Publication - Advice and guidance

Cloud primer

Published: 9 Jun 2020

An introduction to public cloud services for business audiences.

Cloud primer
How we design, build and operate services

Existing model

Our service and application development processes follow a product-focused approach. Developers use libraries and third-party software packages from a range of vendors to create applications and services.

New capabilities require your team to write code or install software packages to provide extended functionality. Each time you install new software, you assume responsibility for maintaining it. This increases your operational overheads and can often lead to technical debt if insufficient time is dedicated to maintaining your estate. Furthermore, it limits innovation because packages must be installed, tested and purchased prior to use.

Services are hosted on virtual servers on an organisation's internal virtual server platform, usually hosted within an on-premises datacentre. Provisioning and configuring new virtual servers is a manual task, and scaling to cope with production use often requires the manual duplication of existing servers to provide additional capacity - an effort that often results in errors.

Cloud service model

With cloud services, the complexity of the underlying infrastructure is hidden. This has resulted in a shift of responsibility, with the cloud service provider taking sole ownership of running the platform, leaving your organisation to focus on the configuration and operation of the services you need. When deploying services to the cloud, you may choose any number of deployment methods, including: running virtual servers, deploying database instances, deploying a serverless service architecture, or nearly any combination of these approaches.

Cloud services shift the focus from infrastructure and software, to data and code. The power of the public cloud is in the simple presentation of powerful, consumable services – continuously evolving building blocks - upon which to build innovative new cloud services with minimal effort, cost and complexity. Your developers are free to explore and test a rich array of cloud services and features without needing to purchase, install or maintain any of it. Instead, you pay for what they use on a granular and flexible pay-as-you-go model.

To obtain the greatest benefit from using public cloud services, you must approach cloud adoption in the understanding your existing services will likely need to be modernised to function effectively and efficiently. It can be tempting to consider lifting and shifting existing workloads into the cloud by implementing virtual servers – an Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) offering. This approach should be avoided in most cases because it is not cost-effective and doesn’t allow you to fully leverage the benefits inherent in the other cloud service models. 

The greatest efficiencies can be obtained through the effective implementation of Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) and Serverless offerings, where the burden of effort for maintenance and administration falls on the cloud service provider. With these offerings, features such as backup, logging and high availability are usually integrated into the platform, and can be configured at the service level.


Contact

Email: Cloud1st@gov.scot

Telephone: 0300 244 4000

Post:

Cloud First
Digital Transformation Division
Area 1H South
Victoria Quay
Edinburgh
EH6 6QQ