The cloud has played an essential role in enterprise technology for a decade, but concerns over security, privacy, and compliance led many organizations to retain on-premises software despite its limited anywhere, anytime accessibility.
The COVID-19 pandemic changed everything. Companies turned to reliable cloud providers to make work from home a reality for their employees and scale operations quickly, accelerating the adoption of cloud engineering. At the same time, the cloud enabled more companies to forgo maintaining their own data centers.
Against this backdrop, trust in cloud security among businesses has gradually improved, increasing adoption. The cloud has evolved from a technology choice or a pursuit to drive down costs, to a transformation enabler and the de facto standard for the future of enterprise operations. The cloud models available today allow organizations to leverage the strengths of each and solve major business challenges. However, given there are several options for cloud implementation, businesses should carefully consider the capabilities that modern cloud computing provides and the various cloud options available.
The evolution of the cloud
At the start of the last decade, cloud computing was new and not easily understood, so companies hesitated to adopt it. In addition, many cloud providers were unprepared and ill-suited to deliver solutions to organizations designed for on-premise software, rendering migration to the cloud useless.
Today, however, cloud providers have evolved their services to meet the two key drivers: business needs (business function, added value, and increased agility) and IT needs (operational efficiency, security, and spend management).
Modern cloud computing providers now enable organizations to:
- Simplify business solutions with proven techniques and repeatable patterns.
- Democratize access to technology: Making technology available to more people, also known as “citizen access,” for app development, data and analysis, design, and knowledgebase.
- Improve enterprise agility and speed: The cloud integrates business units by enabling more sophisticated data sharing and enhanced collaboration through shared tools, allowing teams to speed up decision-making and problem-solving.
- Enable a rich ecosystem of digital services on-demand.
- Increase value: Organizations can align technology with business needs through cloud engineering, which attracts new workers and provides access to new skill sets, such as DevOps, agile, and UX. The cloud also enables process improvements, such as automation and human augmentation, that increase productivity.
- Boost operational efficiency: In a mostly remote work environment, organizations can pivot from an enterprise data center to replicate data and app services across locations. The cloud allows organizations to scale on demand and enhances their overall resilience by enabling quick response to outages and disruptions.
- Optimize cost and spend: Cloud adoption provides flexibility with “pay what you use” options, allowing enterprises to spend more effectively while increasing revenue and retaining personnel.
Not all clouds are created equal
Choosing the right cloud adoption model that can accommodate an organization’s unique needs has become paramount. To take full advantage of all the cloud has to offer, it’s important to know the differences between the adoption models first.
Five models and their capabilities:
- A hybrid cloud approach—adopted by nearly three in four enterprise businesses that have moved to the cloud — utilizes on-premise infrastructure, or a private cloud, and a public cloud, such as Amazon Web Services (AWS) or Microsoft Azure.
- A multi-cloud approach—distributes the same types of workloads on more than one public cloud provider, with or without an existing private cloud. This avoids vendor-lock in, allows greater flexibility and splits the risk of an outage between providers.
- A poly-cloud approach—evolved from multi-cloud, allows organizations to distribute different types of workloads to different cloud providers, taking advantage of their strengths. For example, an organization might use AWS for standard services and Google cloud for machine learning and data-oriented applications. By leveraging the most advanced offerings, enterprises can extract the greatest business value.
- Industry cloud—represents a broad range of industry-specific collections of cloud services, tools and applications optimized for a specific industry use case. For example, Microsoft and SAP partnering to deliver SAP supply chain solutions through Microsoft Cloud for manufacturing.
- Distributed cloud—brings cloud capabilities to different physical locations—cloud providers maintain and operate capabilities, but physically execute at the point of interest (near to the origin). Developed from the convergence of 5G and Edge, common styles include Edge cloud and Metro-area community cloud.
The cloud is no longer a future state for many organizations. To maintain competitive advantage, organizations should carefully consider the opportunities present in each model, such as lowering costs or streamlining business operations, before adopting a solution.
Learn how PK can guide you in your cloud adoption journey at pkglobal.com.