Have you made the dive into the cloud? If not, you are missing out. What once seemed like a progressive idea is about to become standard.
In the latest reports by Forbes and Reuters, cloud computing is predicted to cause a major wave in the coming decade, with brands like Amazon, Microsoft, Alphabet, and Intel focusing on the transition more than ever.
Why the Cloud is Critical
Cloud computing is regarded as a remedy to data storage and infrastructure management that offers a value proposition compared to conventional IT environments. First-hand virtualization and aggregate computing, or shared/segmented storage and data management, offer new economies of scale where limited time and resources are certain. Virtual instances are also typically more affordable than traditional IT environments as you can choose to only pay for the resource employed.
Understanding the Cloud
The definition of “the cloud” isn’t always clear. However, this practical guide to cloud computing (or moving to the cloud) provides comprehensive information to make the right decisions.
Definition of “the Cloud”
According to the National Institute for Science and Technology,
Cloud computing is a model for enabling universal, convenient, on-demand network access to a shared pool of configurable computing resources (e.g., networks, servers, storage, applications, and services) that can be rapidly provisioned and released.
Five essential characteristics
- On-demand services Gives you the freedom to automatically select computing capabilities, such as network storage and server time, as needed or as used.
- Resource pooling: Multiple consumers can share computing resources via a multi-channel cloud model. Different resources – physical and virtual – are deployed depending on your need.
- Broad access: All capabilities of cloud services, including computing power, are accessed through a standard protocol promoting increased flexibility. Broad network access means that resources can be accessed through mobile devices such as phones, PDAs and laptops.
- Measured service:
This is done by leveraging a metering capability in the user accounts, storage, processing, or bandwidth level. Transparent cloud monitoring and reporting are always good for business.
- Rapid elasticity: Cloud resources can quickly be retrieved from almost anywhere using a computer device provided there’s an internet connection. You can decide to scale up or down and this can be done in a flash.
For most organizations, cloud computing is an extension of existing infrastructure. The model can either be dedicated or designed to focus on particular tasks or strictly new projects. Organizations may also use the cloud for overflow where enterprise computing is involved.
Cloud Service Models
- Software-as-a-Service (SaaS): With SaaS, a third-party vendor, such as CenterGrid, offers you applications via a pay-per-use business model. You can access various shared applications, such as email, through a thin client interface. Cloud services also provide you with cloud infrastructure management, including network, servers, OSs, storage, and specific application capabilities with limited client configuration.
- Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS): With PaaS, you can deploy applications created using language and tools supported by a third-party vendor such as CenterGrid. Like SaaS, we will manage everything, but you have control over the applications deployed, and the hosting environment.
- Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS): You can process, store, and access networks, including other computing resources, where you can deploy arbitrary software. This includes OS and other applications. Compared to the above models, IaaS allows a third-party vendor, such as CenterGrid, to manage or control your cloud infrastructure, with you controlling OSs, storage, applications, and some networking components like firewalls.
Cloud Deployment Models
- Private cloud: Popular for large companies, infrastructure in private cloud is limited to a single organization. Depending on your preference, the infrastructure can either be on-premise or externally hosted.
- Public cloud: Usually operated by third-party providers, such as CenterGrid, public cloud provides infrastructure for everyone. Public cloud is preferred mainly by small and medium enterprises, as it is considered very economical.
- Hybrid cloud: As its name suggests, hybrid is a mix of on-premises, private cloud and third-party, public cloud services with orchestrated networking between the two platforms. It’s highly rated because of its flexibility and scalability compared to other models.
How Cloud Computing is Achieving Meaningful Use
- Investment in robust computing technology remains a major challenge to cloud computing. Most businesses require fast servers and abundant storage, which is why implementing and sustaining modern infrastructure is necessary. Fortunately, disruptive technologies are more available now than ever, providing economical and effective solutions for development and sustainability.
- Having scalable and elastic IT capabilities provided as-a-service is critical for any business. Establishing effective computing power to achieve peak performance takes a great deal of time and money.
- Cloud computing helps eliminate the need for local computing power, including storage and security options via third-party remote hosting. A cloud vendor primarily provides the data center and storage media necessary for running different applications. You can pay for only what is required since the cloud is scalable.
- Security has been and is still the biggest challenge for cloud service providers. The growth and sophistication of current technologies have made it necessary for providers to ensure robust, industry-standard security measures in place to detect and prevent data breaches.
- Cloud computing has matured and is being integrated with nearly every digital business process. Apart from providing versatile and global access to software, the cloud has been the main resource for data and software sharing. Your IT department and business decision-makers should begin adopting cloud computing as the primary approach to effective operations.
Cloud Predictions Onwards – Is it the End of the Beginning?
“The Global Cloud Computing Market was valued at USD 442.89 Billion in 2021, and it is expected to reach a value of USD 1369.50 Billion by 2028, at a CAGR of more than 17.50% over the forecast period (2022 – 2028). The expanding usage of cloud-based services and the growing number of small and medium businesses around the world are the important drivers driving the market growth.” ResearchAndMarkets.com.
