Catching Up with the Cloud in 2023

As a small business manager, of course you must mind IT, likely as a strategic asset and not just a basic tool. For over a decade now, the industry trend has been "cloud adoption", meaning getting rid of the servers in your office and moving your applications and data to the cloud. If you've been doing business as you have for many years, maybe you've cut down on some or all of your servers, and for certain your users are sharing files and accessing other services through the cloud.

There's a whole new level in recent years, and you may have heard of a slew of terms and technologies from salesmen or television commercials. The fear of being left behind might create some anxiety as you wonder if you should know what this all is and whether you should be using it.

Here's what's going on. In short, the innovations in the cloud are mainly on the back end. Online end-user applications have reached a level of maturity and ubiquity that it's no longer a thought anymore. Anything you want to do, there's a website or mobile app for it.

As for that back end, ten years ago the push was for businesses to migrate the servers they had in the office to run on virtual machines in the cloud. At this point, anyone who hasn't done it doesn't want to. So as competition for functionality grows among the cloud service providers, along with the appetite for data and analytics by large companies who use it, the service providers continue to innovate. The trend for the last several years has been on creating services that enable fast development, deployment, and manageability of apps and the data these apps use. You can see the results in the explosion of data and analytics you see everywhere. One example is the massive amounts of real-time data you see available if you watch any professional sports on television. It's not just the high-speed cameras that can count how many times per second a thrown baseball spins or the position of each player on the field, it's the apps leveraging the power of millions of servers in the cloud, and the underlying software services that enable ingestion and analysis of enormous amount of data. This has impacted how players train and how rosters and games are managed at unprecedented levels.

So when you hear about Kubernetes, Athena, Redshift, EMR, Lambda, QuickSight, Docker, Google Cloud, data lakes, Databricks, GitHub, and NoSQL, just know these are all technologies or software products that only software developers, system managers, database managers, and data analysts work with directly. If your company doesn't develop software, you're not going to use any of this.

If you do develop software, either with in-house talent or by outsourcing, it is a good idea to know what's available to stay modern, so you can know whether it would be appropriate, and also ensure your developer isn't stuck on something outdated because that's all he knows. In general, if you have a custom billing application that perfectly suits your needs, there's probably no use case for employing Amazon ECS to orchestrate deployment of containerized applications to scale for millions of users.

But if you have big plans for a customer-facing application, or you do have a large one going that hasn't had a long-range planning assessment lately, then ensuring your development team knows how to leverage these readily accessible technologies should be a priority.

What's best is if you have an experienced IT service provider who can assess your development team's capabilities and match it with your requirements and plans. In all cases, to ensure your up-to-date on your technology, your best bet is to contact J.D. Fox Micro.