The public cloud is everywhere. Even those who are against it and try not to use it, can’t avoid it.
It is woven into so many systems, applications, and services, that a public cloud-less soul is hard to find.
Here are the some of the top trends companies and IT teams are seeing in the public cloud market:
1. Public cloud sprawl and chaos
The public cloud is so accessible and so easy to subscribe to that it is hardly surprising that cloud sprawl is common and lack of control is rampant.
A recent survey found that a majority of pandemic-driven software-as-a-service (SaaS) growth came from unmanaged and shadow apps. This is not great news for CIOs and IT teams concerned about compliance and security.
SaaS management provider Productiv analyzed data spanning thousands of teams and over 35,000 apps across late 2019, 2020, and 2021. Key findings include:
- The average company SaaS portfolio grew 44% in the last two years
- Security and engineering teams lead with the highest number of apps used (73 and 70)
- Retail companies grew their SaaS portfolios by an average of 131% between 2019–2021, second only to the tech industry
2. Better public cloud management
Organizations are now taking steps to counter sprawl and get back in control of cloud spend and deployments, using methodologies such as FinOps.
“CIOs and IT teams need to understand the apps they have, what value their employees are getting out of those apps, and how those apps affect their security and compliance standards,” said Jody Shapiro, CEO, Productiv.
3. On-premises workloads learn from the cloud
We normally talk about the worlds of cloud and on-premises storage as being diametrically opposed and at odds with each other.
The conventional thinking over the past few years has been that the former is going to shrink the latter to near irrelevance.
However, on-premises isn’t going away, and the cloud is going to play a role in improving the delivery of on-premises storage services, according to Jeff Feierfeil, director of product management, Nebulon.
- 451 Research reported that almost half of companies (48%) moved a workload away from the public cloud, and of those, an overwhelming majority (87%) were destined for a self-managed infrastructure
- IDC figures show that 52% of workloads are still on-premises
“The ease of the public cloud experience has opened the eyes of IT operations professionals,” Feierfeil said.
“Now they are demanding a better way to manage unwieldy on-prem application server and storage infrastructure. This often involves multiple disparate management consoles, multiple APIs, and inconsistent deployment processes for a variety of bare metal, container, and virtualized deployments around the world. Something they don’t have to worry about in homogenous public cloud environments, where customers can deploy virtualized servers using a single API and management framework with a consistent repository of machine images.”
The cloud, Feierfeil added, is becoming more of an operating model versus a destination and is integral to delivering an easy on-premises storage — and more broadly, a server management — experience that IT professionals are accustomed to with the public cloud.
The cloud will make fleet management–style remote maintenance and upgrades for thousands of heterogeneous servers around the globe possible for an on-premises server estate. It will enable anyone to configure, provision, and monitor server infrastructure, without requiring the deep skill set usually required to maintain servers. It will also enable consistent configurations and deployments over time.
In other words, the cloud will bring the ease and simplicity of the hyperscaler experience to on-premises infrastructure.
4. Optimizing multi-region cloud resources
While organizations are increasingly taking advantage of burst to cloud for on-demand compute and storage resources to complement and extend on-premises capabilities, not all cloud regions are priced the same.
Increasingly, resource managers are leveraging recent technological innovations that enable them to dynamically and transparently select between geographic cloud regions to route their jobs and thus optimize their cloud compute and storage spend.
The result is a significant reduction in cloud compute and storage costs, said Floyd Christofferson, VP of product marketing, Hammerspace.
“Public cloud storage and compute costs can differ significantly by region,” Christofferson said.
“Data-intensive organizations, such as those in media and entertainment, biosciences, and others, rely heavily on the ability to burst jobs on demand to cloud storage and compute resources.”
For example, a typical post-production rendering job uses thousands of CPUs or GPUs for a single film, and must be available on demand.
Cloud resources in regions with high power and cooling costs, such as L.A. or London, are much more expensive than in more remote regions, even from the same cloud vendor.
Organizations are beginning to take advantage of technologies that enable them to dynamically and automatically select any cloud region regardless of where their primary data center is located, to use arbitrage methodology to select the lowest cost resource for their burst requirements for the particular job.
5. Remote desktops proliferate
Desktop virtualization in the public cloud is being embraced by IT because of its ability to scale.
Public cloud options such as Microsoft’s Azure Virtual Desktop (AVD) are enabling employees to be flexible about where they work.
But supporting the remote worker isn’t the only value of desktop-as-a-service (DaaS) and virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) technology. Security, lower operating costs, and improved business continuity are all additional benefits of operating virtual desktops via a public cloud approach.
“During the rapid switch to remote work, enterprises learned the tough lesson that on-premises VDI solutions are inflexible and difficult to scale,” said Vadim Vladimirskiy, co-founder and CEO, Nerdio.
“Hyperscale, cloud-based methods provide organizations with all the tools and capabilities they need to enable hybrid work for employees, as it is infinitely scalable and, most importantly, affordable.”
Thus, many organizations are shifting their technology stacks even faster to the cloud with desktop virtualization at the core.
Proper management of end-user experience in this cloud-based, virtual desktop environment requires tools that can detect and report on end-user experience problems as well as proactively solve them as IT staffing and skills shortages continue.
For example, Nerdio has ramped up to more than two million users of AVD and Windows 365 across its product portfolio. It adds features and functionality on top of AVD and Windows 365 to support faster virtual desktop deployments and simplified management to lighten the load on IT administrators.