In simple terms, the cloud is just a company’s applications and services running in a remote facility and accessible through the internet versus running it in their own data center or on a laptop or server at the facility while using their own network. It is based upon the virtualization of the infrastructure, both the compute and the storage environment.
Thus, rather than having a specific configuration within the physical server or the physical storage device, the company virtualizes it so that the computer can run across multiple servers. Similarly, the same thing occurs on the storage side, so that the company is able to ramp up and ramp down in an elastic manner, both their compute and storage capabilities. Essentially, instead of buying a whole bunch of computers or servers, the company is renting space on the cloud servers.
Types of Cloud storage facilities
There are three basic types:
Public Cloud – Companies like Amazon Web Services (AWS), IBM Cloud, Google Cloud, and Microsoft Azure are all examples of public cloud providers. These providers own and manage everything in terms of cloud architecture – the hardware, the software and other infrastructure – and deliver them as a cloud service. It has various advantages:
Private Cloud – Unlike the public cloud, the private cloud system is designed for one organization as per their needs. Private cloud storage comes in two formats: On-premise and externally hosted. Both storage facilities work well with a company and can be designed to align with the company's needs. The private cloud offers various advantages:
Hybrid Cloud – Like the name itself suggests a hybrid cloud unifies the public and private cloud into a unique type of cloud that offers the advantages of both the platforms. The data and resources are able to move between private and public clouds as per requirement, thus offering increased flexibility. Such type of cloud storage is useful for companies who might host certain types of data – such as webmail – on the public cloud while using the private cloud to secure data logs and other sensitive information. The hybrid cloud offers many advantages:
Advantages of using Cloud Computing
Elasticity - The first and foremost advantage of using the cloud facility is the elastic nature of it. That means, by introducing cloud computing into their environment, the companies are able to pay only for what they are using which is an On-demand environment. And once the company is able to identify their requirements, they would be able to replicate those environments on a demand basis. This allows the company for significant improvements in infrastructure as the company is now not worried about managing their infrastructure or network as they have already established that upfront and they get to leverage that over and over again.
Productivity – Productivity is a huge advantage of cloud computing. Multiple cloud management platforms such as Microsoft, Amazon, and Google, have created additional services that sit on just top of the virtualized compute and storage which are essential, application services. Like for example, if a data is to be transferred from one application to another, all the services that assist in the process are now available through these cloud management platform services. All there is to do is to enable those services and the company gets to leverage it rather than installing the software and managing itself.
Security – Cloud Computing also facilitates security controls, so that you can build those into your cloud patterns. Once a company is able to establish its environment, the security controls can be built into it and managed, thus reducing the complexities of the environment as well as reducing the unnecessary variables in it.
Standardization - Standardization is the foundational and fundamental core of how cloud computing works. A company has to standardize its infrastructure, resources, and services in order to be able to run those in a dynamic shared tenancy model, which cannot be done without the standardization.
In a broader sense, the company is able to obtain the benefits of the cloud provider’s scale, breadth, and resources which they might not have beforehand. This includes the programs build, the machine learning components and the AI libraries that these cloud management companies have.
According to a report, the cloud computing industry has been named as one of the 12 technologies that will change the relationship between the CIO and the boardroom. As the cloud computing market continues to grow, there would be many more challenges and expectations on the CIO’s to face and deliver. These expectations and the competence to fulfil them will be the building block for CIO’s in the upcoming years.
According to a survey conducted by IDC, about 60-70% of all IT companies will be investing majorly in the cloud-based solutions by 2020. Thus, in order to cope up with the upcoming challenges, companies will have to be aligned with the trends that follow which are mentioned below:
Preference for Hybrid-based cloud solutions
Moving all the data to a cloud facility is seen to be a difficult and risky task. Between having all the data and services available offline and offloading everything on cloud storage, the companies are struggling to make balance. Thus, in order to address this situation, the solution of Hybrid Cloud provides the solution. As mentioned above, the hybrid cloud provides with more control, customization, higher flexibility and being cost-effective as compared to other two alternatives.
Demand for Cloud Computing
With the increase in solutions such as SaaS, PaaS, and IaaS right on the horizon, we can expect the usage of cloud computing to escalate in large numbers. According to a report by Gartner, cloud application services - or software as a service (SaaS) – is expected to grow at 16.2% to reach USD 98.9 Billion by 2020. Cloud System Infrastructure Services (IaaS) is expected to grow at 26.3% to reach USD 49.9 Billion and Cloud Application Infrastructure Services (PaaS) at 22.34% to reach USD 23 Billion by 2020. With the open-source developers being seen to be closer than ever in creating tools to run on the cloud, we can expect a large number of applications to generate more percentages of total cloud revenue.
Quantum Computing – The Next Big Thing
About three years ago, IBM came up with a quantum computer called: 5-quantum bit, now known as IBM Q Experience. Nearly 70,000 users registered for it worldwide back then which now has seen to be almost quadrupled. All the tech giants such as Microsoft, Intel and Google are meticulously in the hunt to deliver industry the much-needed abilities smoothly. This includes seamless data encryption, improvised AI predictions, forecast predictions and other functions that we sort out to accomplish in order to solve complex medical problems and other major issues. The focus is now observed to be shifting towards implementing quantum supremacy, in a scenario where quantum computers are able to carry out tasks beyond the reach of today’s supercomputers.
With more technology infiltrating a company’s infrastructure, security concerns will rise along with it as well. With the concept of General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) highlighted recently, security concerns have risen higher and are the most highlighted thing to look after. Looking at the potential of the cloud computing industry, companies are quickly climbing up the stairs without any standardized security considerations. As per Gartner, 99% of potential vulnerabilities through 2020 will be from the IT Companies regarding security concerns only.
In brief, 83% of the company workloads are expected to be hosted on the cloud with 41% being hosted on public clouds and 22% on the hybrid cloud platforms. Thus, companies will have to face far more challenges than those anticipated in regards to security issues.
Emphasis on Cloud Optimization
When it comes to the minutest of the details, it has been observed that companies who use cloud computing have been dissatisfied with the cost overruns that they face while using this facility. Other issues such as security, day-to-day maintenance, root-cause analysis, cost of recruiting cloud professionals have hampered companies cost budgets too. These situations usually arise due to the lack of knowledge and technical expertise by the company which leads to operational inefficiencies.
Thus, in light of these concerns, entrepreneurs and companies around the world are looking to provide solutions to it. One such company is LeanKloud, a company that is looking to break the barrier of information asymmetry between the customer and the cloud company. Through assessing a client’s infrastructure needs, LeanKloud is able to provide companies with fine-grain visibility on cloud utilization, current, and projected costs through forecasting and planning on their budgets and annuals accordingly. From assessing the infrastructure landscape to creating a business case, installing relevant metrics to reviewing and implementing recommendations, LeanKloud is able to provide end-to-end solution offerings that would assist a company in the long run. The solution offerings are also cloud-agnostic, meaning that whether a company uses the services of Microsoft Azure, Amazon Web Services or IBM, the solutions provided will be applicable on all these platforms.