Cloud computing has become an integral part of the enterprise technology landscape over the past few years. While it started off as something akin to a curiosity object, cloud computing has truly been transformational for both enterprises and end users. To end users, the cloud is often symbolized by public cloud services such as Gmail, OneDrive, and Google Drive, while to enterprises, the cloud symbolizes a lot more than that, encompassing public, private, and hybrid cloud systems.
The face of the cloud continues to change, and there is a lot that enterprises need to keep up with in 2017. Here are some of the most prominent areas to watch out for:
Private cloud systems gain new attention
While there is now a level of trust in public cloud systems that would have been remarkable even five years ago, organizations that need to meet very stringent requirements for data security and privacy are more likely to turn to private clouds.
Because of higher costs, private clouds have always been something of a forgotten cousin next to public clouds. However, with cloud-based system vendors having gained exceptional experience with implementing and scaling cloud technologies, they are able to bring the same experience to private cloud implementations.
Consequently, private cloud implementations are also seeing costs drop, making them significantly more attractive. Such systems are able to tap the same user experience at scale from vendors gained with public cloud systems like AWS and Azure. This means that even very sophisticated private cloud implementations can be designed and implemented with extremely high levels of reliability and maintainability. These sorts of factors are bringing private cloud systems to the front row as a legitimate option today for the enterprise.
Rise of piggybacking innovations
The cloud computing market continues to grow at an explosive pace, fueled by the dominance of smartphone-based computing. While mega vendors like Amazon and Microsoft continue to grab the lion’s share of growth, large implementations, revenue, profit, and the limelight, spaces are opening up for smaller players and newer innovations, as is characteristically seen in any fast-growing industry segment. Just like how Airbnb leveraged the power of Craigslist, several companies are beginning to demonstrate fresh innovation tapping the power of existing systems like AWS and Azure.
For instance, there is now a new app called Dr. A.I., which works with Amazon’s Alexa to provide quality information on any health-related questions you may have. In order to do this, the app accesses literally billions of data points encompassing several thousand doctor opinions delivered in the past. When you provide information about symptoms you are experiencing or have a question on health, Dr. A.I. works with Alexa to look up all these data points and then provides you an answer.
Cost management in focus
With public clouds, almost the entire set of costs related to initial investment on technology is taken out of the picture as far as end users are concerned. The same is not the case with private and hybrid clouds, which do involve significant expenditure on both initial capital investments and maintenance expenditure on computing equipment.
The fact of the matter is, as far as enterprises are concerned, public clouds do not really represent as much of a low-cost option as they do for retail users. The reason is that enterprises, unlike retail users, incur significant costs in initiating and maintaining connections, even to public cloud-based systems.
So far, the cost management aspect of tapping public clouds has largely remained hidden as far as enterprises go. However, there is significant interest in assessing total costs of connecting to operational public clouds. Expect to see the same focus on costs continue not only for connections to public clouds but also for interconnections with hybrid clouds and private clouds hosted externally.
Lift and shift: Increased importance of hybrid cloud
Just like private cloud systems, there is now a significant increase in interest with regards to hybrid cloud systems. With the vast amount of experience accumulated by cloud vendors, the reliability of large-scale cloud implementations has gone up significantly. This has now made possible many hybrid cloud designs that would have been consigned to the realms of imagination earlier. It is now possible to implement complex hybrid cloud designs involving complicated interconnections between public cloud components, private cloud components, and off-the-shelf systems.
Also, while the feasibility of implementing interconnections was acting as a bottleneck with regards to implementing private cloud systems, cost factors also played a role in limiting growth. But with the evolution of cloud based system architecture and design at scale, the cost of implementing these systems has gone down significantly. This has also made many hybrid cloud designs feasible.
The Internet of Things arrives
It has to be said that cloud computing and Internet of Things are two different systems, conceptually. It could also be said that the advent of cloud computing was likely a necessary first step before the arrival of the Internet of Things. In fact, the arrival of IoT-based systems was a momentous event in the evolution of cloud applications. There are a few reasons why.
- First and foremost, with the arrival of IoT-based devices and systems, adaptations of cloud systems will need to be developed to work with them. In some ways, this takes us back in time in that cloud applications and systems will need to be reengineered to work with IoT devices, sensorss and systems with considerable amount of local processing capability and intelligence.
- Also, cloud computing systems will need to concurrently be able to work with both currently existing end user systems and IoT systems and devices
For these reasons, the advent of IoT systems is also triggering further evolution of cloud computing systems, and as more and more IoT devices come to market, it will spur the next stage of explosive growth. For enterprises currently using the cloud -- or those who have not yet made the transition -- the implications are enormous.
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