Cloud providers give you on-demand access to the servers you need without waiting for your internal IT department to provision them.
Recently, I was talking with a friend who works at a Fortune 500 company. He needed to get a few dozen servers online in a hurry for a project he was working on, so he went through the standard processes – he requisitioned the servers, went through IT and told them to hurry up because he needed them quickly. The estimated delivery time for the servers was around 45 days, and that was the best effort. But IT wasn’t completely to blame for the delay – they had to wait for the request to get approval from finance, cut a purchase order to Dell, wait for the servers to show up in their data center, wait for their data center techs to rack it, wait for their security people to sign off on the infrastructure – and basically, my friend didn’t even know if he would need those servers 45 days later.
So he took out his credit card and started buying some cloud servers. His IT Director got really angry with him, but this is happening all over the world at this point. The fact is, internal IT is failing the enterprise – they just can’t keep up with the demands of the business. And when you look at cloud providers, at how they provision and manage infrastructure, that’s their core competency. They do it really well, at scale and in a cost-effective manner. Most organizations aren’t in the business of providing infrastructure, so they should focus on their core competency – what makes them money – and outsource their core infrastructure needs to a provider that can do it better, faster and cheaper than them. And that’s what cloud is all about.