Google and the war of the clouds: IoT isn't the point

At London’s Cloud Expo, Barak Regey, Google’s director of cloud platforms for Europe, recommended that cloud companies simply abandon trying to predict how their data and cloud capacity needs will evolve over the next five years.

The cloud expert stated that with the explosion of the Internet of Things (IoT) and the pace of innovation and change in the technology industry, cloud organisations simply won’t be able to calculate and prepare for how much cloud capacity they’ll need.

Interesting, but not really the point

The rather defeatist forecast is not necessarily inaccurate (it is impossible to calculate how much usage IoT is going to require because new devices are being invented every day), but it does kind of miss the point: As long as companies thoroughly plan how they manage their cloud environments, they should be in perfectly good standing to scale efficiently and continue to capitalise on the benefits provided by the cloud.

The real capacity projection point

What Regey misses is perhaps the more interesting point – rather than warning companies off being able to plan for the future due to lack of knowledge surrounding IoT capacity, he should attempt an outside look in at Google and the other big providers such as AWS, Microsoft, and IBM.

When it comes to capacity projections, the biggest threat should be felt by these large providers – they are each other’s worst enemy. The big four, amongst a myriad of other cloud providers that are continually appearing in the marketplace to take a slice of the cloud opportunity, are saturating the market really rather quickly.

In the same way that startups in the Nineties began creating the .com bubble that burst the decade after, there are so many companies creating cloud offerings these days that the market has become a very crowded place. It seems many technology providers these days have a cloud offering, and many of these offerings are being fuelled by borrowed investment. Some of these offerings are becoming so big that they are even threatening the biggest players.

Even hosting providers who traditionally stick to 'power and space' are now providing cloud services. All of this together is likely to lead to a levelling of the markets over the next five years that may well be as normalising and balancing as IoT and technology change is disruptive. Bigger players will consume the smaller ones, household names will need to differentiate themselves, and will need to provide new incentives to retain clients.

Power to the consumers

Rather than feeling powerless, it’s the organisations that consume cloud services that are in the strongest position. Theirs will be an opportunity to capitalise on a market that is becoming crowded and therefore much more competitive. As long as these organisations plan how they will manage their cloud environments, this 'war of the clouds' should be nothing but beneficial to them.

How can businesses plan to manage their cloud environments?

If careful planning is business’s best chance at leveraging the cloud amid the uncertainties of capacity usage, are there specific points to note? Of course! Here are some of the basics that your cloud migration plan should cover, as well as questions companies should ask themselves as they prepare to move to the cloud:

  • Do you have clearly defined goals that you want to achieve as a result of moving to the cloud?
  • Do you really understand your data? What data can/should be moved to the cloud, and what should be kept in-house? Does any data need to be kept in-house due to latency, security, or geography?
  • What is the size and scale of the data you need to move to the cloud?
  • What levels of security and SLAs do you require from your chosen cloud provider?
  • Who will manage your migration process to the cloud? Do you have the resources in-house to manage a migration, or will you have to outsource?
  • Do you know the next migration step? Don’t assume that the cloud is the final resting place as you might find it more expensive than you thought. Be sure to manage how and where it is hosted efficiently

Rather than worrying about capacity projections, businesses are better placed focusing on these guidelines and ensuring they have honest, detailed answers to these questions. With these answers in place, businesses are better placed than ever to harness the power of the cloud in an agile, flexible way amid a rapidly changing technology landscape.

Simon Johnson, Practice Director, Migrations, Xceed Group