Cloud Computing in the Financial Industry

Guest Post by Dev Ops Engineer: Cetin Guzel

Cloud Computing has been around for almost two decades, Google CEO Eric Schmidt first introduced it at a conference on August 9, 2006.

What is the Cloud? and how can it impact the financial industry? The Cloud is practically the internet. 

Like using a computer remotely, if data is stored in The Cloud, it just means its on another computer without having to save them in your hard drive. In the Cloud, there are providers. The most popular ones are AWS (Amazon Web Services), Google Cloud, Microsoft Azure, and Salesforce. These Providers are capable of Cloud Storage, Web Server/ Application server hosting, Route 53 (for AWS) to purchase a domain, and many more features to help get your business out there. An example of a company that entirely runs on the Cloud is Snapchat. Have you ever signed in to your account on another phone and notice you still have memories? That is because your photos aren’t just saved on your phone; they are in the Cloud. Snapchat is used on AWS’s EKS (Elastic Kubernetes Service), a container orchestration tool. You can deploy a bunch of fully built application servers using only a few code lines called Deployments, which are written in a Deployment.YAML Files Also, if a server has too much traffic, you can apply a load balancer that redirects the traffic from one server to another on your website or application. No big company website or app only has one virtual machine running their stuff; it multiple, running the same content. 

  80 % of the S&P 500 use AWS as their primary cloud platform for hosting their websites and applications. Another company that uses AWS to host its application is Robinhood. The company uses AWS to operate its online business and works to deliver and update its mobile trading app to store customer information and trading data securely. Robinhood also provides accurate chart analysis. As stated on The Cloud allows businesses to utilize tools available on one console without building an infrastructure manually. One cloud enterprise company is Phunware ($PHUN: NYSE), which wants to take on the cloud industry by bringing what AWS and Google Cloud do to the mobile scene. The Cloud does not seem to be going anywhere. I went to school in Chicago, IL, to study cloud computing at an engineer’s level and am currently trying to find employment in this field. Most of the Virtual machines that are powering these servers are operated on the Operating system called Linux. Linux is an open-source OS, which means free. The only thing you pay for when running your infrastructure is the tools you utilize and the CPU of the VM you are running. In a nutshell, the cloud computing industry will be here for a long duration and profitable as an industry.

In AWS, Ec2 Instances are virtual machines. VMs can run on any OS. There two types of EC2 Instances you can buy. First are On-Demand Instances. How On-Demand instances work is that you pay for computing capacity by the hour or the second, depending on which models you run. Longer-term commitments or upfront payments are not required. You can increase or decrease your computing capacity depending on your application’s demands and only pay the specified per hourly rates for the instance you use. Amazon EC2 Spot instances allow you to request spare Amazon EC2 computing capacity for up to 90% off the On-Demand price. But here’s the catch, it’s rental space by auction, anybody at any time while you are using the VM can outbid you. Spot Instances are used for temporary emergencies, such as SSHing into your network server infrastructure without having to leave an On-Demand one running. Or to host fast servers on your application utilizing fewer recourses for cost efficiency.

Here are the rates at which AWS Charges for the size of their Virtual Machine EC2 Instances.

Autoscaling is one of the key features in a Kubernetes cluster. It is a feature where the cluster can increase the number of nodes as the demand for service response increases. More people are trying to sign in, access the application, and make buy or sell purchases or trades, and the capability to decrease the number of nodes as the requirement decreases. When there isn’t much activity on a server, scale it down to utilize less than necessary resources making it more cost-efficient. This feature of auto-scaling is currently supported in Google Cloud Engine (GCE) and Google Container Engine (GKE) as well as Amazon Web Services (AWS), developing their own called Elastic Kubernetes Service (EKS).

Here is a simple example of a mini infrastructure for what a simple application may be built like.

The technology used in iCloud, for example, is used mainly for storage. Apple uses their CloudKit Database server to host its storage space virtually. Amazon Web Services (AWS) are used to power Apple’s services, including iCloud, and its monthly payments to the retail giant are now said to be more than $30 million. So, pretty much most of the money you are paying for iCloud storage is going straight to Amazon. Amazon has an arsenal of databases ranging from Redis (A Non-SQL DataBase), MySQL, PostgreSQL, MariaDB. OracleDB, Amazon Aurora, etc. Data storage is essential, especially with confidential or financial information that you would like to keep locked up in an ultra-secure SELinux enabled database server. Backing up data is a top priority for companies like Amazon and Apple, also in the company I currently work on projects with NesTECH LLC, where I specialized in Linux, Network Administration, and Data security/backup.

Microsoft is also very involved in cloud technology with Microsoft Azure. Xbox is attempting to bring gaming to the Cloud. Like Netflix does with movies, Xbox wants to produce Project XCloud, and better yet, it’s mobile. Where players can purchase an Xbox game pass ultimate membership for $14/MO, they can stream a select few games for now, but they are paving the way for the future is not having to download games on a hard drive, making the number of games you can own potentially endless, and of course, we don’t have to worry about a disc getting scratched anymore its 2021.

Some stocks I would recommend personally are Amazon AWS ($AMZN: NYSE), Google ($GOOGL: NYSE), Microsoft ($MSFT: NYSE), Phunware ($PHUN: NYSE), BlueCity ($BLCT: NYSE), Dell Technologies Inc. ($DELL: NYSE) DataDog ($DDOG: NYSE)

Cloud Computing is the very thing as to why these giants are the way that they are. The Cloud has been able to take businesses to heights never before seen in humanity’s history, and it isn’t going anywhere. Any company involved with the Cloud is a substantial investment for significant Mid-Long term gains.

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