Keeping Your Head (…and Your Business) Above the Clouds
Cloud technologies has been a buzz word for more than a decade ever since Amazon started selling their in-house, web-based service platform that was used to support their own internet sales site. They were able to package the technology, market it and turned it into a profitable solution that allowed companies to take advantage of large scale technologies without the upfront costs to build their own datacenters. Since then, cloud technologies have evolved quickly as a mainstay in our ever-evolving technological world.
New, billion-dollar companies such as AirBnB and Uber have capitalized from this trend by utilizing cloud-based infrastructure to increase reliability while decreasing costs. In April of 2018, GoDaddy announced it was moving a vast majority of their current infrastructure to AWS.¹
As companies are evolving to stay ahead in the new technology world, here are five trends that are happening with cloud computing.
1. Growth in Cloud Services and Solutions – We are in the digital age where cloud services are now common place and businesses look to a cloud solution first before an on premises solution. 56% percent of CIOs in Gartner’s CIO survey indicate they are adopting cloud as either an option or as part of a “cloud first” approach, while 71% look to SaaS either first or as an option.
Gartner predicts that by 2020, businesses without cloud capabilities will be as uncommon as businesses without Internet are today.
Most businesses use some sort of cloud offering or online application such as Microsoft Office 365 or Salesforce. Few businesses are completely 100% cloud based nor are there businesses that are completely 100% cloud free.
2. Serverless Computing – A relatively new cloud service that has come into the marketplace is serverless computing which allows developers to deploy their applications without the need to provision servers or backend infrastructure to support and run their applications. Developers can release their code and run it as a service without the need to build backend infrastructure such as servers, network, databases and backend applications to support the application. This creates simplicity and agility in the marketplace to turn out applications much more quickly than run at greater speed. This also allows companies to go global by replicating their applications to run around the world as if the local datacenter is right next door.
3. Multi-cloud – The rise of pure play cloud platforms like Microsoft Office 365, Salesforce, ServiceNow, and Workday show that most businesses already utilize a multi-cloud cloud environment. Multicloud is the use of multiple public cloud computing and storage services in a single heterogeneous architecture not to be mistaken for hybrid cloud which is a mixture of public and private resources. Some cloud companies are changing their application architecture to force companies into a multi-cloud environment even if they are not willing to give up the hold on local resources.
Microsoft will begin to remove Skype for Business and OneDrive for non-365 users by 2020 to force them into using Office 365.²
4. Disaster Recovery – As businesses move toward a virtualized and constantly evolving IT ecosystem old DR approaches become much more expensive and complex to maintain. Software based DR at the hypervisor level allows a company to prioritize applications and provides automated testing to ensure and validate a company’s DR strategy. I can remember a year after the 9-11 disaster, the company I worked for at the time invested in a 3rd party disaster recovery site and solution. A few times a year would be spent on building out our servers and clients from backup tapes to perform drills to ensure our DR solution was adequate. This time-consuming ordeal would take 48 hours to build and test but would only ensure our most business-critical applications would be recovered. Now with the use of cloud technologies recovery can be completed and tested within minutes.
5. Security – Last but certainly not least is security. The glaring question from anyone thinking of moving to the cloud “Is my information in the cloud secure?”. Contrary to the myth that you will lose security when you move to the public cloud because you cannot physically touch the device, in most cases you are increasing security by moving data to the cloud by utilizing the provider’s hardened datacenters with many more security resources. This all depends on your current state of security. The cloud provider is responsible for the security of the cloud (datacenters, access, security tools, etc.) while the consumer is responsible for the security in the cloud (data access policy, authentication, authorization, etc.). Security must be built into every step of product development or migration strategy rather than at the end.
Businesses demand more as technology increases and legacy systems become less sustainable. The goal for business is to reduce risk by ensuring that crucial applications are always available. The cloud has become a tool to satisfy this business demand while reducing risk. What needs to change is the IT mindset of being a support model into being an enabler. That means rethinking IT infrastructure and services that support the business which is not always an easy task. It takes resources that understand what and how to move business applications and infrastructure to the cloud to ensure businesses do not become extinct.
Cloud evolution is happening in the technology world, if you aren’t willing to adapt, you’ll die.