Case studies

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It would appear that we have reached the limits of what it is possible to achieve with computer technology, although one should be careful with such statements, as they tend to sound pretty silly in five years.

John Von Neumann, mathematician and
pioneering computer scientist, 1949

Von Neumann, genius though he was, would surely be amazed at what we are doing with computers today! This chapter includes two exclusive cloud computing case studies – one from a small company, Department 83, and one long case study from a large organization, the Open University – to illustrate the fact that size matters when it comes to making important decisions about cloud computing. But, before I get to the exclusive case studies, I have reproduced, in summary form, a number of other examples of success stories for organizations in the cloud, which I sourced from the web. These case studies cover the three cloud computing service models: Software as a Service (SaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS) and Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS).

To demonstrate the broad appeal of cloud computing, and to help you find a case study you can relate to in this chapter, I have listed below the sectors that are covered by these SaaS, PaaS and IaaS case studies:

  • Charity – Oxfam America (PaaS);
  • Education – The Open University (SaaS);
  • Financial services – SunTrust Bank (SaaS);
  • Media – The Guardian Media Group (SaaS); and the New York Times (IaaS);
  • Professional services – Department 83 (SaaS);
  • Retail – Alliance Boots (SaaS);
  • Software services – LinkedIn (IaaS); and FinancialForce.com (PaaS).