We are confident about how and why the Cloud offers ecommerce businesses resilience, scalability and cost effectiveness.

But, along with every innovation, a whole new vocabulary emerges, and ‘Cloud speak’ is developing fast!

We decided to take a look at current Cloud computing language and what it is telling us about the future.

For example, how do you feel about ‘public’ versus ‘private’ cloud solutions, ‘hybrid integration’, or making the most of application programming interfaces (APIs)?

Private cloud solutions

Let’s start with private cloud computing. It delivers similar advantages to the public cloud, but it’s dedicated to a single large organisation, which allocates part of its data centre to on-premises, or private, cloud capacity.

This is an expensive option, with the same overheads as traditional data centre ownership, plus private cloud expenses, including virtualisation, cloud software and management tools.

So why would you consider a private cloud solution?

If your ecommerce business depends on stringent security and very high levels of availability then direct control of your computing environment would be a very high priority, especially if your computing needs can vary dramatically throughout the year.

Cloud bursting

To mitigate the overheads there are providers who offer private cloud infrastructures such as IBM and OpenStack.

There are also options to use a mix of private and public cloud solutions.

Applications running in a private cloud environment can ‘burst’ into the public cloud when demand increases – unsurprisingly called ‘cloud bursting’.

It works well for handling non-sensitive data and applications that don’t depend on complex infrastructure or integration in your data centre.

Integrated cloud solutions

Hybrid integrated cloud solutions take a more strategic approach to achieving flexibility, coordinating a mix of private and public cloud services.

Microsoft Azure or IBM’s Bluemix, for example, offer integrated tools, pre-built templates and managed services to make it easier to build and manage enterprise systems, mobile and web services and the Internet of Things (IoT), allowing developers to work fast in familiar environments.

Combined with a network of secure private connections, hybrid databases and storage solutions, businesses can take advantage of the benefits of both private and public cloud solutions to fit exactly with their needs.

Shaking hands with APIs

Application programming interfaces (APIs) make the hybrid approach work, allowing systems to communicate with each other. They seamlessly allow secure access to services and data, wherever they are.

For example, your private cloud might host sensitive or critical functions while less-critical activities, such as testing and development, could be hosted on a public cloud. Sensitive sales data could be held internally with resource-hungry analytical queries running in the public cloud.

As well as making better use of resources, integration via APIs can also allow you to streamline workflow and reduce errors caused by manual interventions. So orders generated by customers in your online store could appear immediately in you inventory management system, hosted in your private cloud.

Be Cloud aware

Here’s something for you to consider. Cloud-aware application interface development.

If a hybrid integrated cloud solution could be in the future for your business, start designing your application interfaces to minimise potential portability issues now.

Treat everything as a service and make your applications into components that can be implemented, tested, and scaled separately. Make them independent of the underlying implementation, so that they are integration-ready.

Talk to our experts to find out how you can start developing ‘Cloud aware’ application interfaces for your ecommerce systems.