In 2014, we are finally in the year of the cloud. Promise! As in 2012 and 2013, it will make the breakthrough this year. Promise! It is written everywhere. If we take the sarcasm a little bit aside and face the reality, the truth does not look so bleak. It just depends on the shape of the cloud. IDC and Gartner are talking about billions of dollars to be invested in the global public IaaS market in the coming years. Crisp Research has looked at the German IaaS market in 2013 and came to completely opposite numbers. In public IaaS about 210 million euros were invested, while private cloud infrastructures reached investments of several billion euros. The contrast between two markets can’t hardly be different. But that’s ok. This our German mindset. Careful. Slowly. Successful. However, one thing companies should write on their agenda for 2014 and the years ahead. Whether talking about a public or private cloud. One thing is certain. No company can do without a cloud anymore! Guaranteed! Why? Read on.
The deployment model of IT has changed
Basically, in a cloud it is about how IT resources are provided. This is done on-demand via a self-service and using a billing model that determined costs according to actual consumption.
The above mentioned IT resources, in the form of applications (SaaS), platforms (development environments; PaaS) and infrastructures (virtual servers, storage; IaaS) are provided as services that a user can order. This means in reverse, that you may not stop at an ordinary virtualization. Virtualization is just a means to an end. Finally, the user must somehow get to the resources. Pick up the phone, call the IT department and wait is not a sign that a cloud infrastructure is available. Quite the contrary.
Based on what kind of cloud the resources are provided depends on the use case. There is no „Uber Cloud“ that solves all the problems at once. For a public cloud exist sufficient use cases. Even for topics or industries that seem far away at first. Bottom line, in many cases it is a question of data. And exactly these needs to precisely be classified. Then it can come to the decision that only a private cloud comes into question. In this case, a company will become its own cloud provider (with all the highs and lows a public cloud provider has to deal with), develops its own cloud infrastructure and supplies its internal customers directly. Or one can go to one of the managed cloud providers, that exclusively operate a private cloud within a dedicated environment, only for one customer and also have professional services in their portfolio, that public cloud providers typically offer only via a network of partners.
It is solely crucial that companies turn to a cloud model, because…
Employees ask for services on demand
Employees want services and they want them now and not in two weeks or three months. And if they do not get what they need, then they find a way to get it. Honestly! There are many attractive alternatives on the IT market for quite some time, which are just a few clicks and a credit card number away to satisfy the needs. That especially in the IaaS area still waits a lot of work, with this case most non IT people are unaware. But they obviously got what they needed and if it was just the desire for attention. The cloud provider has finally responded immediately. The miracle of self-service!
IT-as-a-Service is not just a buzz word. It is the reality. IT departments are under pressure to work as a separate business unit and even develop products and services for their company or to provide them at least according to the needs. Therefore, they must respond proactively. And here not to apply cuffs is meant, by closing the firewall ports. No, here it is about to question themself.
That this works, the Deutsche Bahn subsidiary DB Systel impressively demonstrated by reducing the deployment process from 5 days to 5 minutes(!) per virtual server with its own private cloud.
Keep hybrid cloud in mind
While the constant discussions, whether a public or private cloud comes into question, one should always keep the option of a hybrid cloud in mind.
A hybrid cloud allows a unique use case for the use of a public cloud. Here, certain areas of the IT infrastructure (computing power and storage) are translocated in a public cloud environment. The rest and mission-critical areas remain within the self-managed on-premise IT infrastructure or private cloud.
In addition, the hybrid cloud model provides a valuable approach for the architecture design by sections of the local infrastructure, which cause high costs, but equally are difficult to scale, are combined with infrastructure that can be provisioned massively scalable and when required. The applications and data to be rolled out on the best platform for the individual case and the processing between the two is integrated.
The use of hybrid scenarios confirms the fact that not all IT resources should be translocated in public cloud environments and for some it’s never even come into question. Are overall issues such as compliance, speed requirements and security restrictions considered, a local infrastructure is still necessary. However, the experiences gained from the hybrid model help to understand what data should be kept locally and which can be processed within a public cloud environment.