Cloud computing: Analysis of Apple INC.
Cloud computing enables companies to maximise the efficiency of available resources. It is now one of the standard strategies that competitive companies are employing as business go mobile. Apple Inc. is well-known for harnessing emerging technologies to get an edge over its competitors. They offer cloud computing services through the iCloud. This technology company is also focused on further exploring cloud services to improve its performance as well as to accommodate the storage requirements of its business.
Cloud computing is classified according to the data being worked on and types of services being offered. There are three types of clouds based on the data being worked with: private, public and hybrid cloud. There are also three types of services offered, namely Software as a Service (SaaS), Infrastructure as a service (IaaS) and Platform as a Service (PaaS). All these different types of clouds have innate advantages and disadvantages. For example, private clouds are more secure than public clouds. Apple and other companies can, however, counter challenges that come along with different types of clouds through collaboration or the development of new management software. By pursuing further developments in cloud computing, Apple can further improve its performance and solve weaknesses like the issue of supplier pollution.
Cloud Computing: An Analysis of Apple Inc.
As businesses are going global, they are taking every opportunity to streamline their processes and making them easier and more convenient in an attempt to become more competitive. Cloud computing is a technology that businesses can incorporate into their entrepreneurial system for better performance. It can be very beneficial for companies who use information systems in operating their businesses. Apple is involved in the designing, manufacturing and marketing of high-end technological applications like computers, mobile communications and digital music players, going by such brand names as the iPhone, iPad, Macintosh and iPod. The company further sells software, services, and accessories and apps, among others. The company operates in many regions across the world, including the Americas, Asia-Pacific and China.
Apple optimizes technology in its business operations, ensuring all its employees are enabled to work the way they want. The organization considers how mobile the world of business is becoming; creating products that give employees the infrastructure they need to be productive. For example, the company uses iOS for customized apps and other applications in the App Store, helping employees and clients to stay connected and share ideas anytime. Apple’s strength lies in its innovative technology. It advocates for research and development and have a significant number of talented employees focused on innovation. The organization has its own operating system it uses to manage and develop new products (Lehuan, Xuan, Danfei, Yongming, Hao & Changhua, 2011, p.5).
The company sells its digital content through the iTunes, App Store, iBook Store and Apple Music. It sells its products through online stores, Apple Stores and through direct sales to wholesalers, value added resellers and retailers. The company’s customers include retail consumers, government agencies, small and mid-sized businesses, enterprises and educational institutions. The new iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus come with advanced features like dust and water resistance and new camera systems. Apart from smartphones, there are several other electronic devices produced and sold by the company. The company produces tablets like the iPad mini and iPad Pro. Mac is the company’s line of computers, which include laptops and desktops. Apple TV connects televisions to digital content for streaming videos, playing games and music among others. It also allows users to search and access content using voice recognition. (Barrett, Davidson & Vargo, 2015, p.6).
The company’s software includes iLife, iWork and others like Logic Pro X. The iTunes Store is available on most Apple devices with the iOS, and their functions include allowing customers to buy and download music, TV shows and movies. Other software that allows customers to search, download and access content include Mac application, Apple music, TV App Store and iBook Store (Barrett, Davidson et al. 2015, p.7).
Apple’s newest service offering is the iCloud. iCloud is mainly used along with iOS devices to store photos, contacts, calendars and other data while keeping them up to date. Examples of iCloud services include the iCloud Drive and iCloud Photo Library. Apple has already started moving most of its S3 storage to the cloud platform. Apple has diversified its operations through the use of a wide range of internet services. Their new move to iCloud is a great one because it comes with many benefits which can help boost the company’s performance. The company plans to build more data centres to accommodate its rapidly growing need for storage and computing.
Types of Cloud Technologies
Cloud computing is rapidly becoming a standard strategy for technology companies. This form of computing enables businesses to use third party applications. Most importantly, it helps companies to be more efficient, saving on software and hardware used for various operations by enabling the remote use of such resources. Cloud computing increases the functionality of IT while limiting the need for additional software, workforce, training programs or the need to buy new infrastructure.
Location of the Cloud
This type of computing infrastructure is used and shared by many companies. It is hosted by a cloud vendor, and the companies do not have control over the management and hosting of the computing infrastructure (Harris 2009, p. 3). Examples of this infrastructure include Sun Cloud, Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) and Google’s AppEngine. Businesses find this type of cloud best for economies of scale. It is less costly because most set up costs are covered by the provider, with companies paying according to their capacity of use. It can however, be limiting to companies with sensitive data which requires more security (Almorsy, Grundy & Müller, 2016, p. 3).
This type of cloud infrastructure is used exclusively by individual companies. It is more secure than a public cloud but is more expensive to set up. It can either be an on-premise private cloud or externally hosted private cloud. The externally hosted private cloud is managed by a third party, making it cheaper (Harris 2009, p. 3). A Private cloud is essential to companies that want to take advantage of cloud architecture and still control its own data centre. Private clouds are typically used by large organizations with major security and compliance concerns.
Companies use hybrid clouds to migrate from private to public clouds whenever necessary easily. They, therefore, manage their own data centres in private clouds and rely on a public cloud when necessary. For example, some companies shift to public clouds during peak seasons to accommodate increases in computational requirements. This can also happen in instances of hurricane warnings or when servers are scheduled for maintenance. With hybrid clouds, businesses can cut down on cost at their convenience. However, the problem of recovering data quickly remains because maintaining a recovery site is very costly and mostly impossible for most organizations (Harris 2009, p. 5).
