The cloud is all about instant provisioning. It’s also known as on-demand self-service. Cloud users can obtain cloud services such as applications, the infrastructure supporting the applications, and configuration within seconds to deploy rather than days or even weeks.
It’s essentially self-service where applications, and if necessary application architectures, can be downloaded almost as easy turning on a tap. Users typically obtain these services through a cloud service catalogue, or commonly, an online self-service portal.
This is what gives the cloud its appeal. It means IT teams don’t have to fire up new servers and install applications that the business wants. It means that extensive IT infrastructures are not required in-house. It means that the IT team is freed up to concentrate on more productive tasks such as developing bespoke apps for the business. Cloud will fundamentally change the way the IT team operates in the future.
Instant provisioning, or on-demand self-service, is enabled by the cloud hosting company provisioning a virtual machine when you request an application or other service. The service you are accessing runs on the virtual machine. This virtual machine set up isn’t quite instantaneous. For instance, it may take a few minutes for the virtual machine to be ready to use, dependent on the type of machine, location of the data centre and so on.
But hey, what are a few minutes when you can effectively harvest a raft of services via a portal? It would take an IT team longer that’s for sure, given that they usually have other tasks at hand.
And setting up a dedicated server for new applications requested by the business can be a long and arduous process with high set up fees and wasted resources. The applications might only use 30 per cent of the server’s processor power meaning the other 70 per cent is wasted. And the server has got to be maintained, cooled and powered, so the costs keep stacking up.
Instant provisioning is what makes the cloud what it is: immediate, cost-effective and flexible.