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It’s fair to say that the cloud computing has survived its own hype. There have been so many catchy names for the latest and greatest in storage over the past twenty years, but most faded from view within a couple of years. Not the cloud. Despite a hype storm like no other, the underlying fundamentals of the cloud were strong enough. That’s why it has gone from strength to strength.
More than that, the cloud is evolving as adoption grows even stronger. Here are some of the top trends cloud storage managers need to be aware of.
1. Keep it Simple
With cloud complexity growing, storage managers need to find a way to keep things simple. That calls for automation and workflows for all key processes that span the cloud, SaaS, and on-prem. The trend, therefore, is to find a way to reduce complexity despite a growing volume of cloud deployments.
“You want a cloud infrastructure that is easy to deploy and use, easy to manage and flexible,” said Archana Venkatraman, an analyst at IDC.
2. Money’s Not Enough
Lots of people move to the cloud to save money. It may not be the right reason, and it may not necessarily turn out to be true. Robert Rhame, an analyst at Gartner, said that some workloads won’t move easily to the cloud.
“That’s why some companies overspent, and why others have had to move workloads back on prem,” he said.
The right reason is to have a business case for the movement to the cloud. Once that is understood, only then should the financial side be considered.
3. Wait for End of Life
While some rushed headlong onto the cloud, a more conservative approach appears to be taking root. Take the case of Australian investment firm QIC. After experiencing heavy growth, its traditional in-house data center struggled under the load. But the company’s transition to the cloud has been done in accordance with equipment age. As its SANs and tape infrastructure reached end of life, it has been changing them out and moving those applications to the cloud.
“We are moving everything into the cloud by end of year,” said Mark Trenerry, Cloud and Infrastructure Manager at QIC. “All workloads will run in Azure with Commvault used to back up into AWS.”
4. IoT and the Cloud
The move to the cloud is now occurring in parallel with the Internet of Things (IoT) explosion. Karl Rautenstrauch, Senior Program Manager for Azure Storage at Microsoft, said one million new devices per hour will be coming online by 2020. That’s due primarily to IoT taking hold. Therefore, storage managers better plan accordingly. Storage needs will become even harder to predict in the face of this unprecedented wave of new devices.
5. New Comparison
Once upon a time, storage firms compared themselves to other storage firms. But David Bartoletti, an analyst at Forrester Research, said that is no longer the way leading firms are thinking.
“Don’t compare to others in your industry, compare yourself to Amazon, Airbnb and others who are causing disruption,” he said.
6. Customer First Strategy
Bartoletti added that companies need to have a serious rethink about their strategy for the cloud. Moving for cost may not be smart. A better way to do it is to base a cloud strategy on improved customer service, performance and applications.
“It’s about customer-based ecosystems built on the cloud,” said Bartoletti. “Connect apps to the customer so they are involved earlier in the process. It’s not about cheap storage, it’s about transforming the business faster and delivering compelling customer apps.”
7. Cloud Adoption Rocketing
Bartoletti delivered a history lesson on cloud adoption. He said that cloud adoption was relatively slow in the enterprise until 2012. That was when vendors got serious in adoption security measures and adding valued enterprise features.
“That was why the cloud exploded in the enterprise from 2013 on,” said Bartoletti. “We are now up to 49% adoption of the public cloud in the enterprise.”
8. Keep Traditional Systems In House
Tremendous effort has been expended to move aging systems and legacy mission critical systems in house. A lot of that effort has been wasted. Some systems just don’t fit in the cloud. Others are restricted by certain security or regulatory requirements. But when someone comes along with the latest plan to move such systems to the cloud, go ahead and ask why. The move may be very costly, may open the company to regulatory attacks, may inhibit performance and may compromise security.
“The trend now is for traditional systems of record to stay in house,” said Bartoletti. “There is no reason for them not to.”
9. Multiple Clouds
The “move to the cloud” mantra made everything sound easy and simple. But it has evolved far beyond its original concept. These days, most companies have deployed all sorts of clouds. As well as public and private clouds, there are various cloud providers – not just Amazon, Google, and Microsoft, — but others who serve specific niches. And of course, there are a multitude of SaaS providers who utilize the cloud.
“The cloud has added complexity as there are now multiple clouds to deal with,” said Bob Hammer, CEO of Commvault.
10. Hybrid IT and the Cloud Boomerang
Another trend that storage managers have to deal with is the growth of hybrid IT. From on-prem, organizations have added the public cloud, the private cloud, SaaS, remote offices and mobile users. Hammer also noted that some applications can’t be in the cloud due to their security or data management requirements. Further, some applications were moved to the cloud and have since been moved back. The bottom line is that some apps are right for the cloud and others are best left in house.