The growing demand for clouds is mostly driven by the advantages they provide for IT product development, testing, and launching. What are the main cloud sandbox use cases?
Five years ago banks, retailers, and some manufacturing companies were main customers of the CROC’s Cloud. Today, they are being pushed back by IT developers, whose share in our customer portfolio grew by 15% over the last year. We decided to find out why. Our quick analysis showed that such customers use public clouds to develop and test new products and client services, thus saving money and ensuring faster time-to-market than in the case of local (physical) infrastructures.
Today, clouds are used for development and testing (dev/test) processes by businesses of any size, be it niche IT developers or large corporate customers, with the latter having both productive systems and testing environments for mobile and web apps in the cloud. It is a global trend. Some even say that it is development acceleration that makes cloud services more and more popular. In 2018, for the first time in the history of IDC’s global IT market reports, cloud providers spent more on their own infrastructures than on on-premise solutions.
What are the key scenarios of using a cloud sandbox, a special product development, testing, and launching environment? There are several key scenarios.
Testing hypotheses and new IT products
It is a priority task for product owner’s teams, Chief Digital Transformation Officers or CIOs who supervise digital service development. Companies often engage external IT product developers before launching new services, and products should be tested in advance to choose the right one. Furthermore, CIOs simply cannot test every product available in the market, as IT departments lack staff and infrastructure resources to deploy test environments. Moreover, purchasing new equipment is a long process involving extensive routine red-tape paperwork, so CIOs cannot afford buying new systems just for testing. A sandbox is a perfect solution that supports simultaneous running any number of products and allows customers to quickly test any hypotheses with no need for extra equipment budget approval by CFO.
Pure development and testing
It is not surprising that many companies move the core activity of product or service launching to the cloud. Being a flexible and scalable infrastructure, the sandbox allows for connecting more and more resources, which is vital for reproducing a production environment during load testing. An on-premise infrastructure may not have enough capacity for starting this process, which can result in business system interruptions.
Today, very few large companies waste money on buying new equipment specifically for dev/test processes. Clouds perfectly suit for recurring short-term tasks such as testing and save money thanks to transparent billing. Indeed, a per-hour billing system allows for calculating expenses not only for testing process as a whole, but also with a breakdown by product and developer teams.
Working with unverified suppliers or products
Connecting new suppliers to the infrastructure is a pressing challenge for large companies, especially in the finance sector. One of our projects is a very good example. A bank that uses CROC Data Center decided to deploy an innovative solution by a third-party developer. But a new contractor could not access the bank’s perimeter due to strict compliance and security requirements. To solve this problem, CROC offered its cloud as a trusted environment for the system, with no need for long due diligence by the bank’s internal subdivisions.
Training and experience sharing
Product creation and functionality testing always requires a team of specialists. Developers especially value clouds for the opportunity to work via a console with no fixed workplace needed. Moreover, clouds help large IT companies with hundreds of employees around the globe optimize project team management costs and ensure well-coordinated teamwork. All they need is to grant access to systems hosted in the cloud to remote employees, for example, for training purposes. A classic example here is Positive Technologies that uses a cloud for both developing ten commercial products and delivering training in using software tools for 60 Russian and international partners.