The last five years have seen hundreds of enterprises and many small and medium-sized businesses hop on board the cloud juggernaut. Unmatched scalability, lower cost of ownership, and delegation of all the IT management and maintenance hassles — all have combined to make cloud-based storage and applications a matter of business necessity, more than a source of competitive advantage.
Forecasts from major consultancy firms, Deloitte and Gartner included, point to the fact that for the coming years, the rate of adoption is sustainable, and cloud computing will witness more investment from IT giants, and more adoption from businesses. Kind of like we will continue to see more “Transformer” movies made because they are that incredible!
In parallel, these market experts, along with stakeholders from the IT industry and enterprises across the globe, are in agreement that there’s an undeniable wave of transformation and progress taking shape, and will soon hit the shores hard. This metaphorical wave is best understood as the sum total of distinct trends in cloud computing that are shaping the industry. Let’s understand these trends better, which can help you align your IT cloud strategies.
5 IT cloud strategies
Surge in popularity of co-location services
In the past couple of years, several enterprises have let go of their datacenters, preferring the undeniable advantages of cloud computing services instead. For those that are in the middle of this transition, or feel the need to test the waters of cloud computing, co-location services have emerged as a salient option.
Digital Reality and Equinix are two vendors that have done particularly well in this space. These, and similar service providers, offer managed datacenters to SMBs and enterprises. This allows CIOs to benefit from the connectivity to several public cloud and SaaS services without having to take the tough decision of choosing a long-term cloud service provider.
Effectively, a co-location service gives CIOs the flexibility of being able to request connections with any cloud service provider, enabling them to test services from cloud giants such as Google Cloud, Amazon AWS, Azure, and others. This also paves the way for businesses to realize a multicloud strategy.
Hyperconvergence in the private cloud
It’s interesting how a plenitude of enterprises have chosen the cloud because of lack of trust in the security of their own on-premises technologies, and after the transition, have to deal with the reality that their business data rests with a third-party vendor in the public cloud services’ domain.
Hyperconvergence in private cloud emerges as a solution. Now, private cloud also needs standardization, automation, resource monitoring, self-service, and virtualization, just like the public cloud. Because managing all these capabilities and knitting them into a coherent unit is tough for businesses, hyperconvergence emerges as an IT cloud strategies option.
Hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI) helps by offering pre-integrated storage, computing, and networking resources to enable businesses to set up cloud implementations quicker than ever. Particularly for workloads that require automated and fast scale up, HCI is a sound option. Increasingly, businesses are liking the idea of purchasing dozens of HCI boxes, giving themselves the flexibility of building hybrid clouds that work pretty much like public clouds.
Emergence of hybrid IT cloud strategies
Gartner very confidently predicts that by 2020, “a corporate ‘no-cloud’ policy will be as rare as a ‘no-Internet’ policy is today.” Many large enterprises choose to stick with their “no cloud” stance, and have done so till now. However, “cloud first” — and perhaps “cloud only”— will become the key phrases going forward. Many such “no cloud” enterprises, in fact, already have lesser known or camouflaged cloud-based applications in play.
Increasingly, the “no cloud” stance will become more untenable. In such a scenario, hybrid cloud strategies are emerging across the globe, in different forms.
IT leaders can help businesses decide which applications should go to the public cloud, which systems are best suited for the private cloud, and which applications they find viable to keep on-premises. This hybrid approach will help laggards adopt cloud services, and will enable existing adopters to fine tune their strategies to make the most of their cloud investments.
Focus on cost control
Truth be told, the payoffs for cloud investments have been long delayed for many enterprises. Moreover, though it’s not fair to measure cloud services purely on a cost basis, it helps to develop insight on controlling cloud costs, given the fact that more and more applications are moving on to a cloud model.
For starters, complicated pricing plans and complex contracts are responsible for making businesses waterlogged so they are having trouble venturing into cost analyses. For instance, Amazon and Google offer some cloud services that charge businesses on the basis of number of messages generated per hour, or number of messages sent in a day. Then, there are multiple tiered plans for each service you wish to purchase.
CIOs are increasingly looking at It cloud strategies to bring costs more in line with what they can ascertain, because of the long-term contribution it will make toward reducing IT expenditures. Some enterprises have hired specialists to help them re-negotiate contracts with vendors. Then, there is the more common practice of hiring cloud specialists to help negotiate new contracts with vendors. Apart from this, IT departments can invest in tools such as Cloud Cruiser, Cloudyn, and Cloudability to manage costs better.
The idea of monitoring usage and renegotiating contracts based on the analyses and insight is here to stay, because of the tremendous cost cuttings it can achieve for businesses.
Containers are here to stay
Almost all major cloud service providers (public and private, both) support container development. Containers help developers migrate software code easily. OpenShift and CloudFoundry can be operated easily on Azure, AWS, and Google Cloud. Containers help enterprises with portability between cloud services from Azure, Google Cloud, and AWS, among others.
This is because they can use containers to realize their DevOps strategies to enable quicker software production. Of course, the new paradigm brings new challenges around security, monitoring, networking, and storage issues. However, in spite of these challenges, containers have proven their worth by helping enterprises leverage portability when they were earlier worried about vendor lock in.
Facing the realities
The skies are abuzz; cloud services have grown stronger, and are all set to transform even more businesses, in more numbers of ways, than ever before. These trends will help CIOs and other IT decision makers align their business cloud strategies to the realities shaping the market.
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