Amid COVID-19 Pandemic, as businesses are switching to work from home "offices", the cloud-based applications are surging and finding new credibility, for e.g. video conferencing, online grocery shopping, virtual reality apps, online education, online banking, online gambling to name a few.
Enterprises are now quickly realizing the value of cloud computing to manage daily operations. Not only enterprises, even Mom and Pop stores are acknowledging the importance of cloud computing. COVID-19 lock down has also put a lot of stress on cloud providers because of increase in streaming and online gaming. With this surge in usage and interest in the Cloud Computing, the obvious question comes to mind - Do the cloud providers have enough capacity to handle this surge?
If you look at current situation, the cloud servers are stressed by enterprises switching their business-critical services to cloud, increase in the number of people streaming movies and playing online video games. Theaters to museum to schools all are moving digital and this is happening across globe.
So far, the cloud providers are keeping up with the demand, they are expanding their capacity, but they also have finite limits based on their physical infrastructure and inventories. Remember, a cloud provider has to go through many hoops and compliance to expand an existing data center or build a new data-center specially in countries that has a lot of red-tapeism. What will happen when they hit this limit? How are they going to manage their resource sharing in a multi-tenant environment when the push comes to shove?
Currently in tri-state area which is the most affected area in US from COVID-19, the grocery stores have already imposed a limit of essential groceries for e.g. 1 pack toilet rolls or 1 gallon milk per family, with businesses having a little higher limit. It's a simple demand and supply rule. Though the cloud provider hasn't done this yet, but this kind of rationing and prioritizing will be coming soon if the situation doesn't improve. Will it make sense to prioritize the usage based on enterprises with mission critical applications or educational institutes providing online courses over the individual users like me publishing this blog or users binge watching or playing online games?
European Union has already asked companies like Netflix, Amazon and YouTube to use the telecommunications network more efficiently. In response Netflix has dropped video quality in Europe, UK and India in a way that would reduce its bandwidth usage by 25% and others followed suit.
The internet service providers already follow some rationing of bandwidth usage after the FCC put an end to net-neutrality. So, ISP's can block websites, throttle your connection, or charge certain websites more, as long as they disclose it.
I wouldn't be surprised if this type of Cloud Rationing or change in pricing policy comes to cloud computing across world if COVID-19 Pandemic isn't contained sooner.
Looking at the brighter side, it presents as good opportunity for cloud providers to analyze their infrastructure limits, document all the hiccups and develop some innovative solutions. This is not a drill, it's a real opportunity to learn, innovate and grow.
Another big question to ponder upon is to what will happen once we go back to "new business as usual". I bet, the enterprises will double down on Cloud Migration and it will create a second wave of post-pandemic surge.
Right now, the Cloud Computing is already probably the hottest field to get into for any technology professions. This Covid-19 Pandemic will cause another massive boom in cloud related jobs, especially Cloud Security, Cloud DevOps with multi-cloud experience, Architects and Cloud Computing Engineers. With everybody under lock-down and working from home, it's a good time to invest in cloud computing along with learning some new cloud skills to get into cloud technology and to advance your Cloud career.