If you’ve been paying close attention to the cloud industry, you must be both intrigued and excited by the many cloud opportunities ahead. Since early last year, we have been saying that a hybrid cloud approach is the industry end-state – and some folks thought we were wrong at the time. But today, it’s at the center of all cloud conversations.
This will be the year when the hybrid cloud truly becomes the prevailing approach for most organizations. It is going to have a substantial positive effect on businesses, no matter the vertical; on cloud providers; and on the overall approach to how cloud is addressed in enterprises of all sizes across the board. To expand, here are a few key cloud trends that will be front and center as the rest of this year plays out.
2016 Is the Year of the Hybrid Cloud
We’ve believed the world is moving toward hybrid cloud for quite some time. It’s great to see others start to sing the same tune. We have seen the debate between public or private cloud diminish. Now, the question is not about if it will happen, but rather, when and how fast a company will reach the hybrid cloud end-state. Customers are confirming this: A recent survey of midsized organizations worldwide found more than half of them indicated they used more than one type of cloud in 2015.
Organizations will begin taking their cloud strategies one step further with an increased adoption of a hybrid cloud approach. This manifests itself when organizations have the ability to not only have on-premises support and use of a managed or public cloud provider, but also the ability to choose and use multiple public cloud providers out there – the Azures, the Amazons, the Googles, etc. – to achieve their desired business outcomes.
Businesses Will Become Cloud-Comfortable
Driving hybrid cloud adoption is a better understanding of workload management and what I like to call becoming “cloud-comfortable.”
This shouldn’t be a shocker – especially as previous barriers or impediments to cloud adoption, such as costs, control, complexity, and security, are coming down. As a result, businesses’ comfort levels with cloud are continuing to increase. We will see more IT organizations confidently deploying cloud environments in-house. They already are beginning to strike the right balance after over-indexing on public cloud and realizing it was neither as cheap nor always as simple or secure as promised.
As they become cloud-comfortable, IT leaders will have even higher expectations in terms of integrated manageability. And cloud management, across clouds of all types, is becoming a hot topic among CIOs.
Financing Will Be a Catalyst for Cloud Adoption
Cost remains one of the largest barriers to adopting and implementing cloud. I hear it from customers all of the time. As they explore hybrid cloud options, they become increasingly aware of the total cost of ownership and lifecycle management costs. They want the right cloud infrastructure at the right cost with the right characteristics.
And, while on this journey to find the model that fits just right, they realize the limitations and costs of their existing public-cloud-only models. This is causing demand for new cloud financing options – ones that address how to use the cloud now and how to use it in the future. We’ll see this change the conversation from “I want my cloud to seamlessly run this application” to “I want my cloud infrastructure to enable my organization to achieve our business goals.”
We’re already starting to hear this, but the demand will grow louder. And, in this way, hybrid cloud will serve as the catalyst for cloud financing reform, and it will reshape our expectations on what the cloud should ultimately help accomplish.
Public Cloud Will Be as Easy as Private Cloud
Historically, the lure of private cloud has been the relative ease and simplicity of being able to quickly access IT resources for workloads, such as test-and-development projects. Based on a shift in customer demands, we’re helping multiple CIOs today make the availability of private cloud as fast, easy, and seamless as public cloud. This allows CIOs to recapture some level of cloud control and security, while making cloud access easier for their constituents.
There are a few ways to make cloud easier for customers, particularly for those that are already becoming more cloud comfortable. For example, IT leaders can offer line-of-business owners a simple catalogue of all their most used offerings (e.g., the creation of a certain number of mail and messaging inboxes). If a test-and-development team wants to rapidly create and test a cloud-based application, a pre-catalogued compute and storage resource pool could be offered. Test-and-dev engineers don’t have to go to a public cloud and do this in a shadow IT form. A catalogue of offerings shows how much a solution will cost and the assets available for usage. Add the appropriate security requirements, and IT leaders or DevOps managers are on their way – either deploying a cloud infrastructure on their own or with the help of deployment services.
These developments should be less about the IT components and more about starting with the application or business outcome someone wants to run. From there, one selects the infrastructure to pull that off. In essence, it’s no longer starting with the infrastructure, dropping the app on top, and trying to run your business outcome. To be successful, you need to start with the end in mind – what you are trying to achieve and what kind of business outcome you’re trying to drive. Private cloud becomes much easier when a customer realizes what it wants to achieve and then matches it with the infrastructure and services best-suited for its needs.
In summary, tremendous changes are on the horizon for cloud computing – ones that will ultimately benefit businesses and organizations that rely on it as their core IT delivery mechanism. Not all businesses walk the same path, whether it be with cloud financing, types of deployment, or differences in overall objectives. However, a few things are pretty clear. One choice does not fit all. It’s no longer a conversation of public vs. private cloud. It’s about positive disruption and innovation. I expect the story to play out well over the next several months, and, as a result, IT leaders will become heroes again.