CloudJune 20, 2022

What is cloud computing?

Cloud computing enables businesses and consumers to buy computing resources such as software and storage as a service, and only pay for what they need.
Avatar Rebecca Lambert
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If you’ve ever saved your photos to somewhere like iCloud, Google Drive or Dropbox, or used an online email service like Gmail, Outlook or AOL, even if you don’t realize it you’re likely familiar with the virtues of cloud computing. As consumers, we’ve grown used to the daily convenience of cloud connectivity. We stream our TV shows and music over the internet; we access a constant flow of updates over social media; and our cars deliver seamless, wireless connectivity on the road. All these capabilities are only possible because of the power of the cloud.

Cloud computing enables businesses and consumers to buy computing resources such as software and storage as a service, and only pay for what they need. These services tend to be delivered via three different models:

  • Software as a service (SaaS): on-demand access to software delivered and managed via a third-party over the internet
  • Platform as a service (PaaS): on-demand access to a cloud-hosted platform delivered and managed by a third-party
  • Infrastructure as a service (IaaS): on-demand access to the entire IT infrastructure, where all physical and virtual servers, storage, networking and security is delivered and managed by a third party.

How does cloud computing work?

The concept of cloud computing isn’t new. MIT Technology Review dates the term back to the 1960s but explained that it only began to take off more recently, in the mid 2000s, when companies like Microsoft, Google and Amazon used the term “cloud computing” to describe a new IT business model. At this point, people began accessing software, data and computing power over the internet instead of downloading programs onto their internal servers and desktops.  

Cloud computing allows people to accessing software, data and computing power over the internet instead of downloading programs onto their internal servers and desktops.

By accessing and consuming computer services in this way, users benefit from greater agility, flexibility, scalability and significant cost savings. They don’t have to cover the costs for maintaining IT assets they don’t need all the time. And if they do want to tap into more computing resource or add new capabilities, they can scale up instantly.

The 3DS perspective

All 12 brands in the Dassault Systèmes software portfolio, including CATIA, ENOVIA, DELMIA and SIMULIA, are available on the cloud via the 3DEXPERIENCE platform.

Our customers can buy subscriptions to take advantage of industry-specific applications covering all disciplines to enable seamless collaboration from design and engineering to simulation, production and beyond. Users benefit from the 3DEXPERIENCE platform’s powerful capabilities, safe in the knowledge they can securely access everything they need over the internet at any time on all types of devices including laptops and smartphones.

Why cloud computing matters

For startups, the cloud is a critical enabler for quickly getting a business off the ground, delivering access to enterprise-level IT without the upfront investment.

Indian startup Simple Energy needed to move fast to bring its innovative scooter to market. It used the 3DEXPERIENCE Cloud platform to support all its design and development processes and build a scooter from the ground up in record time. New space startup Interstellar Lab uses the 3DEXPERIENCE Cloud platform to connect its global team. Everyone can maintain a single source of truth as they work round the clock developing futuristic BioPods, designed to sustain life on other planets.

Larger businesses like Bouygues Construction are benefit from putting a cloud strategy at the heart of their digital transformation journeys. Using the 3DEXPERIENCE platform lets everyone connect remotely and securely from wherever they’re working to access whatever information they need.

How the cloud enables business continuity

From the earliest days of the COVID-19 pandemic, cloud computing provided a vital lifeline for companies around the world. Cloud access allowed businesses to continue operating almost seamlessly even after corporate offices shut down. Before widespread adoption of cloud computing, an unprecedented crisis like this would have brought business processes and productivity to a grinding halt.

Team meetings now regularly take place online through cloud-based tools. Workers can securely connect to the business network through their home broadband on their own devices and access all the information they need. And when you contact a customer service department or contact center, you could well be speaking to a representative from their home office.

Businesses are increasingly using cloud computing for their core processes, too, including product lifecycle management (PLM) and enterprise resource planning (ERP). Legacy on-premise software typically requires costly resources to deploy and maintain, and tends not to offer the agility or innovation capabilities that companies need to compete in today’s market.

Cloud-based solutions change this. They help companies move products from design to manufacturing at a speed and scale previously unseen before. Unified within a single, connected environment, all stakeholders can work together, at any time and in any place, benefiting from full visibility of every stage of the product development lifecycle, encouraging greater collaboration and innovation.

Research by Gartner suggests that enterprise IT spending on public cloud computing will overtake spending on traditional IT by 2025, driven by demand for integration capabilities, agile work processes and composable architecture (modular setups). Now, it seems, the benefits of moving to the cloud far outweigh any concerns that have previously held businesses back. Are you ready to make the shift?

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