Cloud Computing: Case Studies

The following case studies are from Amazon Web Services’ Customer Success Stories.

Yellow New Zealand Case Study
Yellow New Zealand is a New Zealand based company that originally provided New Zealand homes and businesses with a print book containing residential and business addresses. With the increase of digital technology, Yellow moved to become an internet based company, and in 2015, they moved their business onto the cloud platform, AWS.

The cloud infrastructure manager of Yellow New Zealand, Rob Hayden, states that AWS was chosen as their cloud service provider because of its “industry experience, flexibility of service, enhanced security, and platform maturity.”

Yellow New Zealand employs the use of Amazon Web Services’ AWS CloudFormation, AWS Lambda, Amazon EC2 Container Service, AWS Identity and Access Management, and Amazon ElastiCache in running its business through the cloud. It bases its platform in the Sydney, Australia region (Asia Pacific -Southeast) with its data centre located in Auckland, New Zealand.

The benefits for Yellow New Zealand in moving its business to a cloud service provider such as AWS, are as follows. Firstly. the AWS cloud provider, Yellow New Zealand do not need to spend their time and money on a physical server environment, as that responsibility belongs to AWS. Secondly, Yellow New Zealand desired fast service delivery, which has been able to be implemented as a continuous-delivery model through the adoption of a cloud based environment such as AWS. Thirdly, as Yellow New Zealand is an address business, they desired for a service that provided scaling, while keeping a high quality of delivery. This was able to be resolved through the Amazon ElastiCache mixed with code optimizations, which provided rapid response time, with the rest of the AWS services enabling the needed capacity for the business’ requirements. Finally, the employment of the cloud service provider has provided Yellow New Zealand an environment for the migration of further applications from local infrastructure to cloud infrastructure, which enables Yellow New Zealand the capacity for further growth with reduced costs.

National Instruments Case Study
National Instruments (NI) is a business that was founded in 1976, and is headquartered in Austin, Texas. NI provides technology and technology solutions around the world, in many different industries.

One item of technology that NI provides its customers is a software development environment called LabVIEW. LabVIEW contains a module called FPGA which enables the building of re-programmable silicon chips into applications. One of the limitations of an FPGA design is that it must be compiled before it is deployed, which can be very resource intensive and time intensive. As the company grew, the need for greater infrastructure increased, and the FPGA compilations became more compute intense, which resulted in motivating the NI LabVIEW team to consider cloud computing as a viable resource.

NI’s FPGA team used AWS’s EC2 on-demand instances to host their compilation service. AWS is also able to be used by the team for testing and internal development, and the AWS auto-scaling feature and EC2 Spot instances, all of which assist in reducing computing costs for testing product features. The principle cloud architect at NI stated that the reason for using AWS  as their cloud service provider, was due to the evaluation that “AWS is simpler than other cloud environments, gave [NI teams] more control, and didn’t force [NI teams] to apply updates that would break compatibility.” NI’s teams also determined that they were able to create products through AWS without the need for specialist training or hiring an expert, which results in low expenses for they company.

The benefits of using cloud computing for NI are as follows:

  • AWS provides faster auto-scaling than NI’s local scaling process, which reduces the time response to increased workload. This is beneficial to NI as it results in less wait time for their customers.
  • The utilization of AWS’s Amazon EC2 Spot Instances for FPGA development and testing, saves the company 10 times the cost that would have incurred from on-demand testing.
  • The use of the Spot Instances saves NI approximately 85-90% in costs, which results in more investment into product testing and quality.
  • The use of cloud computing has saved NI from increasing their internal infrastructure, a project that would have cost them around $1 million.
  • The use of cloud computing for running testing and development has increased NI’s agility as their test workloads often vary, and AWS’s auto-scaling eliminates the need for unnecessary costs involved with idle servers.

The AWS cloud environment provides NI with the capacity for growth in extending cloud computing to its other development environments, and for exploring and experimenting with different tools and products.

 

Conclusion
Cloud service providers like AWS are able to assist national and international businesses in reducing costs, increasing accessibility, and increasing speed. For Yellow New Zealand, costs were reduced because they didn’t need to build a physical server, the move from a physical address book to one based online increased Yellow New Zealand’s availability and accessibility for its customers, and the use of AWS’s ElastiCache enabled faster response time for their websites. For National Instruments, costs were reduced as Amazon’s storage service meant that they didn’t need to invest in increasing their own server, the accessibility of their products was increased through the use of AWS’ auto-scaling that was faster than their previous version, and the speed for customers was increased due to the reduced wait-time with the auto-scaling service.

References

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