What is Cloud Platform?
In a nutshell, Cloud Platform is a system that allows cloud applications to be hosted on it.
Cloud Platform is a next generation platform service that allows software developers to develop, run and test a cloud based application. It alternatively allows developers to make use of other services already being provided by the cloud. Cloud platforms act as a foundation for running cloud applications and storing data. It is to be noted that the platform is built to suit the needs of a developer rather than an end-user.
The concept of cloud platform is similar to that of an in-house data center platform except that it is usually owned by an external service provider; it is easier to scale resources on a cloud platform and the services are much cheaper when compared to an in-house data center. It can, as with all cloud services, be accessed only through the Internet.
Why do I need Cloud Platforms?
To understand the benefits of cloud platforms, consider a scenario where one has to write an application software. Now, to support that application software, he would have to build the underlying platform (like an operating system or a virtual machine to translate the needs of the application for the system hardware). This is not a feasible option in situations where the application software demands are high, as is the case today.
Similarly, for every cloud application to operate, it has to be built on a cloud platform. Building a platform for every application makes no sense and is a sheer waste of resources. To address this, cloud vendors are developing technologies that can host the client’s application without added expenses of the underlying hardware and software.
It is to be understood that with the help of cloud platforms, the developer can only control the application software. He cannot modify or control the underlying cloud infrastructure, storage, servers, operating system and network.
Benefits of Cloud Platform
From a business investment point of view, cloud platform can be a real money saver.
Faster Deployment of Application Software:
Organizations don’t tend to invest in servers unless an application software is ready to be launched. Ordering the servers, their delivery and installation itself could take weeks or even months, during which the company might lose the market for the product. Building the software on cloud platforms ensures that the company can deploy the software as soon as it is ready. There is no wait time.
Save on Innovations:
Every organization spends huge amounts of capital on innovations in terms of infrastructure, software etc. This comes with an inherent risk factor. In case the innovation is a failure, the organization may incur heavy losses. Cloud platforms reduce this risk as they come with a ‘pay-as-you-go’ package. You only spend for the applications and resources that you will be using and in the event of a failure, you can just shut down the project and stop paying.
The World is Shrinking. Make Use of it:
Cloud platforms help take your business global. Most vendors have their data centers across the world. Cloud platform allows you to run the same application in all the data centers and just synchronizes the data in all the centers. Also, it allows you to scale up or down the resources to suit your needs and the demand with ease.
Flat Rate Tariffs Don’t Apply:
Cloud Platforms work strictly on a pay-as-you-go scheme. You need not have to spend on infrastructure, servers, network and other initial investments of a data center. Unlike an in-house data center, you can actually keep track of where your money is being spent as the cloud only charges you for what you use.
The Other Side of the Coin:
Cloud platforms also have their own downside.
Relying on an External Service Provider:
Cloud Platforms essentially include having to rely on an external service provider to take care of your IT needs. If the services that are being provided do not meet your expectations or if the services are not reliable, then you stand a chance to suffer failure.
Ensuring that your data is safe from unwanted intrusion is as important as innovation itself. Data in the wrong hand could spell disaster. Although all platforms are as safe as your own data centers, nevertheless, it is always advisable to make sure that your data is secure. You can always choose to save your data in your own data center and just run the application on the platform.
Think of this in terms of machine dependent programming language. A code in C++ written for a Windows operating system will not run on a Linux based operating system. Similarly, a cloud application built for one platform may/may not run on other platforms. If you are not satisfied with the services provided by your vendor, looking for a different service provider who can successfully host your already built application can be quite taxing.
Cloud Platforms are going to revolutionize the IT world. The way the world looks at developing application software is going to change forever. Cloud applications are going to be more powerful, capable of processing terabytes of data in the shortest time and Cloud Platforms are going to be the foundation of those applications.
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