First of all, lets define what an elastic infrastructure is. The idea is that infrastructure is able to scale up and down seamlessly and without human intervention. Amazon are the biggest advocate of this due to their huge amount of storage and processing power. Their global storage capacity is bigger than the next five biggest companies combined.
The best way to understand how it works is to look at a case study, Netflix!
Netflix utilises huge amounts of data globally. When it launches a television new series, it often does it globally. However, although they can predict popularity and in turn processing requirements, they can’t know it’s popularity until it is available.
Netflix therefore entrust this to Amazon Web Services (AWS). AWS can scale up and down to an almost infinite amount almost without a single dependence.
Telecoms is starting (slowly) to take advantage of this type of architecture, with one or two manufacturers now on an elastic infrastructure platform. It means that manufacturers simply upload their software onto the AWS platform, pick their geographic area of availability and then can in theory sell solutions anywhere in the world.
This brings benefit to customers, some of which may have peaks and troughs in workload or want an infrastructure with on/off buttons for certain features. For example, you may want to sell a new product which requires a contact centre, you can therefore buy 10 licences for a contact centre system without any of the usual set-up costs. Simply use the contact centre application from a browser, point your sales number to the AWS platform and it’s live. Sales not going very well, reduce the number of licences to 4 in a single month and only pay for what you use.
This type of solution obviously has advantages to the manufacturers as well. No longer do they need big factories to build servers and a distribution network spanning the globe.
So the upshot is that there are benefits for everyone and this in turn should reduce costs to the end customer. So far however this is not the case, as with all new innovations it takes time for the market to get on board and costs to be driven down but watch this space because change is coming!