A Dealer's Guide To Navigating Cloud Technology

Navigating Cloud Technology EBook

The automotive industry is evolving – from the convergence of digital retailing to dealership operations changing overnight to the evolution of technology solutions to handle it all. This led many dealers to question the best way to safeguard their data while scaling for maximum productivity and profitability.

We put this guide together to help you determine the right cloud solution for this next phase in automotive retail. In it, we define the different types of cloud platforms, compared with traditional systems, the advantages of each platform, and share how automotive leaders are currently using cloud technology to improve their business operations. Ultimately, it’s designed to empower you to take back control and accelerate your dealership into the next generation.

Quick Access Through Guide

Download eBook

What Is Cloud Technology?

Simply put, cloud technology is a service or product that is stored, used, and updated over the internet.

Digging deeper, the cloud can be complex with multiple classifications. To help you better understand the differences, below are a few basic descriptions:

Cloud-Native

These applications are built (or “born”) in the cloud and deployed in the cloud, genuinely accessing the power of cloud infrastructure. This best-in-class option allows dealers to take full advantage of all that cloud has to offer.

Cloud Applications

These are software solutions for end-users that can be accessed and used via the cloud. This means applications in the cloud are both location-independent and computer-independent.

Cloud-Enabled

These are initially developed applications for use in a conventional data center but have since been moved to the cloud. Typically legacy and enterprise software. This “lift and shift” strategy is a low-cost way to take advantage of the cloud for software providers.

Cloud-Based

These services or applications are delivered over the internet. It’s a general term applied loosely to any number of cloud offerings.

Cloud vs. Legacy Infrastructure

Say goodbye to a whole lot of hardware and software. Your applications are up in the air. With cloud technology, you and your employees—and customers—can get the information they need precisely when they need it—with no interruptions, delays, or service downtime.

FeaturesCloud-Native DMSTraditional / On-Premise DMS
InfrastructureNo on-site infrastructure, removing the need for IT and maintenanceOn-site servers required, taking up dealership space and resources
CapacityScales up automatically during peak hours to meet capacity needsBuilt for the worst-case scenario and cannot scale beyond that without expensive upgrades
DeliverySoftware updates implemented immediatelyServer updates require application changes and longer test cycles
RecoveryRapid response for native, automatic disaster recoveryNeed hours or days of prep time to handle disaster recovery and servers at other locations
Geographic ReachLeverage closest data center for faster service and optimal performanceDependent on server location, which can impact performance speed
AccessibilityWeb-based application that’s accessible anywhere without VPNVPN required to access, limiting off-site and
remote connection

Not All Clouds Are Alike

While the term “cloud” can refer to any number of solutions or applications that exist online, there is a world of different options surrounding that. Let’s look at three primary platform types and their advantages.

Private Cloud

This consists of cloud computing resources used exclusively by one business. The private cloud can be physically located at your dealership’s onsite data center or hosted by a third-party service provider. However, the services and infrastructure are maintained on a private network, and the hardware and software are dedicated solely to your dealership.

The advantages of a private cloud platform include:

  • More flexibility — your dealership can customize the cloud environment to meet specific business needs.
  • More control — resources are not shared with others, so higher control and privacy levels are possible.
  • More scalability — private clouds often offer more scalability compared to on-premises infrastructure.

Public Cloud

You share the same hardware, storage, and network devices with other businesses or cloud “tenants,” and you access services and manage your account using a web browser. Public cloud deployments are frequently used to provide web-based email, online office applications, storage, and testing and development environments.

The advantages of a public cloud platform include:

  • High reliability — a vast network of servers ensures against failure.
  • No maintenance — your service provider provides the maintenance.
  • Lower costs — pay only for the service you use; no need to purchase hardware or software.
  • Near-unlimited scalability — on-demand resources are available to meet your dealership needs.

Hybrid Cloud

This is an in-between solution. It’s yours, but it’s connected to the public cloud. Your data can be stored in a big data center using their storage facility, with the option to have a private cloud.

The advantages of a hybrid cloud platform include:

  • Control — your organization can maintain a private infrastructure for sensitive assets or workloads that require low latency.
  • Flexibility — you can take advantage of additional resources in the public cloud when you need them.
  • Cost-effectiveness — with the ability to scale to the public cloud, you pay for extra computing power only when needed.
  • Ease — transitioning to the cloud doesn’t have to be overwhelming because you can migrate gradually, phasing in workloads over time.

