What is a cloud platform?
Let’s understand cloud platforms.
A cloud platform refers to an Internet-based platform that provides various IT resources.
Cloud platforms deliver IT resources, including computing resources, data storage, and networking and development tools, allowing users to borrow and use required resources on demand, without having to physically build and maintain large hardware infrastructures. Cloud platforms also offer automated resource management, security, and backup services to ensure users can focus on implementing products and services.
There are various service models for cloud platforms; IaaS , PaaS , and SaaS, , which meet the needs of various users, such as developers, companies, and government agencies. Cloud platforms offer cloud products of a variety of partners to help meet the diverse needs of users.
Major cloud platforms include Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud Platform (GCP), and Samsung Cloud Platform (SCP).
What are the advantages of cloud platforms?
Cloud platforms provide the flexibility for users to immediately expand or reduce resources as needed, allowing them to respond rapidly to sudden increases or decreases in website traffic. This is referred to as scalability, which means the ability to expand or reduce your IT resources (servers, storage, and network) as needed in cloud platforms. Companies or organizations can use cloud platforms to easily scale up IT resources when it is hard to estimate demand.
Flexibility refers to an ability to support various operating systems, languages, databases, or frameworks on a cloud platform. With highly flexible cloud platforms, users can select IT infrastructures that fit their environments and configure or update them on demand.
In other words, scalability involves vertical expansion (increasing available resources), while flexibility pertains to horizontal expansion (diversity and autonomy of resources). Cloud platforms provide various IT infrastructure products, which makes it easier to respond to changes in requirements.
Cloud platforms distribute and safeguard data across multiple servers, ensuring its safety even during system failures. Additionally, they offer security features like data backup, encryption, and access control, minimizing data loss in case of technical issues.
Cloud platforms help cut down on costs for building large IT infrastructure and offer economic benefits to companies or individuals as they are operated on a pay-as-you-go basis. Moreover, cloud platforms greatly reduce manpower needed to build and operate IT infrastructure and guarantee high productivity with automated development and deployment.
These advantages of cloud platforms are the reasons why companies and organizations have recently started adopting and using cloud platforms.
What should we consider when introducing cloud platforms?
One of the disadvantages of using a cloud platform is that you become dependent on specific cloud providers. When a cloud platform offers a variety of convenient services and products, and a user’s system is already established within it, users are unlikely to migrate to another platform unless significant service issues arise. This leads to a high level of platform dependence.
Security and significant service failures
Storing and processing data on a cloud platform may create concerns about data security. The data may be leaked by hackers or as the result of employee mistakes, generating more concerns, especially for sensitive data. An access failure on a cloud platform due to natural disasters may also cause large companies to experience service failures. In fact, in 2018, Amazon Cloud Platform (AWS) experienced access failure, which spread to the website failures of banks, e-commerce companies, and cryptocurrency exchanges that were using the platform. However, such data security and failure response are not solved by using internal servers. It is important to establish a comprehensive plan for data loss, including advantages such as the professional security management and control policies of cloud platform providers and regional diversification policies.
Companies that use cloud platforms should comply with the data protection laws and regulations of relevant countries. These legal regulations may vary according to the country or region, and impact data location and movement.
Because cloud platforms offer standardized services, customization may be limited for users with specific requirements or unique needs. For example, if users utilize the proprietary technologies or APIs of certain cloud service providers, it would be difficult for them to switch to another cloud provider. In this case, it is necessary to use a variety of cloud solutions in a multicloud environment and utilize standardized, open-source technologies to reduce vendor dependency. There can be cases where the security capabilities and personal data protection from cloud service providers do not fulfill certain company requirements. In this case, companies should build their own security solution or collaborate with professional security service providers to meet customized security requirements.
Cloud platforms require less upfront costs, but in the long term, the costs may go up with increased usage. Especially based on data transfer costs or additional resource uses, the costs may even be higher than expected.
For instance, one of the reasons for overestimated increase in costs is a failure to accurately estimate resource usage. Costs may increase in the event of traffic spikes or irregular workloads. In this case, it is necessary to set up a budget or use notifications to predict cost overruns in advance and respond accordingly, or use monitoring tools of cloud platforms, to continuously check resource usage and adjust resource allocation as necessary to control costs. Alternatively, you can use autoscaling, which makes the system automatically detect resource usage to adjust the amount of resources, so that the cost is optimized while maintaining performance. In addition, you can establish a cost optimization strategy that determines the best cost structure by analyzing various instance types, storage options, and regions provided by cloud platforms. Consult with experts or use professional solutions if needed.
Samsung SDS provides the Samsung Cloud Platform, leveraging its accumulated IT capabilities and 40 years of experience. Through strategic partnerships with global Cloud Service Providers, we deliver a wide range of optimal multicloud-based services to our customers.