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Cloud and the Pandemic
Technology - September 3, 2020
The world is disrupted by the outbreak of COVID-19 and every part of our daily life
is impacted by the pandemic. Nevertheless, not everyone has been impacted equally by
this disaster. From a business standpoint, some companies have to shut stop, some
are struggling to stay afloat while some have transitioned to the new reality with
Many companies, especially in the IT sector have found ‘work from home’ so
successful that they are looking to make it permanent, even after the pandemic is
over. Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) for example, has advised that even after the
pandemic, around 75% of the workforce will permanently work from home. Similar plans
have been envisioned by Facebook, Twitter and many other companies.
Taking leaps in the Cloud
The ‘new normal’ consists of a workplace which mainly runs from home. In order to
empower this remote setup, we need Cloud. Let us start with examples. Zoom has raked
in more users in two months of 2020 than it did in entire 2019. Teams, the business
communication software from Microsoft has seen a userbase jump of more than 70%. US
Department of Defense (DoD) also moved to a virtual workplace platform, called as
Commercial Virtual Remote (CVR). This platform leverages Microsoft Teams for
communication and is available on all devices. This platform has seen more than
900,000 downloads in less a month!
If Cloud was a luxury before then the pandemic has made it a necessity.
The numbers above can make you believe that Cloud adoption is on a fairytale and
business is booming. It isn’t true. There is an influx of demand from companies who
have been trying to acclimatize with the new normal. However, many small and medium
sized businesses have unfortunately shut shops in the pandemic and this is the
reason, cloud revenue has been dragged down.
Omdia, a research firm predicts that Software as a Service (SaaS) market
will grow by 4-5% in 2020. This rate will decline to around 2-3% in 2021. For IaaS,
PaaS, and CaaS, the rate of growth will be limited to 1-2 percent this year. The
numbers depict that in spite of the widespread demand and the surge in visibility,
the growth isn’t significant. This also brings in light, the unfortunate fate of
thousand of companies who couldn’t survive the pandemic.
Novel Cloud solutions for the modern day
Businesses have started looking at the post-COVID world and in identifying the
appropriate cloud services which would become the usual norm. For e.g. many
manufacturing plants got closed due to lack of demand or because they were forced to
shut down as part of the lockdown Cloud can help these companies in identifying new
demands and enforcing safe operations. Salesforce has taken a lead in this field; it
has built Salesforce Care for Manufacturing-a solution to help manufacturers update
reallocate resources to produce essential supplies for COVID-19. This approach
offers better visibility can forecast demand with better accuracy.
Cloud technology can also help workers in maintaining social distancing. It can give
360-degree information on the on-site situation and real-time view of operations.
Also, technologies such as AI can reduce the need of human intervention as it can
automatically identify defects and predict outages.
Google is another leader in this field. It’s Cloud’s AI and machine learning
products comprises of plug-and-play AI components. This will unlock new technologies
in the coming years.
a. Microsoft launched Azure Edge Zones and Azure Private Edge Zones in March 2020.
The idea is to provide continuous Azure services and application platform and
management at the edge. Part of Microsoft’s early adopter program, these zones are
available for preview in North America.
b. Google Cloud has partnered with AT and T to develop 5G edge computing solutions.
The solutions will be based on Google Cloud and AT and T network. A similar program
has been launched in India where Google has partnered with Jio, a large local
telecom firm. These offerings will leverage Google Cloud’s expertise in technologies
like Kubernetes, AI, ML and analytics.
c. Like Microsoft, IBM also announced edge services specially designed for
telecommunications industry and other sectors. These services run on Red Hat
OpenShift and can be deployed across different multi-clouds and edge environments.
Plus, IBM announced a plethora of new applications and support platforms such as
Edge application manager, Telco network cloud manager, Telco Network Cloud Ecosystem
Flexibility is the inherent trait of Cloud and this pandemic has tested our ability
to adapt to unprecedented challenges. A right cloud strategy can even save you costs
by eliminating the on-premise servers and giving the businesses muscle to expand in
terms of computing, network and storage. However, the biggest advantage of Cloud is
its ability to experiment and deploy new technologies.
The COVID-19 situation has proven the importance of Cloud. It enabled businesses to
function and in fact has made them more agile. There is every chance that COVID or
Some other potentially more dangerous pandemics can be expected in future. Cloud is
the biggest asset of businesses to tackle such uncertainties of today and tomorrow.