According to IDC, by 2018, at least half of IT spending will be cloud based, reaching 60 per cent of all IT Infrastructures, and 60–70 per cent of all software, services, and technology spending by 2020.
As cloud has become a standard way of doing business, organisations globally are utilising it as a tool for innovation and business transformation. Those who successfully use the cloud to achieve growth will have a mature, strategic view of how best to implement and integrate it across their organisations. All approaches to cloud have advantages. From the straightforward simplicity of public cloud services, versus the increased security and control of a private cloud, there is a cloud environment to meet every organisation’s needs.
A hybrid cloud approach in which public or private clouds, or a combination of the two, are fully integrated with traditional, on-premises IT and centrally managed through a single platform is becoming increasingly popular. Indeed, as cloud strategies mature and the business benefits of implementing cloud throughout the organisation become clear, hybrid cloud has emerged as the consensus choice to support business growth.
Nearly half of enterprises already use some form of hybrid cloud and 72 per cent of enterprises are expected to pursue a hybrid strategy. Hybrid cloud solutions make it easy to deploy new business models and technologies like cognitive analytics, which have the power to transform businesses.
Managed cloud - specialist expertise without financial disruption
Managed cloud as part of a wider hybrid cloud strategy allows organisations to utilise cloud computing without having to employ an expert in every area. Companies that use managed cloud can focus on their core business rather than having to divert their cash reserves employing large teams IT experts, technical engineers and system administrators and other experts to manage their IT.
A managed cloud provider will offer its customers a range of expertise as well as large economies of scale as the provider’s engineers manage not only the customers’ computing, storage, networks, and operating systems, but also the complex tools and application stacks that run on top of that infrastructure. These can include the latest databases and ecommerce platforms, as well as automation tools. Managed cloud allows each individual customer to choose which IT functions it wishes to manage in-house, leaving all the rest to its chosen service provider.
Whether an organisation is deploying in the cloud, on-premises, or both, designing architecture to meet their application requirements can be a time-intensive activity requiring regular reviews and updates as the business grows and its needs change. With cloud providers regularly evolving their platforms, it’s important to continually re-architect to best take advantage of new features and services. This may require significant investment in organisational resources in finding, hiring and retaining certified architects.
By partnering with a managed cloud provider, specialists can work with organisations to design and tailor an architecture specific to a customer’s application needs. The provider will also update an organisational architecture on an ongoing basis as its requirements evolve and as new features and cloud services become available. The provider should be able to offer services across a broad range of technologies and deployment models — including dedicated hosting, private cloud platforms like OpenStack and leading public clouds like Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure.
The combination of choice and expertise means that the provider will deliver an architecture designed to meet an organisation’s application’s specific performance, availability and scalability requirements while eliminating the need for them to retain costly architects in-house.
Security is key in today’s cloud environment:
Ensuring an organisation’s application portfolio is safe, secure and stable is vital to minimise risk and maximise business outcomes. In a world where security breaches are increasingly becoming the norm, that’s easier said than done. Choosing the right managed cloud provider means that in addition to secure infrastructure, an organisation can also gain access to the guidance and on-demand expertise that will help to ensure that their environments remain secure and stable.
In a managed cloud environment, each customer’s data is securely and physically segregated from other cloud customers. The enterprise is able to undertake full test and development, sandboxing, quality assurance use-cases, along with creation of data marts and operation of disaster recovery.
Data management for rapidly increasing new industry applications
According to IDC, by 2018, cloud will become a preferred delivery mechanism for analytics, increasing public information consumption by 150 per cent and paving the way for thousands of new industry applications. New industry applications mean more data will be created and with this comes the challenges around the management of data. Data has little value if it is not available to be analysed and used to help grow the business.
Left to its own devices, it could take any organisation years to build and deploy the complex analytical environment needed with a mix of open and closed-source technologies. The reality is that given the competitive pressures in today’s digital environment no company can afford to take its eye off the core business for any period of time whatsoever.
From a tactical point of view, the challenge is to set about finding the best way to ensure data is stored, managed and analysed, without incurring expensive overheads and in a scalable way to allow for rapid future growth. A managed cloud infrastructure combined with a powerful database that has the speed and flexibility to deploy complex, analytics, can address all these concerns and help an organisation quickly innovate and build new analytical applications.
In this context it is vital for organisations to be able to analyse what they want, when they want, regardless of where the data resides, enabling companies to balance surges in usage and to manage capital and operational expenditure.
Managed cloud offers real business benefits for organisations globally
Managed cloud services have, of course, been available for some time now. However, it is only relatively recently that some of the most mature; reliable and powerful analytical offerings are becoming available in Europe, for example, to ensure compliance with the region’s data requirements. It’s clearly time to start the discussions – with the knowledge that selecting the right platform is the first step to furthering business growth and success.
For enterprises operating in Europe, a mature data warehousing tradition is a critical element in realising value from business analytics, while cloud services give them a mixing bowl for new data sources that are analysed in new ways in conjunction with the data warehouse. Businesses operating at this scale stand to benefit from the ability of managed cloud services to accommodate rapid business growth and to potentially achieve higher cost efficiencies along with significant gains in the way data can be stored, analysed and put to profitable use.
Likewise telecom carriers, global service providers, networking vendors, and IT services firms are increasingly competing for a slice of the managed and cloud services market in the Asia/Pacific region. With organisations increasingly outsourcing IT-related functions, cloud and managed services have become important delivery models for them. As a result, managed and cloud services have become key areas that service providers, networking companies, and IT service firms are focusing on.
Image Credit: Melpomene / Shutterstock
Joao Crespo, Programme Director, International Cloud, Teradata