Everything will be in the cloud by 2020. The lines between the different cloud models and technologies will blur to the point where there is just ‘the cloud.’ Cloud computing will continue to evolve for the foreseeable future. Management and implementation will become consistent through common technologies and integrated orchestration solutions.
Ever since we defined the core virtualization and traffic steering technologies to be the foundation of cloud computing in the early-mid 2000’s, we have continued to add to and evolve the concept of the cloud. Today, we talk about private cloud, public cloud, and hybrid cloud. There is cloud bursting to scale application demand and the U.S. federally mandated Cloud First initiative. Everyone wants to be a part of the cloud, even though the concept is hard to define and diagram.
Everything in the cloud
Cloud encompasses many options, ranging from software as a service (SaaS (News - Alert)), platform as a service (PaaS), and honestly, anything as a service (XaaS). Private clouds are owned and managed by the business and public clouds have varying degrees of third-party management. Hybrid clouds are the merger of public and private clouds.
The common factor with all these clouds is that there is virtualization and orchestration to enable agility and elasticity. People want the ability to enable new services quickly and easily (agility) and they want to ensure resource scalability as demand fluctuates (elasticity). Ultimately, it does not matter to the business or application how services are being delivered, as long as they are reliable, available, and secure.
Lately, we have seen a trend to deliver services that augment or enhance the standard cloud application delivery services. Security services like DDoS mitigation in the cloud have been available for some time. Recently, companies have added Web application firewall (WAF) technologies to the list of cloud services. It is lonely a matter of time before other security solutions are positioned in the cloud.
Application enhancements to improve the performance of the application through the cloud are evolving as well. We started with content delivery networks (CDN) and now, application acceleration technologies including Web performance optimization (WPO) are available as public cloud services.
Multiple positions, Single viewpoint
Businesses and vendors alike are discovering that it makes sense to have a unified view and management of the IT infrastructure. As management and orchestration systems mature and incorporate the multivendor cloud environment, the type of cloud that is involved becomes less critical.
The Federal government has initiated the Cloud First program, whereby, “The Cloud First policy mandates that agencies take full advantage of cloud computing benefits to maximize capacity utilization, improve IT flexibility and responsiveness, and minimize cost.” The policy does not dictate or mandate whether the department must use a public or private cloud infrastructure.
Ultimately, organizations will always be putting their applications in the cloud. The type of cloud depends on many factors. For small businesses that do not have the capital or IT expertise to design, build, and manage their own private cloud based on the software defined data center (SDDC), leveraging the public cloud infrastructure is a likely course of action. Other businesses want to retain control of some applications for management, privacy, and/or security reasons andwill position these applications and data within their owned and managed infrastructure based on a private cloud architecture.
Data centers are evaporating to the cloud
The non-cloud IT architecture will disappear because the need to build and manage small private static networks will be replaced by the convenience and benefit of using public cloud solutions. Cloud solutions are easier to financially manage by shifting the cost from a large upfront capital expenditure to a consistent subscription fee. As the deployment and management of applications in the cloud becomes easier, the incentive for organizations to invest in their own IT infrastructure diminishes.
Large networks are all migrating to virtualization- and cloud-based designs. Software defined networks (SDN), network functions virtualization (NFV) and other emerging technologies are all designed to bring the cloud benefits of agility and elasticity to the private datacenter model. All of this is driving towards the SDDC model that most vendors and large businesses are supporting.
Cloud or bust
Several factors are critical to the success of the shift to cloud solutions. Alone, none of these factors will cause the shift to cloud computing to succeed or fail.
- All of the services associated with an application and data delivery need to be available in the cloud alongside the application. These include firewall and security solutions, middleware and backend support systems, and application delivery services like server load balancing (SLB) and global server load balancing (GSLB).
- The look and feel for the management of the application must be consistent across all cloud models. The deployment, visibility, and control of the application must be performed the same way no matter whether the application is in the private cloud, public cloud, or offered as a SaaS managed solution. It is not realistic for the organization to have to manage a separate operational system for each type of cloud deployment.
- Per-application and per-user group access and security policies must be centrally managed and deployed throughout all cloud environments. It is likely that organizations will leverage multiple cloud solutions for many of their applications by leveraging the hybrid cloud model. Policies need to be applied as applications are brought online and scaled. The operational management and functionality of the policy control system needs to be the same no matter what cloud architecture needs to be configured.
Global warming for the Internet
The IT landscape is changing. It is hard to refute the evidence that cloud technologies are changing every aspect of the IT industry. The flexibility of virtualized solutions has enabled technology movements like hyper-convergence and DevOps. IT organizations see and embrace the value of cloud solutions today. Unified management and orchestration systems are maturing. Essential network services are being incorporated into the different cloud architectures. The question is not whether everything is moving into a cloud architecture, but the question is when and 2020 is a very realistic goal for cloud computing to become the de facto standard for application deployment.
Frank Yue (News - Alert) is the Director Application Delivery Solutions for Radware. In this role, Yue is responsible for evangelizing technologies and trends around Radware's ADC (News - Alert) solutions and products. He writes blogs, produces solution architectures, and speaks at conferences and events around the world about application networking technologies. Prior to joining Radware, Yue was at F5 Networks (News - Alert), delivering their global messaging for service providers. Yue has also covered deep packet inspection, high performance networking, and security technologies. Yue is a scuba diving instructor and background actor when he is not discussing technology.
Edited by Stefania Viscusi