The scope of cloud computing is truly amazing, especially when you consider that it is a relatively new technology. The ability to store information and access it from anywhere and at any time is remarkable, and it’s been revolutionary for business.
It allows for the kinds of business models that simply were not possible before its advent and enables companies to leverage technological prowess that had once been limited to huge research labs with super computers.
Today we look at two companies that leverage the cloud—specifically IBM’s SoftLayer cloud infrastructure—to empower their businesses.
The first is Drawing Board Events, a cloud-based platform that is being developed as a marketplace to connect event organisers and service providers and to allow them to transact. The site caters to anyone hosting an event—from a small birthday party to a large wedding or corporate function. From the user’s perspective, Drawing Board Events takes the stress out of event planning by providing an extensive, user-reviewed directory of vendors, from which customers may request multiple quotes from as many vendors as they like, in a single e-form.
From venues and photographers to novelty services, Drawing Board Events has compiled a large and growing list of vendors for any occasion.
Sounds simple right? But where, you may ask, does the cloud come in? Well, the thing about sites such as these, according to Terence Woo, the company’s Managing Director, is that “the industry within which we operate (provision of events services) is highly competitive and has traditionally been slow to innovate. This is due to the industry being a collection of many sub-industries (photography, restaurants, etc.) as opposed to a single vertical market.”
In order to collect information on all the sub-industries, vast databases have to be kept and maintained, and these databases can be stored, computed, and managed easily via the cloud. Sometimes the computing and storage needs fluctuate, and because the cloud is scalable, it allows a company to add or to subtract the amount of storage they need when and where they require it.
Drawing Board Events needs powerful servers to handle its database workloads, as well as a cloud environment that was flexible enough to scale with its business. For these reasons, it chose SoftLayer, an IBM Company, for its cloud infrastructure.
Another company that is successfully leveraging the cloud is Graymatics, a Singaporean and American company that has developed a scalable cloud platform for automatic real-time analysis and classification of videos and images. This allows content owners and managers, including Internet service providers, Internet portals, e-commerce companies and mobile carriers, to better monetise and organise their image and video content through content-based search, curation and ads and also enable web, smartphone and SmartTV applications.
Rachita Kumar from Graymatics’ Business Development shares, “Many large carriers, service providers, surveillance, Internet and digital media companies are using Graymatics’ platform to allow them to understand their audience better and to offer services that are more in tune with their audiences’ demands.”
The company also looks through the millions of images uploaded to the net every day, and using sophisticated algorithms and image and video matching technology, the company removes offensive images and videos, so they are not shown to general public.
A business like this requires very intense computing. After all, the company has to go through millions of files, run them through a filter and pick out offending media. This is not the kind of thing a simple server rack can handle. They needed their own dedicated server farm running top-of-the-line specs. The nature of the business also means that the server farm must be cloud-based to allow for the same algorithms and processes to function with equal efficiency no matter where the content is located.
These unique requirements are the main reason it went with SoftLayer. Gayathri Balasubramanian, Program Manager at Graymatics shares, “Graymatics needs the power of bare metal for processing high workloads of training and detection processes in computer vision and machine learning. SoftLayer’s offerings are a good match for these needs.”
She went on to add, “SoftLayer also provides bare metal instances with and without GPUs, and these instances can be configured to a great extent. The other reasons we are running our infrastructure on SoftLayer are its high network connectivity and availability in Singapore. The bare metal GPU instances speed up the machine-learning processes by a great extent by providing multiple GPUs of current-generation Keplers. We also use the flexibility of hourly and monthly instances for batch or on-demand tasks.”
With both Drawing Board Events and Graymatics, we see two very different companies leveraging the strengths of the cloud, namely its adaptable and customisable nature, to create true next-gen businesses.
This article has been created in partnership with SoftLayer, an IBM company that provides cloud infrastructure as a service. SoftLayer recently organised the SoftLayer Asia Roadshow, a five-city tour across Asia that saw mentors coaching developers on successful business applications of cloud technology.