Every crisis is a time of difficulties but also a magnificent opportunity to reinvent, rebuild, and rebrand. It can give a boost to new technologies and business models. The coronavirus epidemic impacted all sectors to some extent increasing demand in many specific areas. These include e-commerce, health insurance, online communication services, e-banking, social media, remote education, and other industries.
Nowadays, business and customer behavior is massively shaken up. And the availability of IT resources has never been so needed before. Cloud applications allow the teams to communicate, collaborate and remain productive. Also, some organizations change the whole model of product delivery moving to digitalization and as-a-Service mode. Thus the role of cloud hosting providers who can meet the demands of the new reality is strengthening exponentially.
“Don’t Waste a Crisis” - these lines (attributed to Winston Churchill or Rahm Emanuel) often emerge especially during challenging times. Weaker representatives often leave the game when the environment worsens. But some cloud players already mobilized to address the newly appeared needs.
Below we’ll review the main spheres that emerged or were popularized under the circumstances of COVID-19 pandemic, as well as highlight how hosting providers can meet the major cloud requirements of these industries.
Initially, e-commerce came into vogue in 2003 during the SARS epidemic that appeared in China. That gave a start to such influential companies like Alibaba and JD.com who were among the first who took advantage of shifting consumer habits.
Currently, e-commerce is going through a new wave of challenges. And in order to stay on the edge of the business, they have to cope with all the load of customers that are shopping online and keep the product line up to date. These two core needs set the tasks to the hosting service providers - ensure high availability and fast continuous delivery.
It is important to offer reliable infrastructure and the tools to easily get clustered setups with traffic distribution, database replication and automated scaling of servers based on the load. The provisioning, testing and updates of such cloud environments have to be performed during a minimum period and without downtimes. Considering that many e-commerce projects are international, hosting should include CDN and multiple availability regions in order to provide low latency and high speed.
E-Medicine and Monitoring
Different countries are already developing digital infrastructure and engineering capabilities to fight the pandemic and alleviate its spread via community-driven contact-tracing technologies. Also, digital infrastructure plays a core role in predicting and modelling epidemic outbreaks. For example, HealthMap visually represents outbreaks of various diseases based on location, time and virus type. Smart-phone crisis trackers in Wuhan also showed themselves as a new powerful public health tool.
Considering a global spread of diseases, cloud infrastructure for e-medicine and monitoring should be spread across different countries thus offering multi-region availability. It is vital to provide real-time data, so speed and performance are playing key roles in this industry.
Also, the isolation during virus spread led to re-emerged demand on telemedicine. E-medicine tools give the possibility to avoid overload of hospitals and provide distributed services when doctors, affected by viruses but with light symptoms, can continue to help patients while staying self-isolated at home.
Such online interaction between doctors and clients highly depends on the cloud hosting platforms with high availability, connection speed and scaling on demand. The whole system should be easy to manage not to make hospitals hiring full dedicated teams of admins just for cloud platform orchestration.
In a matter of weeks, coronavirus has changed the way students are studying around the world. It is too early to say how the current situation will affect education systems around the world, but there are already obvious signs that it is bringing a lasting impact on learning innovation and digitization.
In China, 120 million students got access to learning material through live television broadcasts. And the Ministry of Education has gathered a group to develop a new cloud-based online learning and broadcasting platform, as well as to upgrade a suite of education infrastructure. France has created “Ma classe à la maison” (my classroom at home), which can be accessed online. In Japan, private sector companies are offering free online courses to children in lockdown through a government digital platform.
Cloud hosting should guarantee easy access to e-education materials and the ability to collaborate on joint projects offering quite a variety of application tools, at the same time keeping infrastructure management cost efficient for governmental and private institutions.
Working From Home
Remote work has been already spread but now it is the new normal. We can expect even bigger transformation of business interactions and collaboration, as well as emerging innovations that simplify evolving trends and make them permanent.
In order not to lose their positions, businesses have to provide a high level of access and productivity, no matter where the employees are located or what device they use. For many companies, the solution is services such as online workspaces that are hosted in data centers where customers can securely store data, manage software with various DevOps tools, arrange teamwork with remote control systems and online communication, as well as automate and accelerate delivery to the production.
While more teams start to work remotely, more companies are recognizing undeniable value and flexibility delivered by cloud technologies. The ability to implement the required systems quickly, helped the world adjust the processes in order to outstay the pandemic.
Economic slowdown during the last weeks affects the banking industry. That’s why for saving measures, many financial institutions will be re-checking the current spendings on different levels, including cloud hosting and software tools they use. What they require right now is to cut the costs but don’t compromise on security and performance. This can lead to migration from expensive proprietary solutions to open-source, as well as from cloud giants to more cost-efficient local infrastructure vendors. On-premise private or hybrid cloud installations for financial organizations also become a reasonable way to protect the systems from newly emerged frauds.
The number of cashless transactions and activities in online banking impressively raised during coronavirus isolation. Thus the chosen cloud hosting has to meet the requirements of highly-loaded financial systems.
E-Logistics and E-Supply Chain
The coronavirus shifted the way products are shipped around the world and catalyzed automation of the supply chain. Businesses are actively adapting their products to make them suitable for takeaway. Becoming delivery-ready involves not only arranging the logistics but also making the whole process of ordering, tracking and receiving goods as smooth as possible.
Digital shipping startups are building smart analytics using machine learning and cloud-based applications that truck drivers and container ship operators can easily access online. These companies can quickly react to bring in-demand goods to the required locations across alternative routes.
Cloud platforms are designed to improve supply chain service levels by coordinating the network of retailers, suppliers, and distributors. While choosing a cloud hosting provider for logistics, companies aim to get low upfront costs, quick deployment, availability across regions and less need for internal IT support.
Virtual conferences have already been known since the mid-2000s but they never really overtook the role of the on-site events. There was no need to invest in a virtual alternative while traditional trade shows or vendor conferences were bringing money. And suddenly virtual events become the only option as travel and large gatherings are prohibited.
If for remote working there are already mature tools, then with virtual events we are at a much earlier stage of adoption. The current demand can make a huge progress in developing online events over the next few months and cloud hosting is directly involved providing the basis for online conferencing and chatting tools.
How Jelastic Can Help Service Providers to Stand Out
The coronavirus outbreak is actively forcing a lot of organizations to a rapid digital transformation, embracing cloud and mobility trends. It's a period of big challenges and, at the same time, big opportunities. For the IaaS market it means more consumption as hosting needs are increasing, for SaaS it brings more engagement because of massive digitalization wave, and for PaaS it is more demand as complex infrastructure requires smart and easy management. Hosting service providers have to adapt to a new reality in order to stand out and grow.
Jelastic Multi-Cloud PaaS tightly collaborates with service providers offering the required tools to meet the soaring demands of customers during and after the crisis:
- Smooth migration of traditional applications to the cloud, transformation to as-a-Service model and digitalization
- High-availability by means of automated clustering available out of the box (clustered WordPress, Magento, SQL and NoSQL databases, etc) and scaling on-demand based on the current load
- Fast provisioning and easy management of cloud environments via intuitive UI that requires minimum involvement of admins
- Multi-region deployments across various locations and different infrastructure for low latency and compliance with local rules
- Cost-efficient resource usage with automatic scaling, containers density and unique pay-as-you-use pricing model for maximum savings
Get in touch to find out how Jelastic cloud platform can be installed in your data center or using any preferable IaaS to enhance your hosting business.