There are many good reasons to move to the cloud. One of the not so obvious reasons, but an increasingly important one, is sustainability. Especially, these days, when the non-sustainable solutions are getting very expensive. Let’s face it, when building your solution, the sustainability of it is not your top priority, and yet building a sustainable solution can be a financially beneficial one. Building a sustainable world is a team effort and cloud technology can help.
Let’s take a few steps back and take a look at an analogy for your business processes. For this example, you use cars to provide a service to customers. An obligatory process can be to wash your cars regularly. The obvious thing to do is to take a few buckets of water, soap, some sponges and clean them. Maybe put on a nice coating when it is done to make sure it stays clean longer. But when you clean your cars, you are not thinking about recuperating that water. You don’t think about where that soapy, dirty water goes. What chemicals are in the soap you are using and how it will affect the environment. You don’t want to think about it because it is not your business model, it is an obligation.
The easy thing to do here is to go to a car wash and let them manage it, the same goes for the cloud with business processes. The business model of the carwash is exactly to clean cars. And they will make sure they do it in an efficient way, thinking about recuperation water and energy. They will have to make sure they don’t use chemicals and such. They benefit from building sustainable solutions to clean your car because it is their business model. When they use less water, they pay less. When they can power their cleaning stations with renewable energy to service as much cars as possible, they will pay less.
For cloud hyperscalers it works exactly the same way. You, as a business, want to build solutions to help your business model. To do it as efficiently as possible is nice but it is not the goal, your goal is deriving business value to increase performance. With on premise solutions you manage servers, infrastructure, patching, and such as best as possible but it is not the main goal. IT is often seen as necessary, rightfully so, but expensive. With on premise you have to size your databases to expected peak performance, even though it might only be for 1 hour a day.
So now we go back to the analogy to see how the cloud can provide us with solutions that are potentially more sustainable. Potentially, because it all depends on how you build it. To further explain this we go over several scenarios:
Lift and shift, sort of:
I want to wash my cars the same way I do before. I can lift the process I have and ask the carwash to provide me with people and resources to wash my car the same way I do it. I can choose the products I want to use. The benefit is that I don’t have to change my process and know exactly how it is run. I don’t have to provide people, the carwash will do that. The carwash will provide me with the resources, too. Great! However, the carwash will provide me with these people and resources for the entire time unless I tell them to stop and if I don’t use them I keep paying for them so it will cost me quite a bit. This can be great if I have a continuous line of cars that need washing.
For the cloud it works in the same way. You can migrate your solution to the cloud in exactly the same way you do it on premise. You can start servers and databases which will be managed by the cloud so you don’t have to manage the underlying security and patching. You can install required software at will. Quick and easy with a lot of flexibility but when you start these services, they will run continuously until you stop them. If you don’t manage your scaling, you will be running the same expensive server or database sized to your peak performance.
Managed scalable solution:
Hmm, I don’t have a continuous line of cars that need washing but I do still prefer my way of cleaning products. I can ask the carwash to dynamically add or remove people and resources to clean my cars when I have a lot of cars coming in or when I don’t have cars to wash. I will still have to provide instructions on how to clean the car but I can let the carwash know when to expect more cars so they can provide me with more resources. It is my responsibility that the instructions are up to date, that all the products are not at the expiration date if applicable. But the great benefit is that I don’t have to pay for everyone and all the resources all the time. I can hire a team and let them clean my cars when I want and release them when they are done.
The cloud can, scheduled or by metrics, scale your solution to provide more or less resources at the moment you require it. You do have to provide a blueprint which it can use as a scaling policy. You have to provide an image of the solution you want scaled. You own the image, and with it the great flexibility to tailor your solution, but have to maintain it yourself to make sure it keeps doing what it does at any given time.
I don’t have any specific instructions on how to clean my car. All I want is to see my car clean. I will let the carwash decide on how they manage their teams and resources. I still have options on how I let them clean my car but not total control, I don’t need that anyway. The carwash will provide me with a list of options from which I can choose, always up to date with modern standards. The great benefit is that I don’t have to provide any instructions on what teams to use or what resources to provide, the carwash will do that for me. The carwash will provide me with a service, often in the way of a tunnel where my car can go through and come out clean on the other side.
With serverless solutions you don’t provide the underlying architecture, you just use the service. You define your process and the cloud will provide the underlying instructions on how to manage the process. You will often be billed by per second metrics of usage so cost is low while being provided with extremely fast performance.
The great benefit for a carwash to do it on its own way is that they can provide an optimized experience. That is why we see structures where cars can run through a tunnel with almost no human interactivity where processes are automatic and resources are reused as often as possible. Water is collected, filtered and reused or disposed of in an efficient way. They can wash more cars in a smaller timeframe and therefor the cost of cleaning one car is lower, for carwash and customer.
It is the same way for the cloud. The cloud hyperscalers want you to use their services as efficiently as possible so they can keep costs low. It is in their business model to provide cost and energy effective solutions. By providing serverless solutions they can reuse hardware between clients, accelerate processes to run as quick as possible to service the next process and to be as safe as possible from outside attack. It is in the best interest of cloud hyperscalers to build their datacenters with net zero strategies and reusable energy in mind.
When architected proficiently, it is a win-win solution for both. You can run your business processes efficiently and scale in or out when required. Cloud hyperscalers can service more customers with the same hardware when they all use just what they need so they will provide you with a good price when you use what you need. That is why we see a great future for serverless services or scalable solutions when you require more control. Togaether, we can build solutions that are cost effective and fulfil your business needs. When these solutions are not only cost effective but also environment friendly because you don’t have to keep running over dimensioned hardware on premise for certain periods, that is quite frankly the cherry on top.