2017: The Year of More Cloud Confusion

Silver Lining

2017: The Year of More Cloud Confusion

By Erik Linask, Group Editorial Director  |  December 07, 2016

By now, if you haven’t figured out that the computing phenomenon known as the cloud is a big deal, you’ve been living in a Pokémon-free zone since July. The mobile virtual reality game shattered various download and user records since it launched in early July and, while exact revenue figures for any mobile game are hard to ascertain, most place Pokémon Go somewhere in the $500 million range.

Pretty impressive, and it’s all been enabled by the cloud.

AT&T (News - Alert) just launched its DIRECTV NOW service – an OTT alternative to traditional delivery models and a competitor to Playstation Vue and SlingTV, amid much hype. But, in addition to other complaints, the chief drawback of this new service seems to be the lack of a DVR feature, which should, frankly, be part of any video service launch today.

It would be enabled by the cloud – as it is for several other video providers. 

These examples are merely two recent cloud services, following countless already-existing ones in both consumer and business markets. The point is that, more and more, cloud is becoming the default delivery method, as its flexibility and economics overwhelm traditional alternatives.

I recently spoke with Acumatica CEO Jon Roskill about his decision to build an ERP business from the ground up with the cloud in mind. Back when he started the company in 2008, there were many questions surrounding cloud and its ability to support enterprise applications.

“Today, it’s no longer a question of if – everybody understands the cloud is the ultimate destination for everything,” he says. “Nobody argues that the cloud is the latest IT trend anymore, and they know it’s just a question of when.”

The Netwrix 2016 Cloud Security Report confirms an increased adoption of cloud but, interestingly, also notes an increase in those businesses that have decided against using cloud at all (the increase in cloud use comes from companies planning cloud adoption having moved into deployment phases).

It all points to an evolution in strategy; the question around cloud has evolved from an if to a which deployment model. Roskill, for one, has built his business to accommodate any approach, including hybrid, though he acknowledges the majority of Acumatica customers are running the service on AWS.

The question of deployment model, though, may be a point of contention.

“The year 2017 will be the year hybrid cloud asserts itself as the dominant cloud environment,” predicts Paul Zeiter, president of Zerto. “Cloud spending will continue to be on the incline, and we believe a majority of that spend will go toward hybrid cloud infrastructures, which is proving to be the sweet spot for the enterprise.”

On the other hand, Mark Plettenberg, product manager at Login VSI, says, “More and more organizations are noticing that you either go completely to the cloud or you stay on-premises, since it’s just not an ideal situation to use a hybrid approach. Amazon and Azure make it seem easy to migrate, but businesses are realizing that even though they have a cloud environment, they have to manage it and update it continuously.”

To be clear, both are right — and wrong — which is why the deployment model debate isn’t going away anytime soon. But what all three collectively point to is a need for due diligence. As is always the case with technology, there is no one-size-fits-all solution, and any business, small or large, has to be aware of the various alternatives and make the decision that makes sense for its circumstances. That means consideration of existing implementations and infrastructure, the specific applications or services that are being considered, costs, resources and impact on IT as well as users, and much more. Frankly, the list goes on, which is why IT decisions aren’t as simple as some claim.

Interestingly, the Netwrix survey points to stability in private cloud use, but a substantial increase in hybrid deployment and a similar decrease in public cloud use – a reversal of the prior year’s trend.

Inevitably, cloud will become a part of all but the most stubborn business technology investments. The level of success, as always, will depend largely on implementation decisions. So, when it comes to cloud choose wisely.

Edited by Alicia Young
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