Cloud is changing the way businesses are functioning and has provided a new and improved level of flexibility and collaboration. Companies worldwide are realising the cloud’s capabilities to generate new business models and promote sustainable competitive advantage; the impact of this is becoming very apparent: a Verizon report recently revealed that 69 per cent of businesses who have used cloud have put it to use to significantly reengineer one or more of their business processes. It’s easy to see why there’s still so much hype around cloud. We’ve heard so much about cloud computing over the last few years that you could be forgiven for thinking that it is now universally adopted, but the reality is that we are still only just scratching the surface, as cloud is still very much in a period of growth and expansion.
Looking beyond the horizon
At present, the majority of corporate cloud adoption is around Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) and Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) offerings such as AWS, Azure, Office 365 and Salesforce.com. These services offer cheap buy-in and a relatively painless implementation process, which remains separate from the rest of corporate IT. Industry analyst Gartner says IaaS spending is set to grow 38.4 per cent over the course of 2016, while worldwide SaaS spending is set to grow 20.3 per cent over the year, reaching $37.7 billion. However, the real promise of cloud is much more than IaaS, PaaS or SaaS: it’s a transformative technology moving compute power and infrastructure between on-premise resources, private cloud and public cloud.
As enterprises come to realise the true potential of cloud, we’ll enter a period of great opportunity for enterprise IT, but there will be plenty of adoption-related matters to navigate. Here are four big areas enterprises will have to deal with as cloud continues to take the world by storm:
- Hybrid cloud will continue to dominate
Hybrid cloud will rocket up the agenda, as businesses and providers alike continue to realise that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to cloud adoption. Being able to mix and match public and private cloud services from a range of different providers enables businesses to build an environment that meets their unique needs more effectively. To date, this has been held back by interoperability challenges between cloud services, but a strong backing for open application programming interfaces (APIs) and multi-cloud orchestration platforms is making it far easier to integrate cloud services and on-premise workloads alike. As a result, we will continue to see hybrid cloud dominate the conversation.
- Emergence of iPaaS
The drive towards integration of on premise applications and cloud is giving rise to Integration Platform as a Service (iPaaS). Cloud integration still remains a daunting task for many organizations, but iPaaS is a cloud-based integrations solution that is slowly and steadily gaining traction within enterprises. With iPaaS, users can develop integration flows that connect applications residing in the cloud or on premise, and deploy them without installing any hardware or software. Although iPaaS is relatively new to the market, categories of iPaaS vendors in the market are beginning to emerge, including ecommerce/B2B integration and cloud integration. With integration challenges still a huge issue for enterprises using cloud, demand for iPaaS is only set to grow over the coming months.
- Containers will become reality
To date, a lot of noise has been made about the possibilities of container technology, but in reality its use has yet to fully kick-off. That’s set to change as household name public clouds such as Amazon, Microsoft and Google are now embracing containers; IBM’s Blue Mix offering in particular is set to make waves with its triple-pronged Public, Dedicated and Local delivery model. Building a wave of momentum for many application and OS technology manufacturers to ride, it will now become increasingly realistic for them to construct support services around container technology. This does present a threat to traditional virtualization approach, but over time a shift in hypervisors is on the cards and container technology can only improve from this point.
- Cloud will be used for Data Resiliency/Recovery services
With cloud storage prices coming down drastically and continuous improvements being made to cloud gateway platforms, the focus is set to shift to cloud-powered backup and disaster recovery services. We are in an age where everything is being offered ‘as a service’; the idea of cloud-powered on-demand usability suits backup and disaster recovery services very well because they do not affect the immediate production data. As such, this should be an area where cloud use will dramatically increase over the next year.
With all emerging technologies, it takes time to fully figure out what they actually mean for enterprises, and these four cloud trends reflect that. In reality we’re only just getting started with cloud, now they understand how it works, the time has come for enterprises to turn the screw and begin driving even more benefits from it.
Written by Kalyan Kumar, Chief Technologist at HCL Technologies.