26 January 2017
Blogs by author: Simon Bond, Senior Consultant, BT.
If you can’t get what you need from the cloud, a cloudlet could be your answer. Simon Bond explains what they are and why you might need them.
A lack of cloud cover
For a long while now, we’ve heard that cloud services can reduce IT costs and help transform operations. And that’s true. But sometimes the cloud is hard to reach — maybe you have limited connectivity, or perhaps your available bandwidth just won’t support the applications users need. What do you do then? Mobile health clinics; emergency services, armed forces, oil and gas installations; festivals; pop-up shops and so on — there are many examples of services where connectivity is an issue. The world is getting more connected by the day, but there are still plenty of places where high-bandwidth connectivity isn’t available, or can’t be relied upon for some time yet. But just because a cloud-connected data centre isn’t accessible, doesn’t mean you have to miss out on the opportunity to innovate and become more agile. That’s where the cloudlet comes in.
The local cloud
For the health worker, a cloudlet could mean being able to access a copy of a patient database or an Artificial Intelligence (AI)-based application that enables them to provide life-saving services. In the oil and gas industry it could mean the ability to collaborate with other workers within a remote site or access complex modelling applications. Both cases are made possible because the cloudlet is attached to the Local Area Network (LAN). The cloudlet is a local version of the cloud service, and because it’s local, it’s accessible in an environment where the wider cloud can’t be relied upon. Instead of cloudlet, you could call it a deployed cloud or local cloud. The point is, being LAN-based also means it’s suited to high-bandwidth applications that use AI, complex processing, large data-sets or virtual reality.
Put together a compelling business case
Putting the business case together to justify using a cloudlet requires a clear understanding of the benefits it will deliver. It’s likely there will need to be changes to network architectures too, to ensure that they support distributed cloud architectures. And for many organisations, it’s unlikely they will have the resources needed to set up and manage their own end-to-end cloudlet delivery service. What these organisations need is a service provider that understands their situation, and can help them launch their cloudlets.
Don’t worry though — help is out there. Make sure you have the right cloud solution for your organisation by taking a look at what we can do for you.