Use Cases for the Cloud

There are a number of use cases, or scenarios, for leveraging the cloud.1 If we consider the leading cloud services—Salesforce.com/Force.com, Microsoft Azure, Amazon Web Services, the Rackspace Cloud, GoGrid, Facebook, Twitter, and Google Search, Google Apps and App Engine, Apple iTunes and the App Store, and Wikipedia, for example—they fall into one or more of these categories. Moreover, in keeping with the tone of this book—that cloud is a cross-domain concept not restricted to computing—we will allude to offline analogies as appropriate. For example, a big data repository in the cloud is analogous to the New York Public Library or the Library of Congress; collaboration via the cloud is not much different than gathering in a conference room; markets where buyers and sellers can meet online are not much different than flea markets or the New York Stock Exchange.

Complementary Capabilities and Competencies

The cloud may offer a competency that you or your firm doesn’t have. This may be at the infrastructure layer—for example, data center operations; at the software layer—for example, specific algorithms encoded and optimized but available only via the cloud; or at multiple layers—for example, security operations skills. Examples of specific competencies present in the cloud are tax preparation algorithms embedded in an online tax service, search algorithms and an indexed Web, information regarding flight schedules and prices but also expected delays, stock ...

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