Cloud-Native vs Cloud-Enabled

There is a lot of confusion between cloud-native and cloud-enabled. While cloud-enabled means the platform or software can be modified for cloud compatibility, cloud-native means it was created to work in the cloud since its inception. That characteristic is what truly separates cloud-native solutions from the pack.

Cloud-Native

Cloud-Enabled

Designed from the start to work on the cloud so it is fully-scalable and accessible.

Design

Designed to use on an on-premise server or data center. It can be modified to use cloud compatibility and functioning.

Developed using programming languages optimized specifically for the cloud (micro-services).

Architecture

Developed using traditional architectures optimized for on-premise operation.

Highly scalable. Automatically scales up or down as needed with no disruptions.

Scalability

Limited scalability. Capacity is increased using a manual and error-prone process.

Faster. No hardware or software configurations are required when deploying new services.

Deployment

Slower. The hardware needs to be configured for the specific installation environment.

Ensures 99.9% uptime via scalable architecture and capability to withstand heavy workload capacity at all times.

Uptime

Cloud-enabled applications can also ensure great uptime but the lack of dynamic scalability makes them less preferable.

Easy. Requires little to no effort. Updates automated without software downtime.

Maintenance

Manual upgrades. May require fault and discrepancy checking, causing service disruption.

More affordable. No hardware or software investments.

Cost

Costlier. Requires infrastructure upgrades to meet changes.

Design

Cloud-Native

Designed from the start to work on the cloud so it is fully-scalable and accessible.

Cloud-Enabled

Designed to use on an on-premise server or data center. It can be modified to use cloud compatibility and functioning.

Architecture

Cloud-Native

Developed using programming languages optimized specifically for the cloud (micro-services).

Cloud-Enabled


Developed using traditional architectures optimized for on-premise operation.

Scalability

Cloud-Native

Highly scalable. Automatically scales up or down as needed with no disruptions.

Cloud-Enabled

Limited scalability. Capacity is increased using a manual and error-prone process.

Deployment

Cloud-Native

Faster. No hardware or software configurations are required when deploying new services.

Cloud-Enabled

Slower. The hardware needs to be configured for the specific installation environment.

Uptime

Cloud-Native

Ensures 99.9% uptime via scalable architecture and capability to withstand heavy workload capacity at all times.

Cloud-Enabled

Cloud-enabled applications can also ensure great uptime but the lack of dynamic scalability makes them less preferable.

Maintenance

Cloud-Native

Easy. Requires little to no effort. Updates automated without software downtime.

Cloud-Enabled

Manual upgrades. May require fault and discrepancy checking, causing service disruption.

Cost

Cloud-Native

More affordable. No hardware or software investments.

Cloud-Enabled

Costlier. Requires infrastructure upgrades to meet changes.

Key Benefits Of Choosing Cloud-Native Solutions

As we continue to accelerate the pace of digital retailing, the cloud will play a critical role in ushering in this next phase. By choosing cloud-native technologies, you can modernize your dealership with more secure, mobile and efficient processes. This shift towards modern solutions will be paramount in helping you take back control and adapt as the industry evolves.

Security

The cloud backs up all of your data with immediate disaster recovery, providing you with access at all times to ensure business continuity. Security updates and patching are implemented regularly and in real-time without disruption or downtime. In addition, cloud-native technology offers encryption, deterrent, and compliance to prevent issues in the first place.

Flexibility

Cloud solutions can be securely accessed anywhere there’s internet or hotspot, without VPN requirements. Because cloud-native technology is designed for the cloud and easily accessible through a web browser, dealers can leverage those applications on any mobile device in any location.

Efficiency

The nature of the cloud means you take (and pay) for only what you need. This is made possible through immediate, automatic scale up and down, which keeps up with your dealership’s changing demands without the extra cost.

Resiliency

Cloud-native solutions are robust and always on, making disruption virtually unnoticeable. The software stays online as individual issues are addressed, so you don’t compromise on the user or customer experience.

Cost-Effectiveness

Cloud solutions come with professional staff, advanced security systems, and cutting-edge hardware and software - saving time and money from maintaining the system yourself.