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PRODUCT SHOWCASE Accelerating business value and agility with the cloud By Greg Richards, Itron By 2017, Gartner expects adoption of cloud computing to hit $250 billion, with the worldwide software as a service (SaaS) market growing at an astounding rate of 20.2% every year 1 . More than 90% of workloads will be processed by cloud data centres by 2020, according to Cisco 2 . Today, chief information officers (CIOs) no longer ask whether they should use the cloud, but rather how they can best take advantage of cloud services. Cloud computing is becoming more prevalent across all industries, including the utility industry. Utilities’ needs are evolving, and consumers are now demanding new services and offerings faster and at a lower cost. Faster innovation at lower cost with higher quality requires a new way of thinking. It requires new processes and methodologies. It requires a shift to cloud computing. The cloud’s on-demand computing and standardised tools make it simpler for utilities to run their operations without having to devote resources to building and maintaining IT hardware and software. The cloud is faster, more reliable and lower cost – and is key to utility efficiency. Faster time to innovation storage and other required infrastructure. The cloud also enables software development on a platform-as-a-service (PaaS). Mainstream cloud providers also offer developers a tremendous amount of 'micro-services' that are pre-developed and pre-integrated. This eliminates the need to build these services individually, improves quality and enables agile software development, continuous software delivery and a true DevOps approach to the software lifecycle. Continuous delivery of software promotes adaptive planning, evolutionary development, early delivery and continuous improvement, and it encourages rapid and flexible response to change. DevOps is a model that brings together technology developers, testers, support personnel and operations staff to enable continuous development, integration, deployment and feedback. Continuous software delivery is the ability to deploy enhancements and bug fixes into production, or into the hands of users, safely and quickly in a sustainable, ongoing way. A cloud platform is essential to enabling this process of rapid innovation and improvement. The most often-cited rationale for cloud adoption is accelerating time to value. The speed of innovation with cloud computing puts traditional software development at a serious competitive disadvantage. Software applications can be developed more quickly and reliably in a cloud environment. For utilities, this means being able to rollout the software features they need and the features their customers demand in months instead of years. Higher reliability Cloud platforms provide an immediate and essentially unlimited number of servers, The cloud provides highly available, scalable and durable storage, backup METERING INTERNATIONAL ISSUE – 6 | 2016 Moreover, the cloud allows utilities to quickly aggregate disparate data from multiple sources to enhance analytic outcomes. Cloud computing is often far more secure than traditional computing..." and recovery capabilities. It is globally accessible from the office or in the field and supports a virtually unlimited number of concurrent users of different personas in different organisations across the utility. Cloud service providers maintain the infrastructure and perform routine maintenance, patching, load balancing and health monitoring for continuous availability. Cloud service providers also bring their massive economies of scale in the areas of technology procurement and IT security. This allows utilities to focus on running their operations rather than managing and 23