A decade ago, the first cloud computing service became commercially available. It has since been revolutionizing the way businesses consume, process, and share information. It has come a long way from being an industry buzzword to a prominent strategy for organizations looking to impact their agility, availability, productivity, and profitability.
According to IDC reports, 40% of the IT spend across hardware, software and services will be for cloud-related technologies by the end of 2018. In fact, IDC predicts that in next four years about half of all such spends shall be for cloud delivered models.
Cloud fuels the digital economy, enables scaling businesses and empowers digital transformation of enterprises. It is thus pertinent for industry experts to continuously observe and track the inherent trends this domain experiences. And, while we are at it, it is also critical for IT decision makers to understand and appreciate the directions data centers, the nerve-center of all businesses and bedrock of cloud computing, taking. Many of such movements are much in congruence.
We are one of the leaders of cloud services in India, running the country’s largest cloud-grid on our expansive data center footprints. That’s why we keenly observe how the technologies, the domains, and the markets have been shifting both in the country and globally.
Here are the top 5 trends we see.
- Virtual Private Cloud Gains Grounds
Over the years, CIOs of large organizations considered building private clouds to gain the economy of scale while maintaining tighter control over their ecosystems. Some succeeded, a lot didn’t.
The foremost issue that several CIOs faced was the lack of their private cloud’s flexibility to quickly scale up and down as they continued to grapple with their provisioning turn-around time. Lack of robust automated orchestration layer of underlying virtualized infrastructure and no self-service module added to the woe. Shortage of skill sets, resources, and investments compounded the problem.
A lot of organizations weren’t able to enjoy the true benefits of cloud computing because their private clouds didn’t match up and they weren’t too confident to run their entire workload on multi-tenant environments.
Virtual Private Cloud addresses such concerns and is fast gaining a strong foothold. The Virtual Private Cloud architecture allows CIOs to go beyond the simple colocation and use the service providers’ scale and resources to operate in single-tenant, containerized compute environment, with the flexibility to connect to hybrid cloud ecosystems to run seasonal workloads seamlessly.
This gives an organization an innate ability to run its production infrastructure along with its development projects in highly collaborative, flexible, yet most secure environments without significantly burning a hole in its pocket.
- Hybrid Cloud Is The New Normal, Experiencing Fastest Growth
Hybrid Cloud concept emerged about five years ago packed with tremendous promise. However, CIOs largely stayed away because of complexities to manage heterogeneous cloud platforms, lack of maturity of apps to be federated across the multi-cloud environment, and inability to transition workloads across the ecosystems seamlessly.
As the industry matures, hybrid cloud is fast emerging as the foundation for next-gen infrastructure. Gartner’s Vice President of Research, Ed Anderson, as quoted in media, considers the multi-cloud environment as a foundation for the next wave of advanced applications.
While MarketsAndMarkets states that the demand for hybrid clouds is growing at a compound rate of 27%, far higher than the overall IT market itself, RightScale’s annual survey on the state of the cloud suggests that over 71% of its respondents are adopting hybrid cloud. It is a remarkable number considering over 1000 enterprises, both large and SMEs, took part in the study from around the globe.
- Rise of Interconnected Frameworks, Powered by Software-Defined Datacenter
As hybrid cloud takes off, organizations will seek more robust interconnected frameworks underpinning all clouds and datacenter infrastructures to seamless move workloads across applications living in distributed computing environments. Service providers that have developed mature strategies to build and drive such interconnections across clouds, data centers, and solution providers, will gain significant traction in the market.
In fact, CIOs will actively build relationships with such service providers who ensure that organizations can leverage diverse compute platforms to run multiple application components. Think of it like signing Master Service Agreement to manage several SLAs.
Naturally, the leading components to enable such interconnected frameworks are Software-Defined Networking and Storage. Software-Defined technologies are gaining significant grounds and are enabling the next-generation of automated and fully virtualized data centers. Gartner predicts that by 2020 Software-Defined Datacenter will be a core requirement for about 75% of Global 2000 enterprises to implement a DevOps approach and hybrid cloud model. IDC states that by 2018, over 60% of new apps will use cloud-enabled continuous delivery and cloud-native application architectures to enable faster innovation and business agility.
- Datacenters Continue To Grow; A Quarter To Come From Asia
Progressive organizations are leasing out data center real estate at the minimum or consolidating their multi-cloud environments with leading third-party data center and managed services players as it significantly reduces the management, maintenance, cost-related, and vulnerability pain points. Digital transformation of businesses, mobility, big data, and IoT are also driving up the pressure on IT capacity and scalability.
While with mobility and IoT specifically, data is closer to users now, its application and availability are more central to clouds running on such datacenter backbones. Hence, the market will keep growing. In fact, Gartner predicts the Indian data center market to grow by over 5% in 2016 to reach over $2 billion.
Piyush Gandhi, national director of project & development services at JLL India was recently cited in media describing the rise in demand for real estate for data centers. He mentioned that about 40 million square feet will be added to the global data center market by the end of next year. In fact, India leads the market, as Asia-Pacific region itself accounts for over a quarter of the global data center market revenues. 451 Research states that the annualized revenue of hosted models will cross $36 billion globally by end of 2017, up from $25 billion now.
- Workload-Centric and Datacenter Management Platforms Will Take Over
As Software-Defined ecosystems continue to make inroads into data centers and organizations increasingly move onto heterogeneous, multi-cloud environments, CIOs shall need more robust and seamless platforms to closely monitor and manage their workloads through a single pane of glass. IDC predicts that by 2017, more than half of enterprise IT organizations building hybrid clouds will seek centralized workload-centric cloud management solutions, as Software-Defined Datacenters will increasingly provide real-time virtual resource allocations to meet demanding needs of IoT, mobility, and Big Data.
IDC says that over 40% of data center management vendors expect the industry to move toward self-healing technologies in the future, making it pertinent to have such management consoles to make sense of what’s happening in real time, and better control the required scale ups and downs.