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Jul 12

2017

IaaS Blog

10 Ways Infrastructure as a Service is Enabling Excellent Customer Experiences


  • Public cloud Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) spending is predicted to grow by 36.8% to over 42% in the next year according to the consensus analyst estimates, reaching a global market size of over $35B.

  • RightScale’s 2017 survey found that Microsoft Azure adoption surged from 26% to 43% with AWS adoption increasing from 56% to 59%.
  • Global Cloud IT market revenue is predicted to increase from $180B in 2015 to $390B in 2020, attaining a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 17% according to Bain & Company.

Fine-tuning cloud infrastructure for greater speed, scale and security delivers excellent customer experiences. Cloud applications’ graphical user interfaces, intuitive navigation and mobile-first responsive designs are pervasive today. Born-in-the-cloud enterprise apps are setting a new standard for usability and ease-of-use, with adoption accelerating quickly as a result. Despite rapid user experience gains, however, cloud application performance is unpredictable, slow and unreliable.

Get Beyond a Cloud App’s Appearance and Focus First on Performance

Having a great looking and intuitive cloud app only matters if its performance is consistently meeting and exceeding user expectations. That’s where improvements in Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) can help. IaaS providers including Microsoft Azure, which is recognized as a global leader in Cloud IaaS and has over 600 services available today, are enabling apps to meet and exceed performance goals. The following are 10 ways Microsoft Azure IaaS and other IaaS systems can enable higher performing, more reliable apps that deliver excellent customer experiences:

  1. Designing speed and responsiveness to the infrastructure level delivers greater results than any changes at the app level can. To gain a performance boost on any cloud app running on Microsoft Azure or any other IaaS platform, be sure to have the application and database in the same data center region.
  2. Freedom to fine-tune Virtual Machines (VM), databases including SQL Server, network configuration options and more for optimal application performance. IaaS platforms have a variety of VMs to choose from. Microsoft Azure provides VMs specific to SQL Enterprise Edition (DS3 or higher) and also for SQL Standard and Web editions (DS2 or higher). Configuring SQL Server and network options for optimal performance are best based on continual app performance monitoring using Azure Application Insights. It’s an excellent app for tracking application performance over time and finding areas for performance improvement. The following screen is an example of the type of metrics provided by Azure Application Insights when monitoring Microsoft Azure Cloud Services apps.Azure Application Insights_LouisCblogSource: Application Insights for Azure Cloud Services
  3. By providing greater levels of reliability and scalability, IaaS enables cloud apps to flex to user’s needs in real-time. Instead of being constrained by legacy systems, for architectures that have hardware constraints, IaaS enables apps to flex and be responsive in real-time to the always-changing workloads and demands users place on cloud applications.
  4. Born-in-the-cloud apps can go mobile now and still have the scale and speed advantages of IaaS. Usability is now king of enterprise cloud apps; the only challenge is app portability to mobile platforms and performance have at times lagged. This is another area where IaaS continues to fuel excellent customer experiences by providing insights into how app performance can continually improve. Microsoft’s Visual Studio Mobile Center is a case in point.
  5. IaaS, specifically Microsoft Azure, simplifies the complexities of keeping apps and databases in compliance over time. It’s a challenge for any company providing apps to keep them compliant over time. Staying in compliance with ISO/IEC, Cloud Security Alliance (CSA/CCM), HIPAA and many other standards can easily consume a company’s valuable time that could have been invested in meeting with customers and creating new apps.
  6. IaaS is specifically designed to deflect many cloud apps greatest weakness, reliability, turning it into a strength. One of the original design goals of IaaS is to provide High Availability (HA) support for cloud apps, Today all IaaS platforms provide fail-over options on both a regional and global level including automated backup options.
  7. Gaining greater knowledge into how customers use each app daily including resource loading, potential fault conditions, and areas needing improvement are all available in real-time. Being responsive to customers and the areas of improvement they can see during daily use of a cloud app is invaluable. IaaS is designed to also provide this feedback in real-time, 24/7, 365 days a year. App developers know exactly what needs to be changed to increase overall app performance.
  8. Apps that are secure far beyond what’s possible on many on-premise systems with the bonus of periodic software updates. A core design component of any IaaS is networking firewalls and security. As this area is changing rapidly, it makes the most sense to develop apps that are compatible with cloud stacks that are investing heavily in security. By doing this, many born-in-the-cloud app providers are reaping the benefits of IaaS provider’s large-scale investments and continued progress on security.
  9. Building apps on an IaaS platform can deliver above-average performance when databases, VMs and infrastructure are optimized to the app’s goals.When apps are designed based on a diverse series of third party databases, API calls to diverse systems and in short sacrifice speed to a broad base of integration points, performance suffers. Often the highest-performing apps are designed entirely on a single platform to ake advantage of the inherent level of integration within the IaaS platform and infrastructure.
  10. Having global scalability of data centers that support rolling out apps across multiple continents simultaneously with no degradation in app performance or data latency. Scaling a cloud app so the performance on one side of the world is just as good as the other is a challenge. One of the ways IaaS is delivering excellent customer experiences is by providing real-time global scalability of application and web hosting. When IaaS platforms are configured optimally, there is no latency in app performance regardless of global location.

If you’d like to know more about how Ingram Micro can help your IaaS business, contact us at CloudIaaS-NA@ingrammicro.com If you’re at Microsoft Inspire 2017 this week, come see us at our booth (#1101) or schedule a meeting!

About Author

LOUIS COLUMBUS
Director, Global Cloud Product Management, Ingram Micro Cloud

louis_columbusLouis Columbus is a frequent contributor to Forbes.com, and teaches graduate-level marketing and international business courses at a variety of universities. Previous positions include product marketing at iBASEt, Plex Systems, senior analyst at AMR Research (now Gartner) and marketing and business development at Cincom Systems. He has taught at California State University, Fullerton: University of California, Irvine; Marymount University, and Webster University and authored 16 books on technology-related topics.