Why the cloud? What are its benefits?
What is a cloud-based software system? Here are a few key points:
- The application is typically hosted in a cloud-based infrastructure. The three big ones are AWS (Amazon Web Services), Azure (Microsoft’s cloud), and Google cloud.
- The application takes advantage of the ability to scale quickly because of the nature of the cloud. A solid cloud-based system can grow its capacity in memory and CPU in a flash based off of how busy the application becomes. It also has the ability to scale back in slow times.
- The application becomes Highly Available (HA) and has redundancy. Basically, this means that it has a lot of backups, and up-time should be in the high 90%, as in 97.9%. For instance, Amazon.com never goes down. And, if it did, you would never notice because it has a TON of redundancy and scalability behind the application.
Why is a cloud-based application beneficial?
- It allows for easier access to the data you need to run your business. Having an application running on your office’s main computer that you have to VPN to is not easy or that effective.
- You can avoid being held hostage by ransomware. Ransomware is software that locks your computer until you pay the hijackers their ransom to unlock your system. Your options are to pay or to reinstall everything. If you have customer data or important applications on your local computers, this can become very costly. If you are using a cloud-based system, you are less likely to have this issue because all of your data is stored remotely.
- You can avoid losing data in a disaster like floods. It is not uncommon for floods, hurricanes, or other natural events to greatly impact cities and towns. I know several Houston auto shop owners who lost a lot of data when Houston had its floods. Their data was gone because all of it was on local computers, and their backups were stored locally, too. A cloud-based system doesn’t suffer this fate. Although it is possible for a server farm in a cloud to be devastated, the applications are usually ported to a safe place due to the nature of how software runs before any damage takes place.
- A cloud-based application is more likely to have some set of APIs (Application Programming Interfaces), making it easier to share data among other software systems. As owners, we sometimes want to use several different software systems in our processes and having the ability to share data becomes critical in making these applications work together. When an application runs on a local computer, this task becomes much more difficult.
Architect/President at Autoflow
The Desire for Continuous Improvement
As an auto repair shop owner of Golden Rule Auto Care, Chris Cloutier realized the need for a better way to communicate with his customers as he observed how communication gaps created bottleneck situations and wasted valuable rack time.