Cloud Trends from IBM

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Kevin Allen of IBM’s Thoughts on Cloud interviews Distinguished Engineers from IBM about the cloud trends they are seeing for the coming years.

But, first what is an IBM Distinguished Engineer (DE)? Mr. Weeks explains, “Distinguished Engineers are key technical experts with in-depth knowledge of a particular subject matter, or multiple areas. DEs, as they’re often called, help shape business decisions and processes not just at IBM, but throughout the technology field.”

Public vs. Private Cloud.  DE Jesse Proudman believes the distinction between public and private cloud will not exist within the next five years.  He sees architectures and platforms moving into a monolithic model.  This model will share the following characteristics:

  • Open APIs, hardware and software
  • Reliance on software for failover
  • Hardware moves further from cloud operations software

He points out, “The result of these forces is that increasingly similar cloud architectures are being deployed on both sides of the firewall. That’s the future we’re building at IBM. It’s a vision that lets customers build an application one time, then run that app and move its associated data to the infrastructure that makes the most sense from a business, performance, and economic standpoint. This puts customers in control, no longer forcing them to make artificial cloud architecture choices that limit future options and increase risk.”

Standards creation. DE Christopher Ferris predicts that cloud will continue to reduce the time to market for new interoperability standards. With cloud and open source not only is the feedback cycle reduced but also standards can be more easily integrated into the product from the start.

Collaboration drives innovation. Cloud continues to pave the path for increased developer collaboration. DE Andrew Hately  predicts, “As a result of the collaboration in code we’re seeing in Open Source communities, the next wave of innovative cloud services will emerge from these collaborative and vibrant developer ecosystems.”

DevOps becomes second nature. DE Dan Berg predicts, “I believe that over time we will not use the phrase DevOps anymore (or OpsDev, for that matter) because the behaviors and practices will be second nature. The principles, tools, and culture of DevOps will just become an inherent aspect of being a successful developer in the cloud.”

Share your thoughts on what cloud trends are developing.

Enterprise Cloud – Where are we now?

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Louis Columbus of Forbes walks us through several recent studies about enterprise cloud use and overall IT spending. Let’s walk through some of the key findings to learn more about the current enterprise cloud landscape.

The first study he sites is from Oxford Economics and SAP who looked at cloud adoption and use. In terms of adoption, 69% of enterprises plan to make cloud investments in the next 3 years. Many are working to migrate core business functions. Enterprises with cloud are currently using it as follows:

  • 44% to launch new business models
  • 32% to streamline supply chains
  • 29% to manage data and analytics

Mr. Columbus also reported that when compared to past studies, “they found many C- and VP-level executives are taking a more pragmatic, realistic view of what cloud technologies can contribute. Enterprises are moving beyond the hype of cloud computing, putting in the hard work of launching new business models while driving top-line revenue growth.”

An interesting infographic from the article and study showed that 61% expect cloud to help drive new products and services within the next 3 years. 51% expect new lines of business and 40% expect to enter new markets.

Enterprise cloud
image source: forbes.com

Enterprises are also seeing the impacts of their cloud adoption. 31% found the cloud to have a “transformative impact” on their business and 48% have seen performance improvements.

In another article, Mr. Columbus sites that “as enterprise cloud computing adoption matures, investments in application development increase.” The study released by Cowen & Company found IT spending on applications the top priority for 2015. It also predicts that within five years 25% to 49% of enterprise workloads will be in the public cloud.

The rise of enterprise cloud adoption in previous years seems to be now, in 2015, bearing its fruits and allowing CIOs and IT to view cloud use in new ways and apply it to solving new problems.

Why Small Businesses Should Move to the Cloud

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According to Mr. Steve Strauss of USA Today the first Top 10 list that David Letterman created aired in  September 1985 on his “Late Night” television show. It was titled “Things That Almost Rhyme with Peas.” As “The Late Show with David Letterman” comes to an end this week, Mr. Strauss takes this opportunity to engage the host’s famous top-10 list format to communicate why small businesses should move to the cloud. Check out some of those reasons…

