Ten reasons why cloud computing is awesome

People sometimes ask me why I like cloud computing and why they should like it.  Here are my reasons.

1. No Installation

For ten years, I was the lead developer or architect for HP on-premises application implementations.  On some projects this involved a lengthy installation process.  The client would want it installed on hardware and software based load-balanced environments with backups and everything an enterprise-level application would need.

The servers required to do this were special and required proprietary knowledge to set them up.  In one example, we were delayed two months because the power cord didn't arrive.  It was a special power cord for a HP server.

No one cares much that you installed the software.  They are more impressed by what you can make it do.  Installations are often a thankless job.

ServiceNow spins up instances at their will.  No more server software installation.

2. No Client Distribution

At one time, web browsers were not good enough to handle all the needs of software and a client was distributed to user's computers.

This was a huge hassle at times.  Technicians might not know how to reach all the computers, or the computer's operating system couldn't handle the client.  

Most software vendors have stopped with the windows/mac client distribution and just use a web browser interface instead.

3. Hardware Failure not your Issue

Cloud computing and SaaS/PaaS vendors are not immune to hardware failure. However with hardware failure with an on-premises software installation, it was up to me to fix.  I've replaced cpus, hard drives, network drives, motherboards...Did I like doing that, not really.  I'd rather someone else fix the broken hardware.

4. Less Integrations

One of the reasons I am good at writing integrations is that with on-premises software, it was often separate application installs.  With separate applications, you have to write a lot of integrations.  

Cloud computing encourages a central application that is seamlessly integrated.  This is the way it should be.

5. Upgrades

Upgrades are trouble when you have to upgrade the server software, client software, and the actual code on the server.  Often you were at the mercy of the upgrade software and it would crash due to so many different versions of software available.  

The great upgrade process of ServiceNow is one of the many reasons it so popular.  With ServiceNow, you just pin an instance for an upgrade and ServiceNow upgrades at your choosing.  You do follow an upgrade process, but it is hands-off for the most part.

6. Security

In my opinion, cloud based software is more secure than typical on-premises installations. 

ServiceNow is protected by an enhanced, defense-in-depth framework of firewalls, load balancers and intrusion detection systems (IDS)

For more details about security you can always read the ServiceNow Wiki on Security. Everything from verification, ip range based, and encryption is discussed in there. You can also talk to ServiceNow, they have a lot of documents on the subject.

7. Backups

ServiceNow maintains seven daily and three weekly backups on disk. Daily backups are preserved for one week. Weekly backups are preserved for one month. The backup data never leaves the datacenter. Backups include data from the primary and mirrored datacenters of all customers instances, including production and sub-production instances.

ServiceNow does all this without me having to worry about it at all.  I do backup my code locally, but I have never had to use a backup with ServiceNow.

8. Access

With ServiceNow and other cloud-based software you can access the application anywhere.  In the old days with on-premises software, accessing the application was a process with VPNs, Firewalls and other obstacles.  

9. Almost Unlimited Storage

With on-premises installations I was often asked how much storage I needed.  I would say things like 10TB.  That was quickly dismissed and it was reduced to something like 25GB.  With the cloud, there is nearly an unlimited storage potential.  However there are performance issues with large data.

10. Cost

In almost all cases, it can be cheaper to run cloud-based software.  However since there is more potential with the software, often it is decided to do more with the software than the previous software used.