Flexibility, scalability, reliability — these terms come up in almost every discussion of cloud computing. But what do they really mean within the context of Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) offerings, and how can these general benefits help enterprises meet specific business goals?
Essentially, the cloud allows IT shops to engage in low-risk development. IaaS can be thought of as “rented hardware” that enterprises can access instantly with little upfront cost, providing them with the computing, storage and networking functions for existing services or new projects.
As the cloud matures, more and more enterprises are utilizing solutions such as Microsoft Azure to launch projects in the cloud. Some examples of this include:
Diebold: The automated teller machine manufacturer met its three-month time-to-market goal for a new application called Conductor by developing the app in the cloud with Microsoft Azure. The mobile application allows branch personnel to monitor ATM transactions in real time. Developing the application in the cloud allowed Diebold to create it quickly, without having to pause for physical infrastructure upgrades. The company elected to host the application in Azure once it was finished, a move that minimized the software it was required to download to various endpoints.
GE Healthcare: A division of General Electric, GE Healthcare provides medical imaging, patient monitoring systems and other healthcare technologies to a global customer base. The organization was looking to create a flexible, scalable platform that could deliver a wide range of solutions and services, while also protecting patient information. Running solutions in the cloud allowed GE Healthcare to take advantage of Azure’s compliance certifications and lowered operating costs. It also helped the organization to maintain its focus on business goals, rather than on managing its physical IT infrastructure.
3M: A development team from the manufacturing giant used Azure to help create a new custom mobile app in a single weekend. After purchasing assets for parking, tolling and automatic license-plate reading, 3M needed a tracking application that would provide sales staff with real-time information about the type and location of the company’s products in parking lots and garages. The integration of Azure with development tools such as Xamarin Studio and Visual Studio helped the team to complete the entire project in two days. 3M continues to run the application in Azure, in part, so it can be used by resellers that lack access to the company’s internal network.
For more information on CDW services related to Infrastructure as a Service, read the white paper “An Infrastructure in the Cloud.”