Let’s talk about cloud. Not that we don’t normally talk cloud, but let’s actually focus on a few specific use-cases.
Before we dive in, it’s very important to see that very soon cloud will simply become a normal part of your data center and business process. A recent Cisco Service Provider report shows that global IP traffic has increased fivefold over the past five years, and will increase threefold over the next five years. By the end of 2016, annual global IP traffic will pass the zettabyte (1000 exabytes) threshold, and will reach 2 zettabytes per year by 2019.
There are a lot of trends indicating that more organizations are looking at cloud to diversity their offerings and become even more agile. According to Gartner, in 2016 cloud shifted to become the bulk of new IT spending. For many organizations, these will be the defining years for cloud as private cloud begins to give way to hybrid cloud, with nearly half of large enterprises expected to have hybrid cloud deployments by the end of 2017.
“Overall, there are very real trends toward cloud platforms and also toward massively scalable processing. Virtualization, service orientation and the Internet have converged to sponsor a phenomenon that enables individuals and businesses to choose how they’ll acquire or deliver IT services, with reduced emphasis on the constraints of traditional software and hardware licensing models,” Chris Howard, research vice president at Gartner said in a statement. “Services delivered through the cloud will foster an economy based on delivery and consumption of everything from storage to computation to video to finance deduction management.”
With cloud computing we saw an entirely new kind of consumption model. More so, we saw powerful use-cases driving even more people to try out a cloud solution or service. With all of this in mind let’s look at a few good cloud use-cases and applications:
- Application and Desktop Delivery. Complexities around the delivery of applications and full desktops via a cloud engine have been diminishing quickly. We’ve been able to deploy apps via cloud for some time. However, desktops have been a bit of a challenge. However, all-flash systems and better data center technologies have all helped reduce the cost of deploying apps and even VDI. Most of all major cloud vendors are catching on as well; specifically, Microsoft Azure. In the past, users have been able to run Windows 7 and 8.1 on Azure in virtual machines, but only for development and test purposes. Doing so otherwise would be a violation of licensing terms. Just earlier this year, this architecture changed. Per a recent Microsoft blog, “Citrix will offer customers who have purchased Windows Software Assurance on a per-user basis the option to host their Windows 10 Enterprise Current Branch for Business (CBB) images on Azure through its XenDesktop VDI (virtual desktop infrastructure) solution. This means you can deploy virtual apps or desktops and accelerate Windows 10 adoption for those customers who are using Microsoft Cloud solutions.” This makes Windows 10 Enterprise CBB the very first desktop operating system to be supported on a public cloud, which, for now will be limited to Azure.
- Backup and Disaster Recovery. This is a big one. Ponemon Institute and Emerson Network Power recently released the results of the latest Cost of Data Center Outages study. Previously published in 2010 and 2013, the purpose of this third study is to continue to analyze the cost behavior of unplanned data center outages. According to the new study, the average cost of a data center outage has steadily increased from $505,502 in 2010 to $740,357 today (or a 38 percent net change). The report further outlined that UPS system failure continues to be the number one cause of unplanned data center outages, accounting for one-quarter of all such events. Furthermore, cybercrime represents the fastest growing cause of data center outages, rising from 2 percent of outages in 2010 to 18 percent in 2013 to 22 percent in the latest study. This is where a good data center and cloud partnership can really help. However, you’ll need to have intelligent devices at the data center level to ensure proper failover to your cloud ecosystem. This can be in the form of an application delivery controller (ADC) doing load-balancing and data control, or a firewall/networking ecosystem managing the flow of data. From there, a good provider or cloud partner can help you develop SLAs to ensure minimal disruption and the least possible downtime.
- Big Data and Business Analytics. A lot of organizations are looking into big data and business analytics to get ahead. However, some of these businesses don’t need to be doing ongoing number crunching. Rather, many analyze their data sets once a month, or even once a quarter. In these situations, do you have idle gear sitting in your data center waiting to be used? Or, do you leverage a pay-as-you-go cloud model for data analytics? Many IT managers are looking to cloud to help them analyze information without having to make a hardware investment. You can now utilize powerful, cloud-based, big data and analytics engines specifically designed to give you access to necessary data.
Of course there are many other great use-cases out there for cloud services. And we’ll continue to see emerging capabilities built around micro-services and even containers. Whether you’re a small organization or an enterprise, getting into the cloud is easier than it ever was before. Major cloud providers are all going after new business so they’d be happy to let you test drive your use-case in their cloud. It’s important not to sit on the cloud sidelines. The rapid pace of IT evolution directly impacts how well your business can compete in today’s digital market. Make sure to test out new cloud services and see how they can benefit your business.