Hybrid Clouds To Follow Private Cloud Success
Enterprise Cloud Computing Endeavors Continue Down Private Road and Look Toward Hybrid Futures
While the cloud computing landscape as a whole is gaining momentum in the business world, not all firms are pursuing the same technologies, as doing so will make it more difficult for companies to differentiate themselves from competitors. In the past, organizations often thought "the cloud" was a single entity consisting of a flexible environment hosted off-site, ideal for business phone systems and other solutions that need a scalable underlying architecture. More recently, however, decision-makers throughout the corporate landscape have realized that the cloud is more of an umbrella term, as there are numerous options to choose from.
While the initial concept of the cloud still exists in the form of public services, enterprises also have the choice to implement private offerings that do not share the same multi-tenant characteristics as their public counterparts. Private cloud deployments have been steadily gaining momentum during the past several years, transitioning from a long-term goal to a reality, according to a new Gartner report. As the private cloud market evolves and matures, businesses are considering embracing hybrid strategies that integrate public cloud, private cloud and premise-based environments together. In fact, roughly half of companies are expected to have a hybrid cloud strategy in place by the end of 2017.
Private cloud initiatives can be highly beneficial for organizations that are looking to keep confidential assets under their control. At the same time, however, private cloud technologies should not be considered a panacea that can alleviate any problem. In fact, there are some instances where private cloud deployments are simply not accurate.
"Vendors are promoting private cloud computing as 'the next thing' for infrastructure and operations - and it is, but only for the right services. Virtualization is a horizontal, very broad trend, impacting a high percentage of IT infrastructure. Private cloud is a specific style of computing that will leverage virtualization, but is not appropriate for all services. While the majority of midsize and large enterprises will build and deploy private cloud services over the next few years, private cloud will only be used for specific, appropriate services," said Thomas Bittman, vice president and distinguished analyst at Gartner.
Building a cloud computing initiative, regardless if companies pursue a public, private or hybrid project, requires decision-makers to assess internal capabilities, assets and processes and aligning these measurements with various prospective cloud programs.
Developing a Cloud Strategy
Gartner highlighted a concern that may emerge during the next few years as companies carry out private cloud endeavors. During the past several years, there has been real progress made in the private cloud landscape, which has inevitably expanded the general cloud market and matured the environments as a whole. However, analysts expressed concern that future private cloud computing technologies will be built with these pilot projects in mind, making them unfit for the very applications and data that would otherwise function well in the architectures.
"Too often, private cloud projects are started by choosing a technology, but technology itself does not solve the transformational people and process issues," Bittman said. "It is much better to focus first on an approach to make transformative changes."
An InformationWeek report highlighted similar concerns, noting that organizations need to map out the specific goals they expect to achieve after migrating to the cloud. This means assessing how an office phone system, data storage, disaster recovery program or other solution will function in the cloud environment and the steps that must be taken to ensure those objectives are met.
InformationWeek also noted that IT executives should conduct research into the cloud provider's architecture, as some vendors have different underlying principles. This means that some environments are simply better suited for specific tasks, whether those activities are supporting high levels of traffic from mobile employees or managing workloads for contact center operations.
"People have a tendency not to think about architecture," David Linthicum told InformationWeek. "The architectural differences can show up in a big way."
In the coming years, the rapidly evolving cloud landscape will continue to influence the business decision-making process, encouraging organizations to think outside of the box in an effort to gain a competitive advantage or simply augment an outdated practice to improve efficiency. Private cloud computing has quickly become the "go to" for many organizations that are looking to improve their cloud management capabilities without impairing the bottom line or introducing unrealistic maintenance responsibilities. At the same time, however, enterprise executives must take the time to ensure their cloud endeavors meet long-term objectives. This may mean combining multiple cloud services together to form a hybrid program, giving decision-makers and employees alike the ability to have access to the best of both worlds.