Cloud computing, whether it is leveraged through public, private, or hybrid cloud deployment models, is seen as an important forward-looking model for transforming how IT operates as a services-focused organization. By leveraging the pooled compute, storage, and network resources within an organization's data center(s) and enabling self-service access to these elastic and scalable resources, clouds offer these potential advantages:
Self-service Provisioning - Allows users, including dev and QA teams, to deploy their own sets of computing resources (machines, network, storage, etc.) based on application or activity resource requirements. They avoid the delays and complications typically involved in resource acquisition and provisioning. IT or the cloud service provider supports ongoing customization and enhancement of the cloud user experience, while monitoring, managing, and expanding the underlying cloud infrastructure as required to meet demand.
Scalability - Decouples the fluctuating activity resource requirements of individual users from typical infrastructure constraints, thus easily accommodating rapid increases or decreases in resource demand. Resources are highly elastic and can scale up or down to meet user demand.
Reliability and Fault-tolerance - IT or the cloud service provider can focus on improving critical pieces of infrastructure to achieve pre-determined levels of reliability. Policies addressing expected levels of reliability can be continuously reassessed and updated without user involvement.
Optimization/Consolidation - Maximizes the usage and increases the efficiency of existing infrastructure resources. Extends infrastructure lifecycle. Reduces capital expenditure.
QoS (Quality of Service) - Allows IT to dynamically reassess the SLA associated with users or groups of users for the resources allocated. Allows the organization to react quickly to changing activity resource requirements without unnecessary user involvement or knowledge.
Well-defined API - Using a well-defined and stable industry standard API, such as the de facto standards established by public cloud provider AWS and being adopted by more and more cloud platforms, avoids lock-in and ensures interoperability with an ever-growing number of tools and cloud service providers.
As-needed Availability - Aligns resource expenditure with actual activity resource requirements thus allowing the organization to pay only for the resources needed when they are required.