Cloud technologies unveiled – a look behind the scenes
“Cloud” is the buzzword for the last few years when it comes to IT infrastructure, isn’t it? And it has clearly become a business model for giants like Google, Amazon and Microsoft. But not only – today the whole IT world is talking about Cloud. Look at traditional hardware vendors HPE, DELL, Lenovo – they are all talking about how their products can help customers in their Cloud Journey. And Software vendors are also using the term Cloud – SAP, Oracle, IBM are all talking about Cloud and how their platforms fit in it. But rarely is someone explaining what exactly is this “Cloud”. We will try to sum it up here for you together with the etymology of the term, explaining the meaning of the Cloud and its options, as there are different flavors of Cloud.
1. Definition of Cloud
Why are we using the word Cloud when it comes to the modern IT delivery model? Well, there are several theories around that, but the most commonly accepted one is that in the past (and, by the way, still at present) people have used a cloud icon to illustrate a network on their diagrams in a transparent way. So, it has become a symbol of something that someone else needs to take care of – we are just using it and we know it is there. I like this concept best, because this is exactly what the Cloud conveys as a message. There is a lot more to that, actually, but I will come to that later. In the IT industry, this word has been used exactly with the message “Leave it to us”. Since Amazon Web Service, Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud are very aggressive and recognizable, most people think, that when you say Cloud you mean Public Cloud. That is far from the truth, and we can see a lot of IT companies using Cloud in the meaning of “You use it, we take care of it”.
2. What brought the Clouds?
Actually, Cloud was really born to refer to the Public Cloud, and the need for that was to be able to access an app from anywhere. With mobile devices becoming the main user devices, people started building apps that match the needs and usage of mobile users. Moreover, they had to build those apps quickly and efficiently without having to invest in infrastructure, security, support capability, etc. Thus, The Cloud concept was born. Honestly speaking, if it wasn’t for the boom in mobile devices, driven mainly by Apple, I don’t think IT would have found out the Cloud yet. Nowadays, the Cloud has many other use cases and benefits, apart from serving the mobile users.
3. Valid Cloud Approaches
Now when we use the word Cloud we really use it to its full potential. The Cloud is how the industry believes people will think about IT in the future, regardless whether it is Public, Private or Hybrid Cloud. We are now starting to talk about MultiCloud so it really looks like we are not going away from that concept in a foreseeable future. So let’s take a quick look at the options we are now talking about.
It is Public, because everyone can use it. It is Cloud, because you just subscribe and start building your servers and applications. The only thing you need to do is pay. I will not go deeper here into the pros and cons of Public Cloud, because there are definitely such, I will just mention that Public Cloud is not necessarily the right choice for every situation and business.
It is Private, because you build it for your internal use only. But why Cloud – we said someone else will take care of it, and we will just consume, right? Because of the way, organization consumes IT resources – like in a Public Cloud. Now, whether you are going to build it yourself, and then operate and support it, or you are going to take advantage of the Managed Service approach – that’s a different story. But the point is – your business users can use and consume apps in a Cloud-like manner, benefiting from flexibility, time-to-market and resilience, but also complying with security policies, regulation requirements and company rules.
You can rarely find an organization that uses Private Cloud, and doesn’t use the Public Cloud for some of its applications and workloads. As discussed earlier, Public Cloud is not applicable for every situation, yet customers want to be able to leverage its potential. This brings us to where we are today – usually talking with our partners and customers about Hybrid Cloud. Hybrid Cloud means that an organization has Private Cloud implemented and also uses resources in the Public Cloud, and wants to manage both in a consistent way, and wants to be able to move workloads from Private to Public whenever there is a need to do so.
Hmm, but when I said Public Cloud in the above description is it AWS, Azure, Google, Alibaba, IBM… or something different? Are companies using only one Public Cloud? No, the answer is simply no. Well, maybe they are now, but having in mind the way things are going – soon they won’t be. And this is the reason why the MultiCloud concept is starting to gain more and more supporters. We need to be able to manage our workloads regardless of the Cloud vendor, and to move workloads between the different Cloud platforms.
4. Trends in the Cloud Space
Well, first of all, we should say clearly, that the Public Cloud market is still growing. This diagram from Forbes confirms this fact:
It is also clear that from 2020 on, the growth will start to slow down. At the same time, from 2020 on, the Hybrid Cloud market is set to grow at a very rapid rate. Looking into the Hardware vendors’ messages and approaches, we can also see that all of them are talking about Hybrid Cloud platforms. The market figures also support this: As usual, this really depends on the maturity of the market. However, if we take a look ahead, we can safely state that Hybrid is to become a standard, although there are still a lot of companies who are not there yet. But, if Hybrid is now, then what would be the future? All indications show, that companies are looking to adopt different cloud vendors, which match their applications and needs. As they start doing that, the need for a simplified and unified platform to manage and operate these diverse environments will need to be at place. This leads to the MultiCloud concept and the understanding that IT should be setup in transparency to Cloud vendors.
So, if we have to show a roadmap of the possible Cloud paths and maturity levels, and generalize it, it would look like this:
Now the question is: where to start? Is it better to adopt the Cloud First approach and embrace the Public Cloud path or is it better to start Private and extend to Hybrid – this question is subject to analysis and cannot be so easily answered. We at BULPROS have built a special service called Enterprise Cloud Strategy, which is designed to help customers choose the right path by providing them with a detailed report on what their current environment is and how to proceed in their Cloud journey. This service is tailored to the specific customer needs and requirements, and aimed at supporting our customers on their Cloud journey through organized and well-planned steps with the ultimate goal of getting the maximum of what the Cloud could offer.