Welcome to 2016 – the year of cloud and the digital revolution. We’ve seen a boom in various services changing the way we do business, interact with users, and manage our environments. Spending continues to increase around data center and cloud technologies, and organizations are finding even more use-cases for cloud technologies.
Cisco recently reported that by 2019, more than 86 percent of workloads will be processed by cloud data centers. Furthermore, global spending on IaaS is expected to reach almost US$16.5 billion in 2015, an increase of 32.8 percent from 2014, with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) from 2014 to 2019 forecast at 29.1 percent, according to Gartner’s latest forecast. Finally, findings form a recent Gartner report go on to say that the use of cloud computing is growing, and by 2016 this growth will increase to become the bulk of new IT spend. 2016 will be a defining year for cloud as private cloud begins to give way to hybrid cloud, and nearly half of large enterprises will have hybrid cloud deployments by the end of 2017. This means that organizations are finding great ways to connect their on premise ecosystem with the cloud.
With all of this in mind – let’s look at 5 major considerations moving into 2016 as you work with and expand your own cloud architecture.
- Cloud is now broken down into specific service – not just one overarching term. It’s time to break this paradigm. Cloud is not just a hosting platform offered by a major cloud provider. It’s not just a place where you can host your VMs or store your files. Today, cloud computing is a collection of services which help you manage, distribute, and control content and users. “As-a-service” solutions allow you to pick specific services which you can offload directly into the cloud. This can be backup, disaster recover, collaboration, database, desktop, security, storage, and even more. The ability to interconnect on premise and cloud-based resources has become a lot easier. Organizations can now find specific pain points within their own data center and choose to offload those aspects of their ecosystem into the cloud. Moving forward, organizations shouldn’t focus on “fork-lift” cloud projects. Rather, find your business challenges and understand where a cloud service can help.
- Cloud management is evolving and is very important. Not only has cloud management evolved – there are now powerful cloud management tools which can span on premise and cloud-based environments. Controlling resources has become a lot easier and organizations are able to leverage a number management points spanning a distributed ecosystem. The cool part here is that you can control a piece of your architecture based on policies or manage the entire ecosystem. You can set administrative locks based on context, the application being accessed, and even location. Cloud management is now a lot smarter and easier to integrate. As you build out your cloud ecosystem – remember to create a management environment capable scaling with your specific needs.
- Cloud computing is only as secure as you make it. Security will continue to be a big factor when it comes to cloud and the types of workloads you’re deploying. Keep in mind – the major cloud providers help create natively secure, multi-tenant, cloud ecosystems. It’s up to you, however, to secure the actual workloads. The good news is that cloud-ready security services have evolved quite a bit. You now have next-generation security systems which can be both virtual and physical. Furthermore, you can design these security platforms to monitor and control specifically what you need it to. Compliance-based workloads, protected healthcare information, and even e-commerce traffic can all be secure with intelligent – real-world – security solutions. Take the time to look at cloud security beyond just a traditional firewall. There are a lot of options to help keep your business agile and secure.
- Keep constant focus on your business and your user’s experience. You no longer have a 9-5 workforce. Users are a lot more agile; using a lot of devices to stay productive. Cloud computing can be an amazing driver around productivity when used properly. Virtual desktops, applications, and rich content can be delivered to any device and still allow the experience to be rich. It’s at this point in time where cloud computing becomes a direct enabler for your business and your users. You can set dynamic policies governing user experience based on very specific contextual elements. For example, you can optimize workload delivery by identifying who the user is, where they’re coming in from, their connection speed, which application they’re trying to access, and their security permissions level. All of this is based on context and the specific security policies of your organization. Remember – modern security isn’t here to deprecate the user experience. Rather, security can now enhance the business and how the user interacts with the overall environment.
- Cloud automation has come a long way. Who doesn’t want a simple-to-use cloud turnkey solution these days? Well, with cloud-ready automation and orchestration technologies – this is very much a reality for a lot of organizations. You can now automate the delivery of distributed resource spanning on premise and remote locations. You can control resource bursts, user access, and even VM deployment based on very specific environment metrics. Automation and orchestration technologies allow you to create better data center economics and control vast resources. New types of WAN management, load-balancing technologies, and even cloud-based control mechanisms are shaping the way we control our cloud ecosystems. If you’re working with cloud in 2016 and are truly ready to expand – look for ways you can build in automation policies and technologies into your business and data center.
The rapid digitization of the modern business has introduced new challenges around data center and cloud management. It has also allowed organizations to create better strategies and compete at an entirely new level. The key with cloud is to always stay as agile as your infrastructure. This means quickly adjusting to demand and supporting an ever-mobile user. The other critical factor to understand is that cloud is very quickly becoming (or has already become) a tool for everyone. Whether you’re a small business or a multi-national organization – there’s most likely a cloud service that can help you out. Moving forward, it’ll be important for you to understand the various types of services out there and how they can directly impact your business.