Over the past few decades, the Cloud’s burgeoning features and capabilities have made most CIOs virtually giddy with excitement. Historically, email was the first public offering to be put on the Cloud. Cut to today, we see business-critical applications in the enterprise environment on the Cloud.
These days, there are many flavors of the cloud to choose from — private, public, or hybrid. As the name suggests, a private Cloud is one that’s set up within boundaries of the enterprise and communicates with internal IT systems. It is 100% owned and managed by the enterprise, and its users are largely internal. On the other hand, the public Cloud is a service extended to enterprises by a service provider. Case in point are cloud offerings like Infrastructure as a Service, Platform as a Service, Software as a Service — meaningful offerings created and offered to the public via a public Cloud.
And finally, hybrid cloud is a healthy combination of both of the above models, and “uses a mix of on-premises, private Cloud, and third-party, public Cloud services with orchestration between the two platforms.”1 Simply put, it is a set of infrastructure and apps partly governed by the enterprise and partly subscribed through the public domain. As evidenced by reports brought out by the IDC, Gartner, and Forrester Research, the popularity of the hybrid cloud has only grown over the last decade.
So why exactly is the Cloud suddenly taking the world by storm?
The way I see it, there are 2 factors contributing to the success of the Cloud:
- Maturity in adoption: Both from the service provider’s end, as well as adjustments taking place in the regulatory end. Lifting of restrictions imposed by government authorities and regulatory bodies has resulted in an overall development and maturity of the whole ecosystem.
- Innovation: Today, many players are bringing in innovative solutions to the computing problems of the vast majority (be it B2C or even B2B users). Some classic examples of this innovation are RedBus and Bookmyshow — had such apps not been around, one would have to physically visit the venues to book relevant tickets. Such e-commerce apps bring about ease of use, ‘click of a button’ convenience, and eliminate the hassles that existed previously. These e-commerce ventures have given us choice at our fingertips!
On a scale of 1-10, the industry-wide cloud adoption at this point is between 5 & 6, and is growing at a rate of x + 20%. This weighs heavily on the fact that the Cloud contributes unique solutions and an enhanced value proposition to its users.
Why Hybrid Cloud adoption is on an upswing:
When Cloud adoption increases, hybrid Cloud adoption increases right with it. Let’s look at some of the reasons for this:
1. Investment: SMBs find it much easier to adopt public Cloud (for areas like HR, Finance, Marketing, Accounting), as the flexibility of the offerings allows them to purchase what best suits their need. Large enterprises already have a heavy investment in IT infrastructure, and can’t do away with private cloud internally. That’s why large organizations are perfect candidates for contributing to growth of the hybrid Cloud.
2. Sensitivity of data – This is another crucial factor aiding in the adoption of hybrid Cloud. Compliance and regulatory challenges specified by statutory bodies stipulate that companies have to keep sensitive data on premise, in a secure manner. However, as mentioned above, such regulatory requirements are slowly being eased out.
3. Captive team: Employees whose skill sets have been nurtured and developed on existing IT systems by their companies cannot be let go off.
These factors are now compelling large enterprises as well as SMEs to look for something innovative on public Cloud. What’s more, we are gradually seeing an increasing footprint of public Cloud within the enterprise or enhanced ratio of public in hybrid Cloud environment. This increase is fueled by the advancement and innovation of Cloud offerings. With refresh cycles every 3-4 years, enterprises are being given an opportunity to relook at what to maintain on private Cloud vs what to move out to public. The trend is to move slowly and gradually onto public or hybrid Cloud, thus making the overall IT footprint very lean.
The way forward:
The trends in the IT industry point to the development of microservices and containers, which in itself will fuel Cloud adoption.
But what do I mean by microservices and containers?
Take an organization’s HR function, for instance: there are activities such as employee recruitment, appraisals, leave calculation, salary calculation / payroll processing etc. Each of these functions can be broken down into multiple sub-systems — and could be treated as a microservice in itself. When these microservices are aggregated and put in overall containers, it becomes a Cloud offering. Thanks to these and the other factors mentioned above, I foresee overall Cloud adoption only increasing in the coming years, ultimately leading to higher adoption of hybrid Cloud.