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The Advantages of Enterprise Cloud Applications

Beyond all the hype, industry reorientations and analyst projections, the emergence of cloud computing as a common internal business tool (whether authorized CRM and data management applications or unauthorized note-taking and organizational tools) is an interesting example of companies following where their employees have led.
Most people were first exposed to the power of applications delivered via the cloud by online email clients and eCommerce tools, but within the last few years expectations have risen, driven by consumer-oriented cloud applications (for document creation, storage, note taking and more) that can be accessed through a browser and have taken on many of the characteristics that were once reserved for traditional desktop applications.

As their employees have become accustomed to the ease of use and functionality of well-designed cloud-based solutions and services, businesses have been pushed to adopt similar workflows for their own business-critical applications. This has been accomplished in some cases by adopting Software as a Service (SaaS) business applications and in others by running virtualized applications on a public Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) provider's machines or in an enterprise's own private or hybrid cloud data center.

There are a number of advantages to a cloud-based application strategy:

  • Lower Upfront Costs: Public cloud solutions require very little initial capital expenditure, as the hardware is already available at the provider's data centers. This means that companies only need to pay for the bandwidth and infrastructure resources that they use, as it's used.
  • Easier Maintenance: The cloud provider becomes responsible for maintaining and upgrading hardware, and in SaaS situations, the provider is responsible for maintaining and updating the application itself, as well.
  • Scalability: Cloud infrastructure allows IT to easily scale their resources up and down to account for spikes in traffic without having to let hardware sit idle the rest of the time.
  • Collaboration: A cloud application's data is stored in servers so that it can be accessed by its original creator from anywhere and can be shared with colleagues, customers, and other end-users instantly and securely.
  • Time-to-Value: Cloud solutions can be deployed quickly to any machine with a web browser. This eliminates the costly and complicated testing and installation procedures required by desktop applications.
  • Storage: Cloud providers offer a cost-effective way to store large amounts of business data and keep multiple redundant copies for business continuity and disaster recovery.
  • Mobile friendly: Data, documents, and applications are easily and quickly accessible from tablets and phones at or outside the typical workplace.
At the same time, users accessing cloud applications can potentially suffer from a range of issues inherent to Internet Application Delivery [link to Internet Application Delivery Challenges for Enterprises (and How to Overcome Them) blog post]. Whether the applications are being delivered from an SaaS or IaaS provider's data centers or a private cloud, the exact same challenges of distance, latency, routing, packet loss, and availability arise - this is where an application delivery solution comes in.

A cloud-based global application delivery solution can take advantage of its network to deliver applications at high speed by caching static data around the world and optimizing the route that dynamic, personalized content takes through their own servers when being delivered to internet users all over the globe. Speed and bandwidth is essential to taking advantage of cloud services as new applications will be compared to old, on-premise applications and any performance issues have the potential to decrease usability and cause user dissatisfaction and a drop in productivity.

Cloud computing is already part of the business world. Eighty seven percent of organizations are already using the public cloud, and the cloud market is set to surge by twenty five percent in 2014 alone. Businesses can increase their agility, reduce hardware costs and complexity, and scale to meet new demands - but only if the right level of performance is there.

To learn more about accelerating cloud applications, download your copy of the new eBook, A Modern Guide to Accelerating Web-Based Application Delivery.