Editor’s Note: This was written by Akin Banuso, Country Manager, Dell Nigeria
Anyone who’s been paying close attention to the cloud industry is likely to be both intrigued and excited by the various opportunities it opens up. Since early last year, many have stated that a hybrid cloud approach is the industry end-state and despite some resisting this viewpoint initially, it’s at the centre of all cloud conversations today.
This will be the year when the hybrid cloud truly becomes the prevailing approach for most organisations. It is going to have a substantial positive effect on businesses, regardless of the vertical, the cloud providers, and the overall approach to how cloud is addressed in enterprises of all sizes across the board.
Over the course of the year ahead, there are a few key cloud trends that will be front and centre of cloud development. Firstly, enlightened cloud advocates have believed that the world is moving toward hybrid cloud for quite some time and it’s great to see others starting to sing the same tune. The debate between public or private cloud has diminished and now, the question is not if it will happen, but rather when and how fast companies will reach the hybrid cloud end-state. This is being confirmed by customers as a recent survey of midsized organisations worldwide found more than half of them used more than one type of cloud in 2015.
Also, businesses will become cloud-comfortable as Hybrid cloud adoption is being driven by greater understanding of workload management and the principle of becoming “cloud-comfortable”. This shouldn’t come as a shock – especially as previous barriers or impediments to cloud adoption, such as costs, control, complexity, and security, are coming down. As a result, businesses’ comfort levels with the cloud are continuing to increase and more IT organisations are confidently deploying cloud environments in-house. After initially over-indexing on public cloud and realising it was neither as cheap nor always as simple or secure as promised, many IT leaders are finally beginning to strike the right balance. As they become cloud-comfortable, they will have even higher expectations in terms of integrated manageability and cloud management, across clouds of all types, will continue to be a hot topic among CIOs.
No doubts, cost remains one of the largest barriers to adopting and implementing cloud – a fact attested to by many organisations. As they explore hybrid cloud options, businesses become increasingly aware of the total cost of ownership and lifecycle management costs. They want the right cloud infrastructure at the right cost with the right characteristics.
While on the journey to find the model that fits perfectly with their business, many realise the limitations and costs of their existing public-cloud-only models. This has generated demand for new cloud financing options – ones that address how to use the cloud now and how to use it in the future. As a result the conversation will likely change from wanting the cloud to seamlessly run specific applications to how a cloud infrastructure can enable an organisation to achieve its business goals.
There are a few ways to make cloud easier for customers, particularly for those that are already becoming more cloud comfortable. For example, IT leaders can offer line-of-business owners a simple catalogue of their most popular offerings (e.g., the creation of a certain number of mail and messaging inboxes). If a test-and-development team wants to rapidly create and test a cloud-based application, a pre-catalogued compute and storage resource pool could be offered, preventing the engineers from having to go to a public cloud and do this in a shadow IT form. With a catalogue of offerings IT leaders or DevOps managers can assess how much a solution will cost and the assets available for usage when either deploying a cloud infrastructure on their own or with the help of deployment services.
One thing that is certain: These developments should be less about the IT components and more about the application or business outcome and from there the necessary infrastructure can be chosen. In essence, businesses should not begin with the infrastructure, drop the app on top and trying attempt to realise the desired outcome. To be successful, it is necessary to start with the end in mind – what the business is trying to achieve and what outcome is being driven. Private cloud becomes much easier when customers know what they want to achieve and then match their needs with the infrastructure and services best-suited to realise their goals.
In summary, tremendous changes are on the horizon for cloud computing – ones that will ultimately benefit businesses and organisations that rely on it as their core IT delivery mechanism. Not all businesses walk the same path, whether it be with cloud financing, types of deployment, or differences in overall objectives. However, a few things are pretty clear; one choice does not fit all, it’s no longer a conversation of public vs. private cloud rather it’s about positive disruption and innovation.