The Cloud Hasn’t Stood Still, So Why Have Our Expectations?
Our ongoing love affair with the cloud doesn’t show any signs of slowing. In 2021, end-user spending on public cloud services alone is predicted to reach $332 billion — or, to put it another way, more than the GDP of Chile, Finland or Vietnam.
This affection is understandable. The cloud lets organizations build or adopt new services, expand to new regions and scale their offerings faster, more simply and — if used correctly — at lower cost than ever before. Yet while the cloud and its underlying technology have continued to advance, organizations’ expectations have stood still. As a result, too often cloud strategies don’t realize their full potential.
Taking The Good With The Bad?
For example, take the technology I’m probably most familiar with: databases. As the engine behind many organizations’ most critical applications, which will need to support services across the globe, databases can seem an excellent option to place in the cloud. Like many other technologies, organizations can quickly scale their estate to react to changes in demand, create new instances as needed to support new applications and pay for it all as-a-service rather than a single, up-front cost.
However, in practice, organizations will often run into issues when moving such crucial technologies. Estates can easily sprawl out of control, with infrastructure created to support new applications or to cope with increases in demand. This in turn means increased costs and risking the organization no longer knowing where all its data and resources are located.
Similarly, many organizations can find that their much-vaunted cloud solutions don’t provide the anticipated performance, meaning that any potential benefits are lost as services struggle to cope with demand. And organizations that have to manage data precisely in order to meet compliance demands could find that moving to the cloud compromises that data’s integrity, putting them at risk of fines and lost reputations.
Stuck In The Past
Why does this happen? A lot of the time, it’s because organizations’ expectations haven’t moved with the times. Too often, the assumption is that the cloud works in exactly the same manner as traditional physical IT, just at a larger and faster scale. Yet the cloud operates on very different rules and demands new approaches.
In many cases, cloud-based services will be based on technology from the 1970s or 1980s. This technology will still perform its intended tasks extremely well and certainly has a place performing essential functions in many organizations. But that place isn’t in the cloud.
Instead, organizations need to expect more from any technology placed in the cloud. In particular, their expectations should include:
If a service can’t support the most immediate selling point of the cloud — the ability to scale as needed to offer the right performance at the right time, depending on need — then it shouldn’t be considered as part of a cloud strategy.
However, true elasticity means more than just the ability to scale up to meet the needs of the hour. It also means the ability to shrink back when demand recedes. This demands controls so that services never scale up so far they become unaffordable or uncontrollable, or so far down that they can’t support the business. Instead, a truly elastic service should always sit at the intersection of performance and cost.
2. Meeting Multiple Use Cases
One common cause of cloud sprawl is the number of use cases organizations have to meet. For instance, the average enterprise will run hundreds of applications, each of which places different demands on databases. Some applications might simply need repetitive tasks to be completed as quickly as possible, so speeding up processes by caching data will be vital. For others, querying, searching and analyzing data will be a top priority.
Purchasing separate services to meet each of these use cases will mean increased spending, more to keep track of and a greater risk that one or more services will spiral out of control. Instead, services should be capable of fulfilling multiple use cases in one, reducing the need to buy, deploy and manage additional technologies.
3. Access To Data
The cloud may operate on different rules to physical IT, but it still obeys the laws of physics. The greater the physical distance between a cloud service’s servers and the data it needs, and the more barriers in the way, the slower applications will be. Yet at the same time, organizations must be responsible with their data, ensuring it isn’t placed at risk, copied or shared without controls in place or stored in regions that would break compliance obligations.
A modern cloud service should support data that is distributed across the cloud and all the way to the edge, that is protected wherever it is and that is rigorously managed to ensure data quality. With this, the organization can ensure the data is closest to where it’s consumed rather than sitting in a centralized cloud. This in turn makes sure applications are responsive and reduces the burden on networks.
Moving With The Times
We are still in the earliest stages of harnessing the cloud’s full potential. As we explore more, it will allow people to perform their current jobs more effectively and over time create new opportunities. However, for this to happen, organizations must ensure they’re moving with the times — and not bringing expectations from the last century with them.
This article originally appeared on forbes.com, to read the full article, click here.
Nastel Technologies is the global leader in Integration Infrastructure Management (i2M). It helps companies achieve flawless delivery of digital services powered by integration infrastructure by delivering tools for Middleware Management, Monitoring, Tracking, and Analytics to detect anomalies, accelerate decisions, and enable customers to constantly innovate, to answer business-centric questions, and provide actionable guidance for decision-makers. It is particularly focused on IBM MQ, Apache Kafka, Solace, TIBCO EMS, ACE/IIB and also supports RabbitMQ, ActiveMQ, Blockchain, IOT, DataPower, MFT, IBM Cloud Pak for Integration and many more.
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