A sandbox in the cloud
In previous blog articles, I described how the cloud could be a great asset for training environments. Let’s take a look at another area where the cloud could be your best friend: Testing of business scenarios.
I am not referring here to QA testings. Those need more diverse and more controlled environments. Instead I’m talking of various scenarios that customers or prospect might be interested in. This is an area that typically requires some flexibility with configurations and a significant investment in hardware. Ten years ago, the norm was a set of servers and workstation, hopefully with swappable hard drives, and required a lot of maintenance. Then came the virtualization wave, which brought more flexibility and lowered the costs. But there was still a significant investment and a ceiling: one cannot run more virtual servers than the hardware can handle.
Migrating this type of environment to the cloud brings significant advantages:
– An additional server is just a few clicks away
– There’s no big initial investment
– The resources available (CPU, RAM, storage) are usually much higher than in a typical virtualized system
One could easily build a library of server images covering the various products a consulting firm deals with. Instances of the servers can be started as needed for the project, and decommissioned when no longer needed.
This is also a great solution for demos and Proof-of-Concept projects. Again the cloud gives access to powerful resources, and at a very reasonable cost. One could for example setup a BW server, and a BOE system, and test various options for integration, including adding other applications like Data Services, as needed and when needed.
While the costs of running cloud servers is not negligible and can add up if the servers are used for long times, they are still very reasonable. It’s however the absence of up-front investments in hardware that should interest most companies, especially the smaller consulting firms.