Can cloud computing sustain the remote working surge?

With most of the global, white-collar workforce now remotely, cloud technology has been many businesses' savior. In one way or another, these services are enabling people to interact with one another, and access the tools they need to do their job.

The COVID-19 pandemic is somewhat of a stress test for cloud computing.

While there has long been a mass migration to cloud services by degrees between businesses, the demands of the crisis have certainly seen a recent spike. With an end nowhere in sight, can they cope with this massive workload in the long run?

Cloud-based collaboration tool Microsoft Teams has already shown the strain its under with multiple reports of “messaging-related functionality problems” due to increased workload being managed in the backend.

Chances are that most organizations will be utilizing public cloud at some level. Affordability, scalability and ease of maintenance make it very appealing as a first-line solution.

Some rely entirely on it, and others deploy it together with private clouds to create a hybrid cloud strategy.

But using public clouds has its drawback. There is, of course, the issue of security for one, but during these times, there is also the issue of capabilities.

It might be limited – more connections mean more data center usage, and data center infrastructures might not be able to cope with this surging demand.

Even as the electronics supply chain in China and Korea is slowly recovering, there are already signs of shortages and higher prices for data center's memory and storage products.

There are also concerns about data rationing.

Currently, cloud providers are still doing a good job in distributing resources among tenants, but at some point rationing measures may need to be implemented to respond to overwhelming demand.

Not all cloud services are going to drown though. Matthew Prince, co-founder and CEO of Cloudflare, said that providers may have “individual challenges spurred by the pandemic” – their ability to cope with the shift in usage is highly dependent on their IT architecture.

Major cloud providers such as Amazon have expressed confidence in meeting customer demand for capacity.

By and large,  public cloud providers seem to be coping well with the skyrocketing demand – there has yet to be any issues of major cloud crashes just yet.

What providers should really be concerned about is the challenges that will come post-pandemic.

By then, enterprises would have already recognized the unquestionable value of cloud, and will double down on cloud migrations.

Cloud providers must make sure that their data infrastructure is prepared to support data at unprecedented scales.

Warren Buffet once remarked: “you will only find out who is swimming naked when the tide goes out.”

The collateral impact of COVID-19 has already shown some cloud service providers haven't been wearing the most snug of swimwear and, as businesses realize the value of cloud can have on their businesses now, they better be ready to accommodate more business in the post-pandemic .

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