to the cloud).
Do you have an idea you want to try? Perhaps your young startup wants to show future investors that the project is worthy of their investments. In this case, it is very simple to realize your thought in the cloud and then decide whether it will bring the expected result. If you follow the rule "do, and customers will come," then the cloud is what you need.
Now the quality bar for a popular web service is extremely high. If earlier the question was solved simply by a beautiful design, now the user is familiar with good and bad interfaces, convenient and not very menus, etc. Given the high competition in the market, the already familiar Hotels.ru company is trying to meet the requirements of the times .
Prototypes of future versions and testing new features often require separate stands of similar performance. “With a shudder, we recall self-assembled“ servers ”and nightly engraftment work.
Progress here, of course, is relaxing: I clicked the mouse and got the whole farm for testing, ”the company representative comments. - At the same time, you don’t need to go to the management for the budget for test hardware, and later to think about where to put the obsolete decommissioned equipment. Beauty".
As noted above, scalability is one of the main advantages of the cloud. If you need extra power to meet the needs of end users, you add resources. When they become redundant - refuse them. Thus, in the infrastructure, none of the elements is “idle”, which otherwise could lead to additional costs.
For this very reason, Delivery Club uses the capabilities of the IT-GRAD IaaS provider. Delivery Club today is the absolute leader in the Russian market for food delivery orders, which is part of the international company Foodpanda. The service is presented in 79 cities of Russia and cooperates with more than 4 thousand restaurants.
The project is constantly faced with an increase in workload, because the IT department of the company needs to respond very quickly to the changes.
“We cannot afford to constantly change iron. We need to dynamically adapt resources to the load, - Evgeny Salnikov, Delivery Club IT Director. - Cloud technology is our everything, besides we pay only for those resources that are actually used. We dynamically manage the entire pool of allocated resources, and this is very profitable, because, I repeat, we pay only for what we use. It is reliable, fast and convenient. ”
Business Intelligence and Big Data
The amount of information stored on the Internet doubles approximately every one and a half years. According to IDC estimates, in 2012, the total amount of content on the World Wide Web was 2500 exabytes. This data is a valuable source of information for analytic companies. Big data allows you to learn more about current trends and potential customers.
New tools provide an opportunity to get an approximate idea of the contents of the data, see some patterns, and thereby evaluate the usefulness of the data and the need for further work with them. For example, a car manufacturer can identify certain patterns and hidden defects based on customer reviews.
Cloud-based business intelligence is growing rapidly. Powerful computing systems in the data center of the provider cope with complex analytical tasks. Clouds allow you to get IT resources and not be involved in the server life cycle and software updates.
If in 2012, companies tried to understand and realize what kind of technologies they are, what they provide, then in 2013 interest shifted to implementation examples, and in 2014, the practical use of big data technologies began. Today they appear (at least at the level of pilot projects) at large Russian telecommunication companies, banks and trading organizations.
Financial Services / E-Commerce
More and more organizations and consumers are using online services to work with financial data. In the e-commerce key, you should pay attention to whether the vendor has a PCI DSS certificate. It defines the requirements for organizations related to the security of payment card data. We talked about the benefits of certification here .
The network for the sale of sports nutrition and accessories FitnessBar.ru is an active user of our IaaS cloud. Initially, the company existed in the popular format of an online store with one warehouse, but with the growth of the business, the idea of launching a retail network arose.
The company was initially formed as an online store, but the demand for sports food prompted the owners to develop the project and build a chain of stores. For one office and warehouse, a traditional Windows-based information system was used with all the tools familiar to Russian business like 1C.
However, the emergence of new retail outlets somewhat complicated the task, since it was necessary to provide joint access to a single 1C “Trade Management” database for office and remote divisions of the company.
The problem was solved using terminal servers. Users from different places connect to a common terminal server, which already has direct access to the databases. According to Anton Shushunov, FitnessBar system administrator, the bet on cloud systems has fully paid off.
Work with suppliers
The enterprise resource management system (ERP) was designed to automate operations within the company. Unfortunately, organizations entering the world market need to interact with thousands of suppliers around the globe, using business processes that are not supported by their internal systems. To solve this problem, several cloud providers offer ERP services and are gaining popularity in the supply chain.
DMI Dyatkovo is a well-known brand in the furniture products market. The concern specializes in the manufacture of interior solutions for home decoration and has its own production facilities and a dealer network, which has more than 400 stores in Russia and abroad.
Today, the company's sales management system is hosted in the IT-GRAD cloud. The solution is used to register sellers, generate orders, place orders, allowing you to conduct sales of a particular dealer through a cloud service. As noted above, guaranteed reliability and constant availability of the service are paramount tasks that can be easily solved by means of cloud technologies in the IaaS model.
Server virtualization and cloud technology every year more and more penetrate into our lives. In 2016, companies around the world will spend $ 204 billion on public cloud services, an increase of 16.5% from 2015.
“Every year, more and more companies whose main business is trading, choose the cloud-based IaaS platform as the main platform for hosting their information systems,” says Alexander Starodubtsev, deputy general director of the IT-GRAD group of companies. - Of course, that not every IaaS or SaaS project is certainly the most profitable solution. As part of any IT project, you should at least consider the option of implementing it in the cloud, and make the choice on the basis of a balanced feasibility study. ”
Cloud technologies should not be considered a panacea, but they should not be underestimated either. From a technical point of view, cloud services today are suitable for solving problems of any complexity, and corporate IaaS is not inferior in functionality to the private infrastructure solutions of companies.
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