It will come as no surprise that here at .cloud, we are passionate about the cloud and the possibilities it brings for companies and individuals.
Cloud: The future is here
Although it was once treated with a degree of scepticism, it’s now hard to imagine a world without it. Sending a message on Gmail, updating a Facebook status, checking your bank balance on your phone app on the way to work, even binging on Orange is The New Black on Netflix ultimately means interacting with the cloud. As a result, the cloud is almost synonymous with 21st Century life. With this in mind it feels almost passé to say the future is cloud. Clearly, the future is here already. But it’s a future that’s gaining momentum.
Forrester predicts the market for cloud services will grow to $191 billion (£133bn) by 2020, and according to the EIU’s ‘Mapping the cloud maturity’ study cloud apps will account for 90 per cent of total mobile data traffic by 2019 compared to 81 per cent at the end of 2014.
The move to the cloud will become more prominent and accelerate over the next few years, and smart companies and individuals are those who plan in advance and are ahead of the curve. What better way to illustrate this point than highlighting some examples of how the switch to the cloud has helped new companies thrive and old giants find a new vigour?
Amazon is instrumental in this (recent) history lesson of the cloud. Back in 2006, Amazon was an online retailer facing the challenge to keep their IT infrastructure up to speed with their growing business. Their great intuition was however to open up the great infrastructure they had built to run their core business and offer to other businesses online services they could use to build and operate software without setting up their own hardware. Amazon's move made the benefit of cloud computing immediately and easily available to a much bigger audience than ever before, and it is ultimately responsible for enabling many of the great services that we today can't do without anymore. For instance, both Netflix and Dropbox leveraged Amazon’s cloud services, and, in turn, grew into two of the world’s hottest tech companies.
Believe it or not, Netflix has been around since 1997, starting out as a DVD subscription service. As they transitioned into the global internet television company they are today, the cloud became the obvious tool to pivot into a whole new, very successful business model.
When Netflix found that it was outpacing its traditional datacentre’s capabilities, it turned to the cloud for help with scalability in order to meet spikes in demand and lulls in activity. These demands are pretty high, with more than 75 million people around the world subscribing to the site.
Instagram first launched in 2010 on a single computer in L.A. However, within just a few hours it had to move to the cloud because the server was overwhelmed and couldn’t handle the activity levels. When in 2014 the service was bought by Facebook, as 200 million people were using the service on their smartphones, a small team of engineers moved the photo sharing operation from Amazon’s cloud computing service to Facebook's – without any users even noticing.
Like Instagram, Pinterest turned to Cloud Computing to handle its growth and to have greater scalability. Unlike Instagram, however, Pinterest has been on the cloud since its beginning. Pinterest provides one of the world’s largest visual bookmarking tools, with more than 100 million monthly active users and 50 billion pins, and refreshes its search index every single day – something which wouldn’t be possible without the cloud.
For decades Adobe's tools and products have represented the golden standard when it comes to desktop publishing and graphical design. Like every other software provider, their original business model was based on selling their software in static releases on physical media that people would install on their machines. Every time a new release came out, the customers would have to buy it again and start the process over with an upgrade or new install.
As more and more users gained access to faster internet connections, Adobe was quick to jump on the 'Software as a Service' bandwagon that has been booming over the past five years. Users can now simply subscribe to Adobe's cloud-based ‘Creative Cloud’ plans. Gone is the need for local installations and every single new feature is immediately available without having to wait for the next release. Thanks to the recurring revenue of this profitable new business Adobe's stock price has more than tripled since their transition to the cloud started.
And it’s not just tech companies who are embracing the cloud – iconic brand Coca-Cola is among the latest to make the move in adopting cloud services in its 22,000 seat deal with Box. Coke is using its storage and collaboration platform both internally and with external third parties, to help improve productivity and allow staff to access key information from any location.
Moving to the cloud has been the making of many organisation, and, in some instances, already-established brands have been reborn by adopting cloud technology, including the software giant by definition, Microsoft. With this in mind, it’s safe to say that cloud computing is more than just ‘the next big thing’ - it’s how the tech giants of the world have built their businesses.
Putting a name on it
As these few examples show, the rapid growth in cloud adoption is making a positive impact on the lives of more and more people. A clear sign of this trend is the fact that the term 'cloud' has quickly become a familiar concept to regular people all over the world, and often in other contexts as a way to add a modern, positive spin to ideas and products.
This phenomenon can be seen in domain names, with 'cloud' quickly becoming one of the most popular keywords used in domain names, as confirmed by the latest gTLD Usage Report published by leading corporate Registrar CSC.
It is now also possible for any individual or business wanting to communicate their brand and associate it with the cloud to register domain names ending with the .cloud. This has already proven to be a very popular extension with over 40,000 names registered in just two months of being on the market.
And it’s not just traditional cloud providers and companies who have chosen to utilise the .cloud extension – early adopters of the domain name have included innovative startups like digital marketing assets exchange FashionCloud, and social enterprises such as Food.Cloud.
For FoodCloud, creator of a fast, cloud-based solution for businesses to donate surplus food to charities within their communities that has, the .cloud extension represents a clear and powerful way to communicate to the public and key audiences what they do and how their app and web-based business is powered by the cloud. The startup has taken Ireland by storm and is now making good progress in the UK.
With more and more companies building their empire in the cloud, and with the concept fast-becoming part of an everyday vocabulary for people, using a domain with such a clear association with the cloud will become a great asset for a huge number of companies looking to highlight their business capabilities and to bring their brands to life.
Francesco Cetraro, Head of Registry Operations at .cloud