Here are a few predictions for upcoming cloud-based services
Disruption Faces the Big-Dollar Snowflake Industry
Infrastructure-as-a-Code (IaaC) is part of the revolution, where organizations deploy cloud services to offer agility, dynamic security, scalability and fast recovery. It can also be deployed via modular and hyper-converged solutions on the premises of a given company. The focus on Infrastructure-as-a-Code is rapidly growing, as companies continue to realize that mixing and matching custom hardware by a service provider is small business. The result is an infrastructure that is unreliable and not as effective. Many organizations have opted to purchase servers to improve operations and revenue. The purchase is usually based on cost, SLA, and support as long as there is no lock-in hence a universal consistent Infrastructure-as-a-Code.
In any business, there are those who triumph and others who fail. The IT services industry is prone to change, like any other industry. To succeed, service value can be strengthened by automation, interconnecting sensors, and analytics for an overall rich client experience.
The Increasing Growth and Spread of Cloud Services
For years public cloud data centers have served businesses at greater levels in ensuring effectiveness in security and operations. The cloud provides the agility and velocity required for business, and it would be wrong to set location as a limiting factor. It is impossible for traditional data analytics to move and process big data, as they must be physically close to the location. This is done to ensure decisions are made in real-time and to make sure privacy and regulatory concerns are addressed.
Speed and flexibility are every organization’s desire for a cloud solution – one that connects the digital with the physical to meet business requirements. Moving forward, cloud services will no longer be limited to hyper-scale data centers. At CenterGrid, we are giving organizations the option to operate extremely close to people, data, devices, and machines to deliver the ideal user experience.
Cloud Computing Roadmap
A cloud computing roadmap is important for any organization that desires a level of IT maturity. There are several steps to creating a reliable roadmap:
- Assemble a team. This doesn’t just mean the IT department. A good team includes senior management, with resources from all business departments. This team will make strategic business decisions that should improve primary objectives and IT efficiency. While assembling this team, consider that different skills are needed at cloud adoption’s strategic, operational, and tactical phases.
- Develop an enterprise cloud strategy. This is the foundation of the project-specific adoption strategy. Consider the existing business environment and understand functionality and services needed. During its development, team members will assess each service against the cost of delivery. For example, the team will need to weigh cloud service charges vs. reduced capital costs of a new cloud service. At this stage, the business must decide whether to train the in-house team or pay for external services to provide the necessary resources.
- Select cloud deployment models. Choosing the suitable model depends on several factors, including the necessity of cloud services, migration costs, security threats and elasticity. By considering these factors, the team can decide which deployment model to adopt: private onsite, private off-site, or a public model. The private onsite model is for cloud consumers offering sensitive services and those who can acquire hardware and software. For a private off-site model, the consumer can rent resources to handle mission-critical services. The public model is only ideal for services that don’t require access to sensitive information.
- Cloud service model – An organization can choose from IaaS, SaaS, and PaaS—the most common cloud service models. The choice depends on the size and IT maturity of the company. The team should assess each model’s benefits and downsides to ensure the option suits the organization’s requirements.
- Determine who will develop, test and deploy. This isn’t usually an easy decision, but it should be based on business needs. You may choose to use your in-house team, cloud providers, off-the-shelf purchases or independent cloud service development providers. The trick here is ensuring that the pros outweigh the cons no matter whom you choose to develop, test and deploy cloud services for your business.
- Proof of Concept. At this stage, your team needs to convince senior management or the board that the cloud is a good option with the promise of ROI. Management has to review your proposal, projected costs, risks, and benefits in order to approve.
- Integrate with existing enterprise services. The cloud isn’t a total replacement for existing services, and establishing seamless links is necessary. There must be interoperability between existing enterprise services and cloud services, which is achieved using APIs and custom code for each new cloud service. Security is a major issue at this stage, and the business must implement interface controls to ensure secure data transfer.
- Develop and manage SLAs. Expectations for service must be clear between the cloud provider, such as CenterGrid, and the organization. An SLA must clearly outline the responsibilities of each party, how to resolve issues, penalties, and an exit strategy if a party isn’t satisfied.
- Manage the cloud environment. The customer support team handles operational challenges with managed services. However, if they cannot resolve an issue, a problem must be escalated to the CIO, who shares responsibility for the successful operation of cloud services.
- Disaster Recovery Plan. Aside from just getting setup in the cloud, you also need to consider a disaster recovery plan, not just a backup. There must be clearly defined vendor management processes to avoid stalling business operations if there is more than one third-party provider.
The promise of the cloud is seen to massively benefit the computing world. And as it continues to expand its spread and effectiveness, a constant improvement of cloud products and services is paramount. Better security, instant service, bigger storage, and, best of all, better scalability are significant influencers on what the future holds for the cloud.
Want to learn how we can help you get to the could? Check out CenterGrid Compass, your guide to the cloud.