Ascending the Simplified Cloud

Sonian_greg-1 copyby Greg Arnette

Very quickly the cloud became a technology affecting everyone’s daily lives. Personal files and emails are easier to store in the cloud than the old way – on one computer. iPhone, Android and tablet apps used in our daily routines are “powered by” cloud computing. And cloud applications are extending beyond consumer use. More and more enterprises are migrating key systems to the cloud and there is no sign of slowing down any time soon.

Enterprise IT departments went from distrusting the cloud to allocating billions of dollars to purchase more cloud-based solutions for their companies. However, before cloud technology swarmed the market in 2012, many executives were apprehensive about cloud adoption due to several factors they saw as challenges. According to Gartner, the three biggest challenges to making IT responsive to the cloud are governance, choosing the right cloud environment, and security and privacy. Security remains the primary obstacle to cloud adoption; a recent survey by LinkedIn and CloudPassage found that nearly half of 250,000 respondents said that cloud security is a barrier to cloud adoption, while 41 percent named the related issues of data loss and leakage risks as impediments to deployment. After witnessing the high profile security breaches at companies like Target and Home Depot in recent years, it comes as no surprise that businesses are remaining cautious.

Today, investment in cloud computing has increased 19 percent since 2012, with the average investment of large-scale enterprises (+1,000 employees) reaching $3.33 million in 2014. Cloud migration amongst enterprises has shifted as cloud providers seek to make the cloud more approachable.

In order for this adoption rate to increase, enterprises need to consider several factors which are expected to contribute to the simplified cloud in 2016.

Easy, secure deployments
Today, every on-premises service has a cloud alternative. This means that key applications available in cloud marketplaces are packaged into quick start templates that ensure an easy, secure deployment. The ability to deploy to the cloud so quickly is one of the most popular reasons enterprises today are transitioning.

In the early cloud days, an enterprise IT manager could spin up a few resources on the cloud, run a project, and the work was done – a much faster approach than working with on-premises hardware. Now that the cloud is emerging as a permanent fixture of enterprise infrastructure, the need to devise an easy, coordinated cloud strategy is on the rise. A recent survey of nearly 1,100 IT professionals by Evolve IP showed that while more than 90 percent have deployed at least one service in the cloud, and that the average number of services has jumped from 2.7 in 2014 to 4.1 in 2015, the desire to manage growth in the cloud is emerging as a key trend, and secure deployment is as crucial as ever.

Independent software vendors
As the cloud get simpler to use, more independent software vendors will create new offerings and gain access to allowing relatively small teams to solve big problems for a world-wide audience.

Another area of growth for ISVs is training enterprises to use the cloud. As more companies adopt public, private and hybrid cloud, the need for trained experts increases exponentially. According to the IDG Enterprise Cloud Computing Study 2015, 72 percent of organizations have at least one application in the cloud or a portion of their computing infrastructure in the cloud, and they’re not stopping there.

Amazon offerings promote adoption
Serverless architectures such as AWS Lambda, Google Cloud Functions and others completely abstract away the notion of managing a virtual machine “server” from running code. Instead, “functions as a service” allows developers to run code based on events and only pay for the compute time used when the code runs. Lambda and others follow the cloud mantra of “let others manage the undifferentiated heavy lifting.” In this case cloud functions as a service means developer teams do not have to be concerned with managing virtual infrastructure at all. Just write code and deploy.

Existing cloud applications will need to be re-architected to work with platforms like AWS Lambda, but any new application being launched today can take advantage of this new way to run apps in the cloud.

Before Lambda, running apps in the cloud required costly tools to ensure cloud resources were being utilized efficiently. Now, running the cloud on-demand mitigates costs and enables workload functions to be broken up so companies pay only for each function as it runs.

A simpler cloud for all
Virtually every cloud will need its own set of tweaks and customizations to suit the needs of individual enterprises, but as long as the cloud continues to get more approachable for enterprises, the fine-tuning should become easier. The cloud is a perfect solution for an enterprise IT department that wants the benefits of control, security and better management.

With a simpler cloud, everyone wins.

Greg Arnette is the CTO and founder of Sonian.

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