Cloud

Cloud diversity: How 10 companies use the cloud 10 different ways

At the 2016 Structure Conference, author Joe Weinman explained how 10 major tech companies are approaching the cloud in their own ways.

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Image: iStockphoto/luisrsphoto

With the massive growth of cloud computing comes a broad number of ways that companies are approaching it in their organizations. At the 2016 Structure Conference, Joe Weinman, author of Cloudonomics and Digital Disciplines, explained how 10 different companies are deploying cloud infrastructure.

The individual goals that a company approaches the cloud with, such as its effect on agility, UX, cost, scalability, and reliability will determine how they implement cloud computing. Many of the big conversations center around the differences between public and private cloud. Weinman listed the following differences between the two options:

Private cloud

  • Stable demand
  • Predictable scalability
  • Predictable amplitude
  • Geo locus
  • Self-multiplexing
  • DIY cost/competence advantage
  • Core

Public cloud

  • Variable demand
  • Predictable variation
  • Unpredictable timing
  • Unpredictable amplitude
  • Geo dispersion
  • Customer multiplexing
  • Cost/competence advantage vs DIY
  • Context

SEE: Cloud computing policy template (Tech Pro Research)

Here are the 10 companies that Weinman listed as case studies, and how they are approaching the cloud:

1. Pinterest

Pinterest started in the public cloud, and remains there currently, Weinman said. He cited Pinterest's Raj Patel, who called their approach "infrastructure buddhism," in that, once you lose one sense, the other senses are heightened. So, when a company doesn't need to focus on managing a data center, they can focus on innovating in other areas.

2. Evernote

Then-Evernote employee Alexei Rodriguez took an opposite approach to that of Pinterest a few years ago, Weinman said. He quoted Rodriguez who said that it would be four times as expensive to run Evernote's workloads in public cloud, and he doesn't find it difficult to manage a data center. However, Evernote recently did make the move to the public cloud as a Google Cloud Platform customer.

3. Instagram

Photo-sharing app Instagram began in the public cloud. However, it was fully folded into Facebook's private cloud after the company was acquired by the social media giant in 2012.

4. Netflix

Netflix made headlines when it moved from a private data center to the AWS public cloud. But, that's not the whole story. According to Weinman, Netflix only runs transcoding, customer data, and its recommendation engine in the cloud. Its DVD business and streaming CDN are still being run privately, Weinman said. In that case, Weinman said you could argue that Netflix operates a hybrid architecture.

5. Dropbox

The files shared through Dropbox were in the public cloud at one point, but the company moved them to commodity servers, Weinman said. Dropbox's metadata was already hosted in the private cloud and the move was about "raw economic, not politics," said Dropbox's Aditya Agarwal.

6. Zynga

Most of Zynga's workloads were in the public cloud, before the company moved them to the private cloud for a while. In a strange turn of events, Weinman noted, Zynga then moved back to the public cloud when their growth tapered off.

7. GE

GE's approach is nuanced, Weinman said. GE is known as a public cloud player, but it still has legacy apps in private cloud, which wouldn't be worth moving to public cloud.

8. Target

Early on, Target outsourced its e-commerce infrastructure to AWS, but it eventually moved the workloads back to private cloud for better management and visibility into customer data.

9. Walmart

Walmart has, what Weinman called, a "hybrid multi-cloud fog approach." The company has a private cloud strategy where they want to put a private cloud in each store, but they also acquired OneOps to manage some workloads across Rackspace and Microsoft Azure, Weinman said.

10. Apple

While it's predominantly speculation, Weinman said Apple's approach seems to be hybrid. They use private infrastructure for compute and energy, but they also use public options from AWS, Microsoft Azure, and Google.

Every company is different. So, Weinman encouraged customers to identify what works best for their situation and not solely model their strategy on what works for another firm.

More from the 2016 Structure Conference

About Conner Forrest

Conner Forrest is a Senior Editor for TechRepublic. He covers enterprise technology and is interested in the convergence of tech and culture.

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