Benefits of the Locations to Apple Company
Since Apple is a huge business designing, manufacturing, and distributing their own products, it has the need for cloud services like storing sensitive data, selling their products and facilitating internal communication all around the world. All forms of cloud computing are therefore useful to the company. The company can develop in-house infrastructure for private clouds for security and compliance. They can also separately manage the other parts of business on the public cloud. A private cloud enables an organization to take full control of their data, since they have all they need for automation. For example, Mac cloud enables Apple to command, compute and control VMs. They can easily plan their value over a specified period. This is a clear sign of how specific types of clouds can be essential for certain parts of a business. Though clouds may be costly, the returns it provides are substantial. Customers can get services depending on their demand. For example, through Mac cloud, customers can obtain build servers by renting Mac Mini or Mac Pro. Private clouds can be valuable to Apple in developing and operating its products according to their customers’ needs.
For every business, the primary concern is the needs of the customers. Apple is not an exception, which is why public and hybrid clouds are used to fulfil their data requirements. This is why Apple has largely invested in their public cloud (which is easily accessible) to make it easy for their customers to obtain products. The company pays on a per use basis. However, this particular kind of cloud computing has become more problematic because of breaches in customer data. It is important that businesses use public clouds only for non-sensitive information. Hybrid clouds combine features of both private and public clouds while also providing extra security for business operations. Apple can make use of this infrastructure for parts of the business that can be operated from either cloud. As such, it will be able to shift easily from one functionality to another.
Classification According to Services Offered
- Software as a Service (SaaS)
In this service, a complete application is offered by the cloud provider. The provider serves multiple end users but only a single instance runs on the cloud for individual customers. This way, the customers do not need to invest in servers or licenses, while the provider’s costs are reduced because only one application is hosted and maintained.
- Platform as a Service(PaaS)
This service is similar to SaaS only that it is more advanced. Not all clouds are compatible and so with PaaS, providers offer a developing platform on-board the cloud. The service may come with an operating system, a graphic user interface and programming language. This service is essential for companies who want to develop and test cloud solutions for specific applications. It is hosted by the provider. PaaS offers a complete and fully-configured platform where customers can deploy solutions. Examples of players in PaaS are Microsoft Azure and Google App Engine.
- Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)
This kind of cloud infrastructure is the most popular among customers. When people think of cloud services, they think of IaaS. Users can get the service which they pay either per use, through subscription, measure on Salesforce. The service can even be for free (Hashem, Yaqoob et al. 2015, p 13). These applications are mainly used by businesses and can include web conferencing, email and project tracking. This is a well-established cloud service. Examples of the online providers include Salesforce.com, Google Gmail and Google docs.
Benefits of the Services to Apple Company
Apple’s need for storage increased with its growing business operations. Software as a Service has rapid scalability to meet such demand. The company can also access its data from any location on the internet. It can accommodate all customer services needed at any level and most importantly, the company does not have to worry about infrastructure, maintenance or support. On the other hand, if Apple makes use of PaaS, it will automatically be receiving updates of the infrastructure software and everything will be upgraded according to global needs. The company will save on costs as investment is catered upfront by the provider. Using IaaS, Apple can benefit from expert management and operations of application offered by the providers. The service is designed in a way that it ensures redundancy at any level, i.e. the customers do not lose services they have paid for at any given time. Further, through IaaS, the company can house a disaster recovery and keep watch of its critical data. This platform also reduces the cost of investment through ownership and upgrades.
One of the weaknesses of Apple is their limited distribution channels. With cloud computing, the company can diversify its distribution channels by making developments in their private clouds or making use of other developing new features of clouds. As people around the world increasingly use smartphones, there is an increasing need to access software through clouds. Customers can now purchase products easily through their devices. Additionally, the company can keep track of the issue of supplier pollution by following up on its scale of production and distribution processes through efficiently managed data centres for cloud computing. Most importantly, the company should take the advantage of every technological advancement in the world of business.
Cloud computing has provided many benefits to businesses. Apple and all other businesses with huge data needs and constant exchanges of information, can access data and manipulate it at all times. Since the company’s system can be accessed offsite, employees can work while away from the office –which increases efficiency and productivity. Cloud computing, therefore, makes businesses more mobile. The various offerings have made it easy for companies to deploy cloud computing at reduced costs. Apple is already utilizing benefits obtained from cloud computing through commercializing the Apple iCloud, which much more being available for the company’s use.
Apple, like other leading technology multinationals, has a lot of management operations in addition to the overwhelming needs of its large customer base. Cloud computing helps companies run efficiently by making data storage and management easy. However, some cloud locations expose companies to potential breaches of information. Cloud providers can improve the management of data by creating application solutions and tackle issues of security. Apple should use public cloud and hybrid clouds to cut on costs. Also, the company can collaborate with other companies within its industry to develop and use cloud applications. This will reduce costs and security issues.
Businesses in technology industries often face problems like supplier pollution. Through collaboration, Apple can find solutions to counter these weaknesses as they develop their cloud applications. Considering that Apple is increasingly taking advantage of cloud computing, it needs a workforce that is skilled in the field to ensure is the transition is easy and successful. As such, it is important that they train or hire staff so that they can take advantage of every IT opportunity that rises. As a model technology firm, Apple Inc. should invest more in the innovative deployment of cloud services in the different stages of its business, which includes manufacturing, marketing, distribution and direct sales.
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