Recent advances in server technology and the rise of cloud computing have led to a new innovation that business owners everywhere must know about. Cloud labs as a service are becoming more than just a buzzword, helping companies of all sizes build virtual environments to streamline workflows and provide better customer experiences.
Not enough organizations are taking advantage of cloud labs, so it’s important to study them and see how you can integrate them into your business practices.
What Are Cloud Labs?
Cloud labs are a versatile and configurable platform for businesses to create and use their own virtual sandbox environments online. They are typically sold through a Software-as-a-Service model, where a third-party provider handles all the infrastructure costs and sells the tools to the client business.
Some high-profile examples include AWS cloud labs, provided by Amazon, Google cloud labs, and Microsoft’s Azure cloud labs.
The Benefits of Cloud Labs
Why do so many businesses choose cloud labs over building virtual environments in-house? Having a third-party provider comes with several benefits:
- You’re offloading the cost of maintenance and upgrades to the provider.
- You access all the features from a convenient single sign-on portal.
- The solution is scalable to as many users you want from any location, as most cloud labs are accessible from a web browser.
- You have the option of integrating with a learning management system.
- Automated feedback and progress tracking help you tune your virtual environments to your liking.
Future developments in cloud labs that are already undergoing deployment include the use of artificial intelligence and machine learning.
Common Use Cases
Let’s look at some common fields where cloud labs can be useful. Companies everywhere are finding more creative ways to take advantage of virtual IT labs, so don’t think that other applications won’t be discovered in the future.
Proofs of Concept (POCs)
The first impression you make on a customer greatly determines how much that client will engage with your brand. Through a cloud POC, you can show how well your solution can integrate with your client’s working environment.
A cloud lab enables you to deliver excellent sales demos and proofs of concept by simulating the client’s working environment. The result is a direct showcase of how well your solution stacks up against the competition. Offering proofs of concept gives your customers a unique experience that will draw in their interest.
When developing software, you want to ensure that your final product will work in a variety of environments. An Android application, for instance, must work well on many different display resolutions and sizes.
How do you test so many parameters during development in a reasonable amount of time? The solution is a cloud lab, which is quick to deploy and configurable enough to accommodate a variety of test cases.
The use of the cloud for virtual training labs is becoming more commonplace as businesses blur the line between “textbook” knowledge and practical knowledge. Since experience is the only real teacher, building a training program that includes these real-world interactions is the best way to bring your employees, business partners, and customers up to speed.
Take virtual security cloud labs, for example. There is no better way to prepare for a real data breach than responding to a simulated one on a virtual machine. Cloud labs can get you up and running in minutes.
In today’s competitive environment, customers expect fast fixes during interactions with your support team. For your engineers to fix the problem quickly, they need to reproduce the client’s environment to find the cause. Cloud labs enable just that.