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The cloud is now well entrenched, but the technology is still in a process of evolution, with constant churn the order of the day. Here are the top trends that will likely dominate the world of cloud computing in 2017.
Forrester Research estimates the public, private and hybrid cloud implementations will gather momentum in 2017. More and more CIOs are seeking the cloud to leverage its economies of scale, in building core applications.
About 38% of North American and European based enterprise technology decision-makers are now developing private clouds. 32% of them are buying public cloud services, and the remaining enterprises plan to implement some kind of cloud technology in the coming year. About 59% of these decision makers are embracing a hybrid cloud model.
Among the different cloud possibilities, the public cloud is increasingly becoming the favorite of enterprise decision makers. Gartner estimates that worldwide public cloud services market has touched a growth of 17.2% in 2016, that is, a total of $208.6 billion in 2016 from $178 billion in 2015. Among the different cloud offerings, Infrastructure as a service (IaaS) is the most popular, with an estimated growth rate of 43%. Software as a service (SaaS) comes next in the list with an expected growth rate of 22%.
Enterprises are slowly realizing the fact that private cloud requires substantial amount of time, effort, and energy and also the management needs to have the bandwidth. Just like a public cloud, private cloud services also require advanced virtualization, standardization, automation, self-service access and resource monitoring. Provisioning all these usually costs a bomb, and saving on these fronts is among the key reasons for migrating to cloud. Moreover, the public cloud is now highly matured and secure, with services such as Amazon Web Services and comparable offerings from Microsoft, IBM and Google already provide what the private clouds offer.
Public clouds are also getting innovative to offer solutions to roadblocks that prevented its widespread adoption. A case in point is Microsoft’s deal to have T-Systems manage its cloud in Germany, to meet data localization requirements. Regional players complement mega cloud providers, by upping their ante and offering whatever big players do, with the advantage of being nimble and faster in responsiveness.
Taking the growth in popularity of the public cloud to its natural conclusion, many companies are now hosting critical enterprise applications in AWS and other public cloud platforms. A related development is a growth in containers. Containers allow managing software developed for cloud apps efficiently. All public and private cloud platforms are slated to have Linux containers by early 2017, enabling developers to build their own stacks, to power development of micro services.
However, the new paradigm of using containers come with its own set of security, monitoring, storage and networking challenges, and resolving such challenges would be a key cloud-related task for CIOs in 2017.
The cloud converts capital costs to easily attributable operational cost. It is also a way to save money, but many CIOs are neck deep in complex vendor management, having leveraged with multiple cloud providers, and in the process frittering away potential financial gains. A case is point is many CIOs leaving public cloud instances running needlessly through the weekend, ending up spending more money compared to what they would spend for an on-premises solution.
With the economy becoming more and more competitive, cost cutting is increasingly gaining focus. There is an increasing trend to monitor consumption and to realize the full cost benefits of the cloud. There are already examples of a large software company saving $300,000 from a $2.5 million cloud bill by monitoring consumption.
In tune with the trend, new cost management tools from AWS, Cloudyn, Cloudability, and others are becoming very popular.
The benefits of the cloud truly realize when used optimally. Hitherto, enterprises caught in the cloud hype, simply dumped their existing apps on the cloud. However, there is stark realization now of the need to refactor apps to run on public cloud systems.
The best approach is to re-architecture the app, to take advantage of the elasticity offered by the cloud. However, since it is not always a viable option owing to the cost and time involved, migration services that offer lift-and-shift migration tools are growing in popularity as a cost-effective and fast option to migrate apps to the cloud in an optimal way. The lift-and-shift approach allows replicating the existing app in the cloud, without modifying the design.
While public clouds are the flavor of the season, the risks associated with handing over sensitive information to third-party providers still remains an issue. This has induced many companies to retain their private clouds or opt for hybrid models. About 38% of enterprises still migrate only their non-critical processes and peripheral processes, such as HR, to the public cloud, and only 33% implemented cloud services in “full production” mode. In fact, this 33% is actually a decline, from the 42% polled in 2014.
In such a mix, Hyper Converged Infrastructure (HCI) offers pre-integrated compute and storage resources that enable organizations to get their cloud implementations running faster. HCI makes it easy to manage virtualization, storage, compute, network, data protection and management. It improves data efficiency by reducing storage and bandwidth and offers greater mobility to the workloads. It also improves scalability and reduces costs. HCI is fast becoming the default infrastructure platform to build the private portion of a hybrid cloud.
While well-entrenched services such as IaaS, SaaS, and PaaS continue to thrive, newer and innovative services such as Application Services or Desktop as a Service solution, real-time analytics solution, and others are gaining popularity. More and more enterprises will seek fully-managed and secure, enterprise-grade storage and sharing service. Cloud vendors peddling their wares to enterprises will have no option but to ensure strict security, compliance, availability, scalability, and data integrity.
The cloud is growing at a rapid pace, with Cisco estimating about 83% of all data center traffic to be based in the cloud, by 2020. Propelling such a shift will be the paradigm change in 2017, when technological advances will propel the cloud to newer heights.
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