  • It’s the future. Mr. Strauss explains, “Whether we like it or not, and whether you want to or not, your business will be moving to the cloud. Of course, you already do email in the cloud, but it is just as easy to move your other business applications there as well, whether for document storage, security, office applications, backup, finances and accounting, sales and marketing, or what have you.”
  • It’s safer. Cloud solution providers have invested in some of the best security technology out there that small businesses can tap into to better protect their own data
  • It’s easier than you think. Mr. Strauss points out that time and money are often the two biggest hurdles for small business owners. He recognizes there will be a learning curve with the cloud but not one so big that it outweighs the money and time benefits
  • It will make you more productive. In order to keep day-to-day operations going small businesses can find themselves focused on too many non-revenue generating activities beyond their specialties. There are many cloud solutions that can help take those woes off your plate and allow for more focus on strategic areas
  • It’s scalable. Cloud solutions are ready to grow with you or to dial down as needed without large investments
  • It’s affordable and up-to-date. Still running an old back-end system? Hoping an upgrade is in the budget for next year? With the cloud this is no longer the question because the app is always updated. Plus instead of buying the entire software package you are just “renting,” as Mr. Strauss puts it, what you need – improving affordability.

So what was Mr. Strauss’ number 1 reason to move to the cloud? The cloud can make your life easier. Why? Your data and applications will be accessible as needed by your team from anywhere and at anytime…and from any device.

The time is right to take that next step to get your business on track to benefit from the strengths of the cloud.

A Data Fabric for Cloud

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Jay Kidd writes for Forbes, “Running applications in the cloud is extremely compelling, because you get to run your applications on equipment that you don’t have to pay for or manage. But you still need to be the steward for your data.” How does a company do that when there are many cloud solutions, vendors and even ideas to implement?

 

Mr. Kidd  recommends creating a data fabric – a consistent set of values that connects your data, processes and your organization no matter where it is operating. He writes that to create a data fabric you need to keep in mind four items:

  • A solid foundation of virtualization software
  • Proven data-transport technology between cloud solutions – efficient in storage and bandwidth-use
  • Consistent data services for all applications
  • Ability to deploy in different configurations

Mr. Kidd adds, “The future landscape of IT is a mixture of clouds—public and private. What’s needed is a way to consistently manage, secure, protect, share and move data across this hybrid cloud setup.” A data fabric can provide that consistency to allow you to weave between cloud solutions and stay connected.

In another article Mr. Kidd highlights the benefits of having a data fabric in place:

  • A data fabric can help alleviate your team’s workload because it allows for non-core functions to move more easily to the cloud
  • A data fabric can allow you to take advantage of cost savings from existing cloud application offerings – moving becomes easier when you have a consistent fabric in place
  • A data fabric can improve focus on core applications by providing a more effecient means to transfer non-core apps to the cloud
  • A data fabric  allows you to take advantage of the cloud’s flexibility when it comes to development and testing. Data sets can be “cloned” and even worked on by developers in parallel

Mr. Kidd predicts that many will find themselves in a world of multiple clouds and multiple vendors. Taking the time today to establish a common and consistent view of your data and developing a data fabric will serve you well down the road in terms of efficiencies, cost savings and innovation.

Reasons for a Cloud Disaster Recovery Solution

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Technology teams in small- and medium-sized businesses wear many hats from data center management to virtualization strategy, analytics and networking and sometimes even desktop support.  As today’s business environment continues to move faster and faster business continuity plays a key role in your company’s success.  Many technology teams find that they are having to put on the disaster recovery hat more often.

“70% of small businesses that experience a major data loss go out of business within a year,” reports Kyle Cebull for Smart Data Collective. That is a staggering number.  Data can be at risk from any number of factors: a virus, natural disaster, or a data breach.  Human error can also be a major cause of disasters and outages. Mr. Cebull’s article highlights the need for disaster recovery planning – having the information and systems in place to get your business back up and running so clients and customers remain happy and confident.

So, back to the first point, your technology team is pulled in many directions and may not have the expertise (and budget!) to create a great disaster recovery solution. Enter the cloud. Cloud-based disaster recovery is an affordable and flexible option. InfoWorld highlights the following reasons in support of a cloud-based disaster recovery solution:

  • Ease of getting started. With the right partner, cloud-based disaster recovery can be much easier to set up then an on-premise solution, because you are able to tap into outside systems – no building your own costly infrastructure
  • Flexible costs. Traditional disaster recovery systems typically require business to make tradeoffs to keep within their budgets.  Cloud-based disaster recovery typically allows for a lower price point for common DR uses and also allows for scaling and the ability to more easily adjust as requirements change

Last but not least, cloud-based disaster recovery allows you to tap into industry best practices and expertise. Your technology team can focus on what it knows best – your company and customers – while also feeling confident that if a disaster strikes they have the right systems in place.