In this article
- For a growing number of industries, hybrid Cloud — combining public and private Cloud — has become a vital IT solution
- The Cloud28+ system allows companies to search through a marketplace of Cloud offerings and find the best match
Cloud computing, which allows data to be stored and applications to be hosted remotely rather than on a local server or PC, has revolutionized modern enterprise. And creating a hybrid Cloud environment, which leverages public and private, on-premise Clouds, has become not only a convenient IT solution for a growing number of industries and governmental organizations, but also an increasingly vital one.
The rise of Big Data, with its reliance on fast, reliable connectivity, and the movement toward greater computing mobility has placed demands on our IT systems that were almost unimaginable a few years ago. The hybrid Cloud solution allows them to respond quickly to these demands, bringing them increased capacity and flexibility, allowing them to scale up or down in an instant, saving them money on hardware and maintenance and keeping sensitive data secure.
The Cloud is “not a fad,” says Daniel Burrus, author of the New York Times bestseller “Flash Foresight” and CEO of Burrus Research Associates, a research and consulting firm. The growth of the Cloud and our reliance on it, he says, “is not a soft trend; it’s a hard trend.”
“Public Clouds are cheap, reliable and robust,” says Indranil Gupta, an associate professor of computer science at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign whose research has focused on large-scale distributed systems such as data centers and Cloud computing systems. “You can get access to resources for computation, storage, networking and a lot more for only a few cents an hour or a few cents a gigabyte per month.”
Public Clouds allow organizations to outsource the day-to-day responsibilities and costs of maintaining an in-house data center, but private Clouds remain useful for a variety of reasons, from legal and privacy restrictions to simply ensuring continuity. The hybrid Cloud solution brings the advantages of both public and private Clouds into a single system that is tailored to each company’s individual needs.
Organizations that go beyond merely adjusting to this new Cloud environment and find opportunity in it, says Burrus, will be at a distinct advantage.
“A lot of people think the Cloud is just about saving money and being more efficient, and it will do that,” he says. “But the bigger thing to understand is it’s about innovation. It’s about doing things that were impossible to do just a few years ago.”
Frank Gens, senior vice president and chief analyst of the industry research firm IDC, has predicted that the greater Cloud market will hit $118 billion this year — and reach $200 billion by 2018. He also expects that by 2016, 75 percent of enterprise IT will be provided by hybrid Cloud technology.
Some regions are experiencing that growth more slowly than others. Migration to the Cloud in Europe has been complicated by a variety of factors, particularly a lack of awareness about available options and services. “Only one out of five enterprises in the EU is using Cloud services,” says Xavier Poisson Gouyou Beauchamps, vice president of Hewlett Packard Enterprise’s Helion business in EMEA. “The reason for that, they say, is because they simply don’t know what to use.”
In response, HP launched the Cloud28+ initiative, a member-governed community of Cloud service providers, resellers, independent software vendors, and government entities from across the 28 EU member states. The result is a marketplace and catalogue of trusted, open standards-based Cloud services, a locally made and secured “Cloud of Clouds.”
“If you want to book a restaurant with your partner tonight, you can take your smartphone and reach platforms on which to find restaurants,” says Poisson, who conceived of Cloud28+ 18 months ago. “But if you are an enterprise today and want to reach Cloud capabilities to improve your IT or your business, where do you go to find the right Cloud service to meet your needs? There was nothing.”
Meanwhile, the IT research firm 451 Research compares Cloud28+ to an online dating service, where companies looking for Cloud services can find their perfect match. Say a service provider designs a “smart city” Cloud service to be used in Barcelona. With Cloud28+, the provider can publish its services on the group’s catalogue, where it may be discovered by an entity with corresponding needs in Prague. The Prague organization can then subscribe to the service and execute it in a local datacenter so it will conform to local country-specific compliance rules and EU privacy regulations.
Cloud28+ is still in beta, with an anticipated launch in December 2015, but it already has 110 community members and a catalogue of 300 independently certified Cloud services. By January 2016, Beauchamps expects to reach at least 250 members, 600 Cloud services, and 1,000 catalogue users. Eventually, he’d like to expand the initiative beyond Europe: perhaps to APEC, which faces challenges similar to those in the EU. Laws, languages and issues of privacy and compliance that differ from country to country might slow progress, but initiatives like Beauchamps’ are working to open up global access to the Cloud.
As the Cloud gathers steam and spreads, it has the potential “to transform every business process,” Burrus says. It has also changed our lives: without the Cloud, for example, you couldn’t order a car through Uber. “A good way to think of the Cloud is that it’s an enabler,” he says. “It’s what has enabled social, mobile, visual, virtual revolutions.”
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