The business world has adopted cloud computing as a way to increase operational efficiency, but it can also be a tool for improving customer experience. The recent successes of the ecommerce industry serves as a good indicator of the potential for convenient, online shopping – in addition to breaking several shopping records over the 2012 holiday season, online retailers recently reached the milestone of $1 trillion in sales. Many of those successes have cloud storage to thank for providing a backbone from which to launch content-filled product pages and videos, but the cloud’s role in ecommerce extends beyond basic infrastructure. 

Domino’s has expanded the portfolio of cloud delivery services by enabling customers to order pizza through Android and iOS apps. contributor Dan Worth noted that the cloud is ideal for the restaurant’s online traffic, which understandably peaks between 5 and 9 p.m. due to the dinner rush. Because the software is backed by the cloud, Domino’s can easily provision resources to handle the spikes in traffic and scale down to accommodate lower usage rates outside of the dinner rush. While it remains to be seen whether the “pizza-as-a-service” model for ordering food catches on, Domino’s has achieved significant efficiencies by backing its applications with the technology.

“Before Christmas when the weather was bad we knew sales would increase and we would need more capacity,” said Domino’s CIO Colin Rees, according to the news source. “So we doubled the processors we were utilizing in the servers overnight and could prove that the increase was necessary given the sales we processed, which would have proven too great if we’d left the capacity levels as they were the day before.”

The implementation has allowed for significant savings in infrastructure management, but it is missing a few traditional cloud features, Worth reported. For instance, Quocirca analyst Clive Longbottom noted a lack of auto-scaling functionality that would eliminate the need to manually provision extra capacity and be better positioned to scale to unexpected traffic spikes. He pointed out that a true cloud implementation would provide greater flexibility and higher return on investment in the long term.

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