17 May 2016

State, directions, and legends of the cloud


A review of the cloud today, some common cloud misconceptions, and future cloud directions

Without the cloud, most of us would find our professional and personal lives more challenging. Some actions and events would be impossible. It’s a good time to take stock of the current state of the cloud, deflate some cloud fairytales and misconceptions, and get a better sense of the most important cloud developments. That’s what we will do in today’s and several upcoming blog posts.

Cloud growth continues

The growth of data and applications in the cloud shows no signs of slowing down. As analysts note, global cloud software revenues in 2016 are expected to increase by more than 20 percent over 2015. The market size of the global public cloud might grow to as much as U.S.$160 billion by 2020, doubling in size from what it was as recently as 2014. Spending on cloud computing infrastructures is anticipated to grow 30 percent annually between 2013 and 2018, compared to 5 percent for overall enterprise IT.

It is almost impossible to think about the IT mega trends of mobile, social, and big data—with the huge data masses of the internet of things (IoT) contributing to big data—without the cloud. The cloud is not just one of the elements in Gartner’s Nexus of Forces, it is also the one without which the others would not nearly be as powerful and manageable. Without the scalability, affordability, and flexibility of cloud resources, the applications, digital events, and data streams associated with mobility, social interactions, and big data would come at a much higher cost, a large resource overhead, and severe management problems.

Defining cloud fundamentals

Since Gartner defined the cloud in 2009, the nature of the cloud has not really changed. However, some of its features, such as elasticity, have become increasingly relevant for businesses. Most of the technologies involved have become more robust and powerful. Also, there are many more and different services and utilization scenarios today than there were earlier.

Let’s briefly recap the six key distinctions of the cloud, as stated by Gartner and many others:

  • The cloud delivers services that people and companies need. User interfaces are tailored to the needs of specific user groups and service levels. Technology moves into the background.
  • Cloud capacity automatically scales up or down as users process transactions, exchange communications or files, and require resources.
  • The cloud’s elasticity make is possible to access pools of computing resources in response to changing workloads.
  • Cloud services and, as a result, their users, share hardware infrastructures, software systems, and other resources, taking advantage of the cloud’s high efficiency.
  • Use-based payment means that cloud service providers offer their customers a variety of contracts and service levels where they pay for their use of services and resources.
  • Cloud services rely on internet technologies, including architectures, protocols, identifiers, and formats.

Evolving ideas and conversations

Business and IT managers have become much more savvy about the potential benefits of cloud technology. Cloud conversations today are more nuanced than earlier, and one hears fewer radical claims that exaggerate the benefits of the cloud or predict that soon nobody will run on-premise software anymore.

Generally, instead of thinking of the cloud as a single, homogeneous entity, it’s more useful to imagine it as a large set of cloud-based services that can meet a broad array of business needs. Depending on your strategy and goals, cloud services may offer a valid response to some of your requirements, but not to others. Making individual choices for each application or workload, combining cloud-based and on-premise technologies, is more effective than avoiding the cloud entirely or moving all of your data and applications into it at once.

When a technology is as potentially all-encompassing, powerful, and affordable as the cloud, exaggerations and myths tend to sneak into the conversation. We are going to take a closer look at some of these cloud fairytales in the next blog posts, so you can stay clear of the traps they pose.

Blog posts in the cloud series:

If you would like to talk, or have questions and feedback, please get in touch. Get in touch with me or contact To-Increase.


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Luciano Cunha
Luciano Cunha,
Luciano Cunha,
Chief Executive Officer (CEO)

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